Sport Spotlight: Sepak Takraw

Sepak takraw is sometimes referred to as kick volleyball, which should give you some idea how the sport is played. The name comes from the Malay word for kick (sepak) and the Thai word for the ball originally used in the sport (takraw). It is played on a 44 ft x 20ft court with a net similar to the one used in volleyball in the middle. Like volleyball, it can be played indoors or on a sand court.

A game is played between two teams (called regus) of five (three on court and two substitutes). On court each team has a feeder, server, and striker. The goal is to hit the ball to your opponents’ side of the court so that they are unable to return it. Players may play the ball off of their legs, heads and torsos, but may not use their arms or hands. Matches are best-of-five sets; sets are played to 15 points (17 points if there’s a deuce).

After the serve, the receiving team has three “touches” before they must return the ball over the net. Often the feeder and server will receive the ball and attempt to set it up for the striker to send it over the net. A team receives a point if their opponents are unable to return the ball, use more than three touches or hit the ball out of bounds.

There are currently active international teams from more than 30 countries across five continents (Asia, North America, South America, Europe and Africa). The international governing body is ISTAF, the International Sepak Takraw Federation.

You can find more information (and some cool videos) here and learn more about speak takraw in the United States here.

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