Throwball Rules


Throwball is an exciting non-contact sport that is played by two teams of seven players on a rectangular court with a net across the middle. The game shares its roots with volleyball and whilst, on the surface, it may look similar, there are some fundamental differences. Like volleyball, it is played on a court that is split into two with a net in the middle but the playing surface of the court is much larger than a regular volleyball court.

The other fundamental difference is that there is no ‘volleying’ in Throwball. As the name would suggest, instead of parrying balls, they are thrown into the opposition area who then must prevent a point being scored by catching it and immediately returning it. It’s a thrilling, dynamic sport that is full of action from the first minute which is why as a sport it continues to grow in popularity around the world.

Throwball is played around the world but it is in the Indian subcontinent that it is most popular and its overseas hubs of popularity tend to be where there are sizeable Indian communities. It is thought to have originated in England, descended from a popular game played by women and then exported to India via the YMCA who brought it to Chennai in the 1940s. The first rules for Throwball were written by Harry Crowe Buck of the YMCA in 1955 and the sport gradually grew in popularity over the next few years, with the Throwball Federation of India being formed in 1985.

Object of the Game

The object of the game of Throwball is for one team to defeat their opponents by scoring more points than them in each set, each set being won by the first to 15 points. Win two sets and the game is won. Players in Throwball attempt to defeat their opponents by throwing the ball into the opposition half, hoping that the other team will fail to return it, scoring them a point.

As a team game, players have to work in unison together and must have a good understanding of each other's game as well as having clear channels of communication. This ensures that there are no confusions over who is going for the ball, potentially giving their opposition a point.

Players & Equipment

Players need no special equipment apart from a shorts and a team jersey with their designated number on the back. The ball used should be an official Throwball, which is very similar to a volleyball but is slightly larger. The playing court too is larger than a volleyball court, measuring 12.2m by 18.3m and with a net height of 2.2.


Throwball is scored like volleyball and uses rally scoring. That means only the team serving can score a point and does so when the opponent faults. Faults can include:

  • Failure to return the ball over the net
  • A player touching the ball twice
  • Touching the net

Winning the Game

Throwball matches consist of three sets, with each set being won by the team who is the first to score 15 points. The first team to win two sets is declared the winner. Due to the fast paced nature of the game of Throwball, teams are required to display a great deal of teamwork and fitness to be successful in beating their opposition.

Rules of Throwball

  • Throwball is played on a court that measures 12.2m x 18.3m with a neutral box at either side of the centre measuring 1.5m.
  • A net is placed across the centre of the court at a height of 2.2m.
  • Throwball shall be played between two teams, each consisting of twelve players, seven of whom can be active on the pitch at any one time. The remaining five players are substitutes.
  • Throwball uses rally scoring in which points can only be scored when serving.
  • Matches should be played for the best of three sets, each set’s winner being the first to score 15 points.
  • Service is done immediately after the referee's whistle at the start of the game and after a point is scored. It is done from behind the back line towards any area of the opposition’s half.
  • Points are lost in Throwball if a team fails to return a serve or throw such as by hitting the net of failing to catch the ball and then throw it back.
  • Balls should not be volleyed as in volleyball but should be caught and then thrown quickly. Any ball being released should be done so from on or above the shoulder line only.
  • Passes are not allowed in Throwball, as soon as a player receives the ball, they should return it over the net immediately.
  • Two players cannot catch the ball simultaneously.
  • All players should be appropriately dressed with a team jersey and shorts with their number being printed on the back of the jersey.