How to Play Soccer Tennis

How to Play Soccer Tennis

Soccer Tennis, like the name suggests, is a combination of soccer and tennis. It helps players learn hand-foot coordination while engaging in a fun competition. 

What Is Soccer Tennis?   

Any sports practice, whether at a recreational club or school sport, can get repetitive. Most coaches drill players relentlessly, teaching them hand-eye coordination or hand-foot coordination. There's rarely a change of pace to traditional practices. In the past few years, soccer coaches have begun using a new game to teach their soccer players better aim, coordination, teamwork. They call this game "Soccer Tennis."

Soccer Tennis is a fun game for up to four players. The game's purpose is to improve player's instincts and teach them to have better technical skills. 


What Equipment Do You Need to Play? 

To play Soccer Tennis, you will need a tennis court and a soccer ball--no need for a soccer goal. When playing on a tennis court, the setup is simple; two players stand on either side of the tennis net with one team starting with the soccer ball.  

However, not all soccer teams have direct access to a tennis court (for obvious reasons). Teams that can't easily access tennis courts for this game can create a makeshift Soccer Tennis court. First, they will need a Soccer Tennis net, which is about the same height as a tennis net. Since Soccer Tennis isn't an official sport, feel free to improvise.  

You can mark the boundaries on the grass by using cones. You can even set up a "net" by using taller cones. The options are endless.  

Once you've set up your Soccer Tennis net and court, start a Soccer Tennis tournament. For the tournament, you will need several courts, with two teams at each court. When a team wins their game, they move up in the ranking while the opposing team moves down on the playing field. It gives the players a needed break from intense soccer training sessions and lets them relax instead. 

You can play Soccer tennis with young players or older players. No matter the age of your team, all players will have fun. 

tennis court

What Are the Rules to Soccer Tennis?  

There are several variations of Soccer Tennis since it isn't an official game. The game was created by players who loved soccer but wanted a break from the traditional. Because it's not official, feel free to be flexible with the rules and even create your own rules depending on your players' needs.  

For example, if your team struggles with ball control, mold your game to incorporate skills that will help your team improve their footwork. Regardless of the name, there are very few similarities to a tennis game (other than borrowing the tennis net and tennis court). 

Here are the most basic rules in Soccer Tennis.  

  • The court can accommodate four players, two on either team like playing tennis doubles. Determine the serving team by flipping a coin or by playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. The winning team serves the ball. 
  • The serving team kicks the ball over the team to the opposing team. When the ball gets to the other kick, it can only bounce on the ground once, meaning that the two team members will have to kick it back and forth. The opposing team has three kicks to get it back over the net. 
  • If the ball bounces before they touch it, they must get it over the net without the ball bouncing a second time.  
  • Team members don't need to alternate between touches like in volleyball, though teamwork is always encouraged. If one player kicks the ball twice and passing it to their teammate, the teammate must kick it over the net. 
  • If a team can't return the ball to the opposing team, the opposing team earns one point. The first team to earn ten points wins the game.   
  • The players' goal is to volley the soccer ball back and forth and work on their passing, juggling, and ball control. 

If you're playing under a shorter time limit, feel free to limit the point and say that the first team to five points wins. As the players are first learning the game, they will want to play defensively and work on simply getting the ball back over the net.  

As their skills progress and they get better control over the ball, they can start adding additional moves and strategies. Quickly, this game will become a favorite among soccer players because of its easy rules, fast gameplay, and fascinating footwork. 


Are There Soccer Tennis Variations?

Depending on your team's needs and skill level, you can try additional variations and drills that will turn your soccer team into a winning team in every game. Here are three variations to Soccer Tennis that your team, both young and old, will love.  

Soccer Cleanup  

Soccer Cleanup is an ideal game for younger players who simply need to kick the ball successfully. To play, set up the Soccer Tennis net and throw out an equal number of soccer balls on either side of the net. Ideally, you would want to empty your soccer ball bag so that the kids can constantly kick at the soccer balls.  

Once the courts are littered with soccer balls, split your team into two teams with an equal number of players on both sides of the court. When everything is ready, yell for the teams to start.  

All at once, both teams will run towards the balls and begin kicking them over the net. After five minutes, the team with fewer balls wins the round. Because the teams are constantly kicking the ball back and forth, there's never a dull moment. You often won't know which team is in the lead until the final minutes of the game. Play the game three times (which will use up to 15 minutes), and the team that wins two out of the three games takes out the victory. 

Caution the kids to watch out for flying balls since it's possible for the opposite team to kick a ball high enough to hit another player in the head. This is a chaotic game, but if the kids are ready for it, they will have a lot of fun. 


Body Ball 

Body Ball is a Soccer Tennis variation perfect for young kids still getting used to soccer balls flying in their direction. Most children shy away from soccer balls because they're scared of getting hit with the ball (which is a perfectly valid fear). However, it doesn't work to have a soccer player scared of flying soccer balls. Instead, you want to teach the kids to run towards the balls. 

To help kids embrace the soccer ball, play Body Ball. Set up the game like you're playing a regular game of Soccer Tennis. The main difference is that the players can use any part of their body to hit the ball over the net (excluding their hands).  

Players can use their heads, knees, elbows, chests, backs, or feet to get the ball over. There's also a higher bounce limit in this variation, making it easier for the players to get used to the ball. Additionally, this variation tallies points differently. Teams want to have the least amount of points possible.  

To tally points, a referee tracks the number of times the ball hits the ground. Each time the ball touches the ground, the round earns one point. For example, if the ball touches the ground five times during a round, that round is worth five points. If a team lets the ball bounce more than three times on their side before returning the ball to the opposite team, they lose the round and earn all of the points accumulated during the round.  

When playing Body Ball, you'll never know who is going to win until the final round. For example, if Team A has five points and Team B and one, you might assume that Team B will win. However, Team B could easily earn a round worth six points, putting Team A in the lead. 

soccer ball

Head Tennis 

Head Tennis helps older players learn to head the ball, an advanced skill that can be difficult to do successfully with ample practice. Head tennis gives players a chance to solely work on heading the ball.  

To play, set up the court like you're playing regular Soccer Tennis. In fact, there are few differences between Soccer Tennis and Head Tennis. In Head Tennis, playing can only hit the ball on their heads. Players can volley the ball back and forth over the net and can't let the ball touch the ground, making it similar to volleyball.  

If a team drops the ball, they lose the round, and the opposing team gets the point. Experienced players will love this game because it's a step away from their traditional soccer drills. 

Soccer Tennis and its variations are perfect for any soccer setting and have a lot of different variations to keep the players interested in the game. Play Soccer Tennis whenever you feel like your team needs a break from sprinting and soccer drills. 



Other Games

Other games that you might enjoy if you like soccer tennis is Nine Square and Gaga Ball.

How to Play Soccer Tennis

Ian Boggess

About the Author

Ian has been with Castle Sports for the last 4 years. He loves designing games for fitness and activity that get the whole group involved.

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