Hoover Ball is a game of catch played with a medicine ball on a volleyball-type court with tennis scoring. The weight of the medicine ball can make the sport quite physically demanding. We found Hoover Ball when we were on the Internet looking for something fun to do with our members at our one year anniversary back in 2017. At first we read about it and we discovered it’s distinguished history. It looked promising as a conditioning tool, and sounded fun so we played the game. Now we’re hooked. We play it regularly and even organise an annual Hooverball competition at our box.
Hoover Ball is a fun medicine ball game to keep players at CrossFit Heerlen fit. This video from our first Hooverball event already got 2K views (December 2018) and gives you a good impression of what Hoover Ball looks like (fun!).
Rules are usually determined “in house”. However, the Hoover Ball court prerequisites and traditional rules here at CrossFit Heerlen are as follows:
• The medicine ball must weigh 4kg (approx. 9 lbs).
• The “net” is at barbell height (we use a band in between two barbells).
• The court is 5×10 meters divided by the net into two fields.
• Points are scored when a team either fails to catch the return, fails to return the ball across the net, or returns the ball out of bounds.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Women serve from mid-court.
• Good sportsmanship is required. Points in dispute are played over.
The Hoover Ball game is played with ideally 3-4 persons per team. Extra players can rotate with field players.
Hoover Ball is a combination of tennis, volleyball and medicine ball. White House physician Admiral Joel T. Boone invented the game to keep President Hoover physically fit.
“It required less skill than tennis, was faster and more vigorous, and therefore gave more exercise in a short time,” Hoover wrote in his Memoirs.
“It is more strenuous than either boxing, wrestling or football,” wrote Will Irwin, a friend of Hoover’s, in a 1931 article “The President Watches His Waistline” in Physical Culture magazine. “It has the virtue of getting at nearly every muscle in the body.”
The sport was without a name until New York Times Magazine reporter William Atherton DuPuy christened the game “Hoover-ball” for his 1931 article “At the White House at 7 a.m.”