Area – description/rules

so here’s a game that was played during breaks when I was at primary school, it’s really fun and I’ve not seen it anywhere else (even on the net) so here it is:

What you need:

  • 1 netball court (nets not required)
  • 1 tennis ball
  • 2 or more people (preferably more, like 8, but many, MANY people can be fun too!)
Rough Game Description:

Area is a team game, each team takes an opposite third of the court and takes turns trying to throw a tennis ball into the other team’s semi-circle for points.



here’s a picture of the court:

I’ve coloured the team zones, one team takes red and the other team takes blue.

  • To take a turn, a team member throws a ball from inside their team’s zone, and aims for the ball to land in the other team’s semi-circle. a point is scored if the ball touches the court inside a semi-circle (if a player drops the ball in their own team’s semi-circle, the other team scores a point).
  • players must try to defend their semi-circle by catching or blocking the ball.
  • if players throw the ball when outside their team’s zone it is a foul (so long as some part of their body is touching their team’s zone they are safe)
  • when a player fouls, the other team takes a point and it is then their turn.
  • No player should ever leave their team’s zone unless the ball is out of bounds.
  • the ball is out of bounds if it’s anywhere other than one of the team zones (that means the center third of the court, or anywhere outside of the court.
  • when the ball is out of bounds both teams can leave their zone and try and take the ball, when a player gets the ball then it is then their team’s turn and all players must return to their zone (no wrestling the ball from people!).
  • players must never enter the other team’s zone, even if the ball is out of bounds.
  • To start the game, place the ball in the center of the court and have all players enter their zones. each team agrees to all count from 3 to 0 together, and at 0 the game begins. since the ball starts out of bounds, the first team to rush out and claim it gets the first turn.
  • the game ends when an agreed amount of time has passed or a certain score is reached (for us it was game-over when break time ended 😉 ). the team with the highest score wins.


Notes, variations & suggestions:

  • as an alternative foul penalty, let the other team take a penalty shot, where they are allowed to throw from inside the center third of the court.
  • Players on a team don’t have to take turns when throwing, teams decide amongst themselves who throws next, or players can throw the moment they catch the ball if they think it will help the team.
  • try faking out the other team by letting them think a different player has the ball and throw when they aren’t ready.
  • any throw is valid, low, high, under-arm, over-arm, fast, slow, rolling, bouncing etc.
  • indoor courts are fine, but if you play on an outdoor court you can do sky throws if you’re good enough. 😉
  • if a ball is lost (it lands in a busy street or into that garden with the big dog) the game is over, unless you have another ball in which case it’s the turn of whichever team didn’t lose the ball
  • more players make the game more interesting! in some games half the fun is misleading the other team, and you can be more elaborate doing that with more players 🙂

I do recommend giving this game a try if you have a few people and a netball court handy. 🙂

finally, if you know this game by another name, please let me know!


2 Comments on “Area – description/rules”

  1. Dom Camus says:

    I realise this game is intended to be played informally, but there’s an odd mismatch in the rules. Throwing from outside your team’s area is a “foul” and earns a penalty, whereas several other places in the rules talk about things players “should” or “must” do but there is no mention of what happens when they don’t.

    The case where this might actually matter is out of bounds balls. The process of collecting out of bounds balls could easily leave a player from either or both teams illegally out of bounds even without breaking the spirit of the game. Example: Red team shoots hard and the ball bounces out of bounds without scoring. A player from each of Red and Blue run for the ball. The Blue player gets there first and throws to a teammate in the Blue section of the court. Both players who ran for the ball are now out of bounds.

    Game sounds fun, though I’ll definitely try this if I encounter a wandering netball court!

    • Sophie says:

      yeah I know I missed a couple of things like that so that the rules wouldn’t be too obtuse for someone reading them the first time. in the example you bring up there is no foul, the blue team is taking advantage of their out of bounds success and the red player will have to hurry if they want to defend their semi-circle. this makes it a bit of a gamble on wether to even try to reach an out of bounds ball, if you aren’t going to make it you are better off staying.

      as a general rule, I’d just assume nobody can force a foul on anybody else, and if you want to play competitively and expect bickering over edge cases you can just set up penalties or whatever as needed 🙂

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