Sepak Takraw (Kick Volleyball) Rules and Guide

Sepak Takraw players on court
Sepak Takraw is a team sport that originated in South Asia and is played on a court similar to a badminton court. The game is similar to volleyball and is sometimes referred to as “kick volleyball”, but instead of using your hands, you use your feet (well mostly anyway).

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Sepak Takraw is a team sport that originated in South Asia and is played on a court similar to a badminton court. The game is similar to volleyball and is sometimes referred to as “kick volleyball”, but instead of using your hands, you use your feet (well mostly anyway).

What is Sepak TakrawIt is a sport similar to volleyball, but played without using hands.
Objective of the game?The first team to win 3 sets of 21 points wins
Team or Individual game?Team

What is Sepak Takraw?

Originating in South Asia, Sepak Takraw is a ball game played by two teams of three players.  The game is very similar to how volleyball is played, with one main difference – players can use any part of their bodies except their hands and arms to get the ball over the net.  The game is played on a court similar in size to a badminton court.  The ball is usually made of a lightweight material such as rubber.

Object of Sepak Takraw

The object of Sepak Takraw is to score points in much the same way you would in volleyball.  That is mainly by landing the ball in your opponents’ half of the court or your opponents not successfully returning the ball to your team.  The first team to win 21 points wins a set; the first team to win 3 sets wins the match.

Rules of Sepak Takraw

As previously mentioned, Sepak Takraw is commonly referred to as kick volleyball – and the rules of the game do follow quite closely those of regular volleyball.

The court is divided into two halves with a net 1.52 metres high, compared to volleyball’s 2.43 metres for the men’s game. Each team has 3 players and each player has a starting position on the court which they must remain inside until the ball has been served.

Each team may touch the ball up to three times (excluding the serve), and unlike volleyball, one player may touch the ball several times in a row without another teammate touching the ball.

Teams alternate the serve. Each team serves three times in a row.  A team always scores a point as the result of a fault by the opposing side – this can be in one of several ways including the following:

  • The ball is not returned to to the opponents’ side
  • The ball is called “out” – in that it crosses the net and does not land in the court
  • The Server’s feet leaves the ground during a serve
  • The Server fails to kick the ball on a service
  • A player touches the net
  • Taking more than 3 touches
  • Touching the ball in the opponents’ half of the court
  • Use of the arm or hand

Each time your opponent faults, you score a point.  The first team to score 21 points (by at least 2 clear points) wins the set.  If a set ends at 21-21, then the set will be extended to 25 points.  The set will be won by the first team to open up a two point lead, or to be the first team to reach 25 points.

If you win two sets, you win the game.  If each team wins one set each, the third set will only be up to 11 points.  The first team to 11 will win the third set and win the match.

Players and Equipment

The game of Sepak Takraw is played by two teams of three players.  Each player has a specific role within the game depending on whether their team is serving or not.  The Tekong serves the ball, which is thrown to him by the “Bowler”.  The other player on the serving side is referred to as the Striker.  The bowler and the setter will take up positions at the front of the court.  None of the players on the serving side may leave their circle (Tekong) or quadrant (bowler and striker) until the Tekong has served the ball.

The receiving side also has a Tekong, who is at the back of the court.  The other 2 players are referred to as the “Setter” and the “Striker”, who take up positions at the front of the court (nearest the net).  The receiving side does not have to remain in its circles and quadrants during the service.

Aside from the actual court and net, the main equipment required for Sepak Takraw is the ball.  Nowadays the balls are generally made of soft rubber – and it must be woven in one single layer.

It is possible to use other types of materials for the ball, such as rattan, but these are increasingly uncommon, due to the sheer amount of injuries they cause!

How to win at Sepak Takraw

In order to win a game of “kick volleyball”, you need to win two sets before your opponent does.

Score 21 points by two clear points and you win the set.  Win the first two sets and you win the match.

If you and your opponent both win a set, then a third set is played and first to score 11 points wins.

If one team reaches 21 in a set, but not by two clear points, the set continues until one team has a two point lead over the other or reaches 25 points.

Where can you play Sepak Takraw in the UK?

Sepak Takraw is still relatively unknown in the UK.  There is a UK association, but their website has not been updated for a while it seems: http://sepak-takraw.co.uk/

The Federation of European Sepaktakraw Associations has a website where you can find 2 clubs in the UK here: https://sepaktakraw-europe.com/estl

The BBC reported on the Manchester Sepak Takraw club in 2017 and they can be contacted via their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063469005377

Watch the video from the BBC here:

Feature image courtesy of  Korea.net / Korean Culture and Information Service (Jeon Han) CC BY_SA 2.0

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