Frequently Asked Questions

What is Volleyclub?

Volleyclub is a sport played by two teams of two players each on a court divided by a net using juggling clubs. Volleyclub is a unique sport that aims to combine concepts of net games like positional play with toss juggling concepts such as catching and throwing.
If you are a juggler, you will feel right at home catching, throwing and sometimes hitting the game club whilst manipulating your two self clubs. Should you have ever played other net sports like tennis or beach volleyball, you already know a lot about finding the perfect position to score and about covering the court in order to deny your opponent the opportunity to score.

Is Volleyclub a form of passing?

No. Volleyclub is a net sport where you are allowed to pass the game club twice with your team partner before you have to return it over the net. When passing, you want to throw every club precisely where you or the other passers are. The patterns used are well known to everyone. You “score” by keeping the pattern running. In Volleyclub, you can think of passes between team partners in the same way but every attack throw is meant to be impossible to catch. You score by ending the pattern and throwing where the opponents are not.

Is Volleyclub asymmetrical?

Yes, like most other net sports, in Volleyclub one side is expected to win the point and the other side is expected to lose. In tennis, for example, the serving side is expected to win because the service has a very high influence on the point. In Volleyclub, the receiving side is expected to win the point because the first attack is much more influential than the service. When the receiving side scores it is called “sideout”, scoring on the serving side is called “breaking” as scoring on the weaker side breaks with expectations.

Do I always have to throw clubs? Am I allowed to hit clubs?

You are allowed to hit the game club with any part of your body or with your self clubs as long as you are holding them. You may also block attacks this way. You are not allowed to throw your own clubs at other clubs, hitting them in the air. Hitting the game club counts as a pass or attack. Unlike with self clubs, you are not allowed to catch the game club after having just hit it.

When attacking, am I allowed to hit or throw the game club downwards?

No. You are only allowed to do that when passing to your partner. Anytime the game club crosses the net, it has to move in an upwards direction at some point during its flight. This is because Volleyclub is played with juggling clubs instead of a ball. The risk of injury would increase dramatically if we where to smash clubs downwards at each other. Additionally, being allowed to catch and hold clubs for as long as our two self throws are in the air would make it impossible to defend a throw that is aimed directly at the ground. You could never tell when the attack was coming!
Instead, attacking in Volleyclub is all about tricking your opponent into thinking you want to attack one spot, forcing them to move, then attacking the area you just opened up. We call this “faking” or using “feints”. In this way, Volleyclub does not require you to be especially tall or strong but rather fast and crafty.

I find it difficult to defend attack throws. How can I improve?

Most players trying Volleyclub for the first time know how to juggle already. As jugglers, attacking is much easier to do since it is closer to what we already know – throwing and catching clubs in a stationary manner.
Defending, on the other hand, is a completely new skill for many jugglers. It is not stationary juggling but all about covering space. To improve, you can learn how to move and position yourself on the court, how to jump and dive, and how to read where the attacker will most likely throw their attack. You can find examples on our YouTube channel and in workshops at many conventions all over the world.

What happens if I drop my clubs?

In Volleyclub, wherever the game club drops defines which side gets the point. If you drop the game club or drop your own clubs whilst holding the game club on your side, your opponents score. If you have already thrown the game club or were never in contact with it during this point but still drop your self clubs, the point continues without you. You are then not allowed to interact with the game club any more and your partner has to play on alone until the next point starts. This way, precise throws and awareness of all the clubs in the air are rewarded but the focus remains primarily on the game club. You are even allowed to stay on the court after having dropped as it is on your opponents to recognise your error and play on accordingly.

If you are a new player or if you are playing with less experienced players, we recommend to skip this rule for a while until everyone has had a chance to learn when and how to throw their own clubs.

Can I score a point even if I drop my clubs after attacking?

Yes. Since the position of the game club decides which side scores (see above), any throw you have made with the game club before dropping your own clubs, including attack throws, still counts. This makes it easier to follow the game. It also makes it easier for beginners to play Volleyclub. Additionally, Volleyclub avoids becoming even more asymmetrical (see above) this way since you are more likely to drop after a successful defence rather than after receiving a serve. If players had to catch all their clubs in order to score, breaking would be much harder and defence less rewarding. Also remember that Volleyclub is not primarily about keeping the pattern running. It is about finding the space your opponent cannot defend, even if you have to take great risks to do so.

Why am I not allowed to touch the net?

The net is designed as a barrier between the two sides of the court. It is not part of either team’s field. As it is a safety concern, we want to avoid players running into each other, hitting each other, getting stuck in the net or destroying the net entirely. Hitting the net during an attack would make the trajectory of the game club much less readable than a ball. Therefore, touching the net with your body or your clubs is considered the same as dropping.

Compared to other net sports, why are rallies so short in Volleyclub?

