Soccer tennis, also known as ‘foot tennis’, is a rising game that blends soccer and tennis. Played between two or more players, soccer tennis can be a fun break from ‘normal’ soccer and helps improve various skills.
The objective of the game is to keep the ball in the air, using any part of the body except the arms and hands, and to score points by making the ball land on the opponent’s side of the net.
If you have never played soccer tennis before, you are missing out. This new type of game has become very popular among the younger generation, and it is quite exciting.
It is a fun and fast-paced game that can be enjoyed by soccer players of all skill levels and is often used as a warm-up activity or a fun way to improve skills such as trapping, passing, heading and ball control.
In this article, we’ll address what soccer tennis exactly is and how it can improve your soccer skills.
What Exactly is Soccer Tennis?
As the name suggests, soccer tennis is a hybrid sport of soccer and tennis.
The sport doesn’t require much equipment – only a ball, net, (4) cones and players.
There are two teams on each side of the court. A net divides the court in two.
The goal of the game is not the same as in soccer. It’s actually more inline with tennis. Each team must make the ball bounce on the opponent’s half of the court. If the opponent lets the ball bounce twice or they can’t get it over the net again then the other team receives a point.
Players are allowed to use any body part except hands. Shoulders are acceptable.
Additionally, players are usually allowed three touches (per team) to control and get the ball back over the net.
You need at least two players to play and there really is no max but this is usually dependent on the court/field space.
The game can be played on a tennis court, pickleball court, basketball court, black-top, turf or grass.
To help you visualize what we are writing, here is a helpful video of what a soccer tennis game looks like…
Standard Rules for Soccer Tennis
There are many variations of soccer tennis and rules that support it. For players looking to standardize the game, here are rules you can adhere to:
- First serve is determined by coin toss or rock, paper, scissors.
- Players must agree on a game ball.
- Players must have even teams.
- Use the four cones to mark the corners of each end.
- The serving player must serve from the end of their side into the opposing side in the air.
- The ball must hit the ground once before kicking it to the opposing side (drop kicks are not allowed).
- The same player cannot serve two series in a row.
- The server must call out the score before each serve.
- The team that wins the point will get to serve next.
- Players can use their feet, thighs, chest, shoulders and head to touch the ball.
- Players can only use their hands for a serve.
- Teams are allowed to have a max of 3 touches to get the ball over the net.
- Teams do not need to alternate touches between players. A single player can have all three touches to get it over the net.
- The first team to reach 21 points wins and a team must win by 2.
- A point is awarded if:
- The ball bounces more than once
- The ball is kicked out of bounds
- The opposing team uses their hands to touch the ballThe opposing team touches the ball more than 3 times
- The opposing team hits the net on a serve (you can implement a warning here)
What Is the Origin of Soccer Tennis?
Now, you may be thinking “Who invented this amazing hybrid game?” The origin of soccer tennis is not well documented, and it is unclear who specifically invented the game.
It is believed to have emerged as a variation of traditional tennis and was likely developed by soccer players as a way to improve their skills and have fun during training sessions or downtime.
For example, players of Slavia Prague, a Czech club, began playing soccer, but not your typical soccer game – this one was played over a rope.
Over time, the popularity of this sport increased, resulting in the formation of soccer tennis.
Slowly but naturally, tournaments were also set in place. The first soccer tennis tournament took place in 1940, and it was called the Futnet Cup. Then, in 1961, tennis soccer received its official sport recognition.
Later, in 1991 and 1994, European and World Championships began to appear.
Soccer Tennis Governing Bodies
Believe it or not there are a few primary governing bodies for soccer tennis. They international organizations include Federation International Football Tennis Association (FIFTA), Union Internationale de Futnet (UNIF) and European Futnet Association (EFTA).
UNIF includes different EFTA and FIFTA members too. There are more than 30 members of UNIF, they include:
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Hong Kong
- Ivory Coast
- Republic of Moldova
- Russian Federation
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
Soccer Tennis Equipment
You don’t have to be part of an international team to play soccer tennis – you just need some friends, teammates or family who are willing to join you on the field and some equipment to make the game as enjoyable and convenient as possible.
Obviously, the first thing you will need is a ball. Although a soccer tennis ball typically looks just like a normal soccer ball, it is a bit different. Unlike standard soccer balls, this one is glued instead of stitched. It is also made of synthetic leather most of the time.
Special balls made from the ECOLORICA material were introduced in the 2016 world championships. This material is supposed to resemble natural leather in features, but it’s made of polyurethane and polyamide.
Of course, most players simply use a soccer ball in the U.S.
Next, you will need a net in the middle of the court. The ideal size may vary for each soccer tennis game depending on whether it involves singles, doubles, or triples. Generally, nets have a 43.3-inch height.
In addition to the ball and the net, players may want to wear their favorite indoor soccer shoes. If not, normal everyday tennis or running sneakers do the trick.
Soccer tennis is a great sport to play as a substitute for ‘normal’ soccer. The game is fast-paced and exciting.
Soccer tennis can help soccer players refine their skills. The quick and precise touches as well as decision making can be improved over time.
If you haven’t tried it out yet, grab some friends and start playing! We think you’ll love it.