Student Activities


Grade Level:
High School: Ninth Grade through Twelfth Grade

"Two teams of three players heave a six-pound leather ball back and forth across an eight-foot high net. This cannot be accomplished graciously."

Sports Illustrated

Hoover-Ball is a strenuous team sport and a great addition to a physical education curriculum or as an extra-curricular club activity. Hooverball was once the most popular sport at the White House, played by the President, Supreme Court justices, cabinet members and other high government officials. Teams of up to five people play on a court 66 feet by 30 feet with an 8 foot volleyball net. A four- or six-pound medicine ball is used. Scoring is exactly like tennis.


  • The court is 66 feet by 30 feet.
  • A 4-to-6-pound medicine ball and 8-foot volleyball net are used. A 4 pound ball will be used for both men and women during the championships.
  • Teams consist of 2-4 players. (For the national championships, 3-player teams will be used. Each team may have one or two substitutes)
  • Scoring is exactly like tennis: love-15-30-40-(deuce, ad-in, ad-out)-game. Teams play best-of-five or best-of-seven games.
  • Points are scored when a team: fails to catch the return, fails to return the ball across the net, returns the ball out of bounds, fails to return the ball to the proper court area.
  • The ball is served from the back line.
  • The serve is rotated among one team until the game is won. Teams alternate serving after each game. Teams change courts after every two games.
  • The ball must be caught on the fly and immediately returned from the point it was caught. There is no running with the ball or passing to teammates.
  • Each team's court is divided in half. A ball caught in the front half of your court must be returned to the back half of your opponent's court. This prevents spiking. If the ball doesn't reach the back court, the opponent is awarded the point. Balls caught must be played. The mid-court line is part of the front court.
  • A ball that hits the out-of-bounds line is a good return.
  • A player who catches the ball out-of-bounds, or is carried out-of-bounds by the force of the ball, may return in-bounds before the return.
  • A ball that hits the net on its way over is a live ball. (If it was thrown from the front court, it must reach the opponents back court to be good)
  • Teams may substitute freely at dead ball situations.
  • Good sportsmanship is required. Points in question should be played over.

Suggestions For Women's Play

  • Women serve from the mid-court line.
  • Women may pass once before a return.
  • Women may return the ball to any area of the opponents court.

Source: Hoover Presidential Foundation

Last updated: April 22, 2021