Wallyball Information


Insider Info

dotThe best way to describe wallyball is to say it's volleyball played on a racquetball court. The game is similar to volleyball in a lot of ways, but enclosing the playing surface adds a new dimension. The side walls and ceiling come into play.

Players can bank their shots off the side walls, adding new angles, twists and spins to their game.

Games are played until one team reaches the predetermined score, usually 15, 18 or 21 points. The winning team must win by at least two points. Only the serving team can register a point. If the serving team loses a rally, the serve then shifts to the opposing team, giving that team an opportunity to score points.

dotThe rules are quite similar to volleyball. But because the walls and ceiling can come into play, there are a few differences. The basic rules state that out-of-bounds is when a ball -- while crossing the net -- hits the ceiling and back wall of the opponent's side or two walls consecutively on the serve, volley or block.

The ceiling and back wall on your own side are in bounds if your own player touches it. Players are not allowed to climb the walls or be assisted by a teammate to gain height at the net.

dotBecause the size of the wallyball court is smaller than a regulation volleyball court, the number of players on each team is also smaller than the usual six-player volleyball teams. There are leagues and tournaments for two-, three- and four-player teams. There can be men's, women's and co-ed teams.

dotThe sport of wallyball dates back just over 20 years. It was created in the summer of 1979 in California, to respond to the declining popularity of racquetball. With fewer people playing racquetball, wallyball gave racquetball club owners an alternate use for their empty courts.

The man credited with creating the game is Joe Garcia. He is commonly referred to as Mr. Wallyball around wallyball circles. After several years of promoting the sport around the U.S., Garcia sold the rights to the sport to former Olympic men's volleyball player Mike O'Hara in the 1980s.

O'Hara formed Wallyball International Inc. (WII), in an effort to sanction leagues and tournaments in the U.S. Eventually, several members of the WII broke away and formed the American Wallyball Association (AWA). It was meant to act as a clearinghouse for information and equipment. Both the AWA and WII still exist today.

dotThe future of wallyball looks very bright in the U.S., according to Rudy Morel of the AWA. Morel estimates there are currently a million people playing in organized wallyball leagues in the U.S.

Morel says that number has increased dramatically since the sport was introduced at the college and university level. Morel sees the popularity increasing even more in the years ahead, once the game moves to grade schools and community centers.

Wally Choo is involved with a wallyball association. He says the number of players in his area is growing steadily.

dotIn the U.S., the sport is played in virtually every state, but is most popular in California, parts of the Midwest and in the East.

Morel adds that there are some teenage players involved in the sport. But most players he knows are between 20 and 50. Choo adds that most players he is familiar with are over the age of 25.

Getting Started

dotAside from a pair of athletic shoes, Choo says there is very little equipment a beginning player will need to purchase. "Just knee pads to save their knees," he says. "Nets and balls are normally supplied by the club or facility they are playing at."

dotThere are no specific physical requirements needed to play the game. That's one reason it is so popular as a social pastime.

"There are no physical requirements, but speed and agility sure help," Choo says. "It is mostly a social sport, but it certainly does get competitive. Players range from recreational to intermediate to advanced."

dotChoo notes there are two ways to learn the rules for wallyball. He recommends formal lessons, but he adds that most players learn from other players.

"Yes, I'd recommend an instructional course, but in most cases beginning players just come out and try it first hand with a friend that plays," says Choo.

dotThere are very few paid positions available for someone looking for work strictly in the sport of wallyball. Choo notes that volunteers organize most leagues and tournaments. Employment in a racquetball club that also caters to wallyball players is one possibility.

Associations

American Wallyball Association
1041 North Main St., Ste. 227
Manteca , CA   95336
USA
Internethttp://www.wallyball.com/

Minnesota Wallyball Association
Internethttp://www.homestead.com/wallyball/main.html

Publications

The Official Book of Wallyball,
Although this book is currently out of print you may be able to locate a copy at a used bookstore.
by  Joe Garcia and Murray Dubin

Links

American Wallyball Hot Links
Check out this list of resources

Le Mesa Racquetball and Wallyball
Claims to be the home of the world's largest wallyball league

Wallyball Rules
Get to know the rules of the game