There are three different categories of net sports:

  1. Net sports with interactive set-up
  2. Net sports with influenced set-up
  3. Net sports with isolated set-up

Interactive set-up is what you see in tennis, badminton, or table tennis, for example. In these sports, rallies are an exciting part of the game because they are the result of both sides trying to set-up their opportunity to score, called the “winner”. Here, a rally is a struggle to get into a better position than your opponent, to finally overcome them. However, this comes at the cost of very few winners and many forced and unforced errors. There is no interactive set-up in Volleyclub as both teams set up their attacks amongst each other without interaction.

An influenced set-up you will find in volleyball and beach volleyball. The set-up is not interactive as it happens within the same team but opponents can still influence the set-up with a strong spike, for instance, or hard to reach shots that can force a bad contact and, thus, may influence the quality of the next two contacts. Most attacks are winners but sometimes rallies go long as both teams struggle to set-up under pressure.

In Volleyclub, you will find the set-up to be isolated. Just like in volleyball every set-up consists of up to two passes between team partners but there is no way for the opponents to influence this set-up. Defenders either catch the game club or they don’t. If they catch, they relief the pressure of the attack entirely as they can take all the time their two self throws give them to reposition and set up. The quality of the next contacts is not negatively impacted. Thus, almost all attacks are winners. This means that in Volleyclub you get to see very few long rallies but every defence is exciting as it is very difficult to defend a winner.

Is there a way to have longer rallies in Volleyclub? What about smaller courts?

Yes. There are two ways to do this but they both come at great costs, too.

The first way would be to limit the set-up by allowing only one self throw or disallowing the player in control of the game club to move. This would nudge Volleyclub closer to having an influenced set-up (see above) and, thus, longer rallies. However, we would not have many more long rallies. The first set-up after receiving would be almost the same and would still result in a winner most of the time. Getting into position to attack after a successful defence, on the other hand, would be much more difficult. Therefore, this change would increase asymmetry and give an even greater advantage to the sideout than is already the case. Instead of a short rally where both sides have good chances to score, we would get longer rallies where the receiving side would score almost every time.

The second way would be to increase the height of the net or decrease the size of the court or to play with more than two players per team. This would not change the set-up but limit the offensive options and make defence easier. Unfortunately, this would disproportionately favour taller players since they would have an easier time attacking the same way as before and, in defence, would have to barely move at all. Taller players could simply pluck long throws out of the air instead of having to run or dive and would not need to react to fake throws anymore. Yet, smaller players would still have to move and give up space when trying to defend as they could still not cover the entire court. Additionally, as all the mind games of faking attacks would become less important, we would see spinning attacks like helicopters become more popular. For beginners and intermediate players these throws are typically scary and hard to catch but for experienced players they are almost trivial. Limiting the area of play in this way would make Volleyclub less inclusive and less beginner friendly while also taking away skill expression and tactical depth at higher levels of play.
Instead of competing for positional advantages, players would be forced into a static game without jumping and diving. Rallies would be longer but less exciting, mostly ending in unforced drops as there would be no way any more to create a winner. Instead, players would pass spinning clubs until someone drops either the game club or their own clubs, finally opening up space to score.

These ideas can be very fun to experiment with and are being used for practice purposes all the time but, ultimately, enforce too many limitations to be considered true alternatives to the rules used for competition.

Do you have to play by the Official Volleyclub Rules?

No, these rules are primarily designed for tournament play. Even tournament players often play with different rules when they are not competing. Other ways to enjoy Volleyclub include:

  • King/Queen of the Court: Players on the “Royal Side” always receive and only they can score, once the other side scores, they advance to the “Royal Side”
  • 3v3: Three players on each side
  • Rotating 3v3: Two players on each side but after every contact with the game club the player switches clubs and place with a third player waiting outside
  • Free For All: Players switch team partners after every set and keep individual score of the sets they won
  • Winner Splits: The winning players split after every set and are joined by a new player

Who decides the Official Volleyclub Rules?

Anyone is allowed to suggest changes to the rules by sending an Email via the contact form. Simply choose the topic “Volleyclub Rules”. If you want to have a vote on rule changes, you can let us know that you want to join our group of international volunteers who discuss and vote and make the final decisions.

Can anyone compete in Open Tournaments?

Yes, Open Tournaments are just that – they are open to enter for everybody. Open Tournaments are usually held at juggling conventions where you can sign up anytime before the tournament starts. With your signature you also get to decide whether or not you want to participate on the Open Tournament Tour, earning ranking points and competing to be invited to the Volleyclub Cup where the champions of the season are decided. You can find more information about our tournaments here.

You can expect to play at least two best-of-3-matches in every tournament you enter. If you have never entered a tournament before, you will not have to compete with the best players immediately. Only once you advance from your group, will you eventually meet better and better competition.