Rules of Sepak Takraw
If soccer and volleyball had a child, its name would be sepak takraw. This unique sport was born out of Southeast Asia, with some of the world’s best players coming from Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Going all the way back to the 1500s, the name sepak takraw literally translates into “kick ball”, and the sport survived colonization along with traditional Southeast Asian martial arts.
How to play Sepak Takraw
Many of the rules in sepak takraw act as if the sport was literally a combination of soccer and volleyball. Using everything but their arms and hands, players will have a back and forth battle over a volleyball-like net until someone scores.
The team with the most points at the end of the match will be declared the winner. However in Burma, sepak takraw is seen as more of an art than a sport, and teams are encouraged to remove their competitive mindset when playing.
Rules of Sepak Takraw
- Each team will consist of three players in three different positions: The ‘Teukgong’ is the furthest position in the back court returning long hits, and left and right centers are closer to the net for rebounds and quick hits.
- Sepak takraw courts are about 44 feet long by 20 feet wide. The court is divided by netting that stands at about 5 feet high for men and 4 feet 7 inches for women.
- A game begins by coin toss. Following the coin toss, the ball will be served by a player standing in the serving circle and throwing it across the court. Serving is the only time a ball can be held and thrown.
- A point can be scored by successfully hitting the ball on the ground of the opposing team.
- There are several faults in sepak takraw. Servers cannot jump when serving, this results in a loss of possession. A ball failing to go over the net results in a point for the opposing team. A ball landing out of bounds is a point for the opposing team. Touching the opposing side, or the net when returning a ball is a point for the opposing team.
- A team is
- The first team to win two sets is deemed the winner. Sets can be won by achieving 21 points in a match. However, at a 21 - 21 tie, a team must win by a clear two points. In the event of a 24 -24 tie, the first team to 25 points wins.
Legend has it that sepak takraw was first played by a pack of monkeys, given the crazy nature of the sport and the skill it takes to bicycle kick a ball over a net, get back up, and do it again. Sepak takraw is also regarded as a “sport of ninjas” because of the inhuman reflexes it requires to return a ball like that at speeds of up to 60 mph.
Written by: Devin Pickell