Other Sports

All you need to know about Sepak Takraw or kick volleyball

Sepak takraw action during the South East Asian Games in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 2013.   | Photo Credit: AP

Sepak takraw, or kick volleyball is one of the events at the 2018 Asian Games. The Indian men's team assured itself of a medal at the Asian Games by progressing to the semi-final with a win against Iran 21-16 19-21 21-17 on Monday.

As the name suggests, it is a sport native to Southeast Asia. With its acrobatic kicks, similar to the bicycle kick in football, it has all the elements of an entertaining spectator sport.

Why is it called sepak takraw?

The game takes it name from the countries where the sport is most popular. Sepak is the Malay word for kick, and takraw the Thai word for woven ball. The ball is spherical and made out of synthetic fibre.

How big is the court and where can it be played?

The court is similar in size to a badminton court (13.4 m long, 6.1 m wide) and the net should not be taller than 1.52 m. The game can be played indoors or on the beach, just like volleyball.

What are the rules of the game?

A team is made up of three players – the server who has to take position on a circle towards the end of the court, and the striker and the bowler who stand on opposite ends of the net.


The players are only allowed to touch the ball with their feet, head, knee and chest. Use of hands or arms is not allowed. A team is allowed a maximum of three touches before sending it over the net. All three touches can be done by a single player as well. If a team exceeds three touches, they lose a point.

A team can lose a point if the ball falls outside the area of play, hits the net and falls back on the same side of the court, use of hands/arms, when the server lifts his foot away from the circle during the serve, if the players leave their respective circles before the ball goes over the net.

Serve changes occur after every three points, regardless of who wins the point.

What is the scoring system?

A team event is played over a maximum of three sets. A team winning the first two sets is declared the winner. The first team to win 15 or 21 points (depending on the game) wins the set. To win a set, a team has to not only win 21 points but have a two-point lead. If the score is tied at 20-20, the set is won by the side that either achieves the two-point lead or the ceiling of 25 points, whichever comes earlier.

How does the sport figure internationally?

The game is governed by the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF). Major competitions include the ISTAF World Cup, ISTAF Super Series. It also figures in the Asian Games and Southeast Asian Games. It is not yet an Olympic event.

In India, the Sepak Takraw Federation is based in Nagpur.

Source – Wikipedia, Youtube

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Printable version | Jul 19, 2021 6:10:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/all-you-need-to-know-about-sepak-takraw-or-kick-volleyball/article24745066.ece

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