Rules of Captain's Ball

ball is lying on sand near sea

Easy to learn and suitable for mixed company, the game of captain's ball offers a low impact alternative to other ball sports. The game uses a volleyball or other soft, inflated ball to pass among its members with the intent of scoring a goal. Players aren't allowed to run when they have the ball, and must maintain a distance of 2 to 3 feet from other players. Teams can have both male and female players, and the game has rules prohibiting roughhousing or foul language.

Setting Up the Court

You can play the game on a basketball court or volleyball court, without the net in place, or outside on grass or a hard surface. On each side of the center line, you'll draw three large circles. The circles should be about 8 feet in diameter and set about 3 feet away from each other and from the center line. Two circles will be set about two feet back from the center line near the sides of the court. Center the third circle against the back line of the court. Put a sturdy chair or short pedestal in the third circle towards the back for your goal catcher to stand on. If playing with children, use a smaller court and hula-hoops for the circles.

Playing the Game

You can play the game with five, six or up to 10 players on each team. Choose one person as the goal catcher and have him stand on the chair or pedestal (or on the floor in the circle if you wish). You will have two shooters who will stand in the circles closest to the center line. The remaining players can move freely through the field outside of the circles on the other end of the court to prevent the other team from scoring. Each team passes the ball from one player to another to get it to one of the shooters, who then attempts to pass it to the goal catcher to score a point. Free roaming fielders from the opposite team attempt to block the passes and intercept the ball. They then pass it between members to their own shooters to try to score.

Special Rules

A goal catcher must hold the ball for a full three seconds to receive a score for his team. No one can knock it out of his hands during this time. A player from the opposite team then brings the ball back into play from behind the back line of the court, passing it to his team members to reach his own goal at the opposite end of the court. Players must keep one foot stationary on the ground when they have control of the ball and can't run or walk with it. They may not bounce or roll the ball to make progress; only passing is permissible. Shooters must keep at least one foot in their circle when passing the ball to the goal catcher.

Fouling Out

A player in control of the ball may only hold it for 3 seconds before passing it to another player, or a holding foul is called. Fouls are also called when a player comes closer than 2 feet from the player holding the ball or makes any contact with another player. When a referee calls a penalty, the opposing team gets control of the ball at the point of the foul and gets one unobstructed pass. They must take at least one pass before attempting to score after a foul.