What if Football and Volleyball had a baby? What would that look like? You can’t answer that, can you?
Well, it would kind of look like Sepak Takraw. Is it a new name for you? That’s no surprise.
Sepak Takraw is a relatively less-known sport. You might have heard its English name, “kick Volleyball,” which is played between two teams. It is like playing volleyball but using your legs only, like Football. The game is more popular in South-East Asia.
If you ever list the top 10 most difficult sports to play, remember to mention Kick Volleyball. You need to be super flexible to play this game. From this article, you will get to know everything you need to learn about the game. The article features the following:
- Origin and history of Sepak Takraw
- How to play Sepak Takraw
- Equipment needed to play the game
- Tournaments of Sepak Takraw
Let’s kick in.
History of Sepak Takraw
Sepak Takraw is not a new game. It originated in the 15th century in Malaysia. At that time, the game was played by the royal court.
During the 16th century, the game spread across Indonesia. There it was named Sepak Raga. The rules were different from today’s game.
The game gained popularity in the 19th century in South-East Asia, and by 1940, the net version was introduced. All the formal rules of the game are new additions of the past century.
The game was gaining popularity slowly, and people were playing here and there. But the first competition was organized in May 1945. Teams from various villages competed in the tournament. The tournament drew the attention of the people and soon it became much popular.
By the 1950s, Sepak Raga became a favorite time pass for school students.
In 1960, the Malaysian Sepak Raga Federation was founded in Penang. It was the first-ever organization to promote the sport.
The South East Asia Peninsular Games included Sepak Takraw in their 1965 event. At this time, the game was officially named Sepak Takraw. ASTAF, Asian Sepak Takraw Federation, was founded in 1965 as the governing committee of the sports.
With the help of globalization, Sepak Takraw began to cross national borders. People from different countries accepted the game and started playing it. It led to the formation of the International Sepak Takraw Federation or ISTAF. Since then, ISTAF has been the world governing body of the game.
What You Need to Play
Before we discuss how to play the game, let’s discuss Sepak Takraw equipment first. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to play the game. All you need is-
- A small ground
- Protective gears
That’s it. Oh, and you also need some companions as you cannot play it alone.
Size of Sepak Takraw Court
To play Sepak Takraw, you need a flat, uniform, and horizontal surface. The size of the court is identical to that of doubles badminton.
The ideal size of the court is 44 ft by 22 ft (13.4 by 6.1 meters). The court is divided into halves for two teams to take the position.
- The boundary should be at most 1.6 inches.
- The center line is about 2 centimeters that divide the right and left court. There is one service circle on each side of the court. It generally has a 3ft. Radius. It is 9.7 ft from the back line and 10ft from the sidelines.
- Near the net, two-quarter circles on both edges cross over both halves. The quarter circles have a 2.95ft radius.
In the early days, Sepak Takraw was played with balls made of rattan. However, nowadays, synthetic fiber or plastic is used to make the ball.
Sepak Takraw balls need to meet the following features:
- Super Durable
- Spherical in shape.
- Synthetic rubber balls need 12 holes in their surface and 20 intersections.
- The periphery needs to be 16.5–17.3 inches for men and 16.9 – 17.7 inches for women’s games.
- The ball’s weight for men’s games should be 0.37lb to 0.39lb. The weight of the ball for the women’s game should be between 0.33lb to 0.35 lb.
Sepak Takraw nets resemble volleyball nets. It is usually made of nylon that has six 2.36 to 3.15 inches of mesh Dimension of the net follows the below measurement:
- Length 20.1 in
- Width- 10.9 in
- Height- for men’s game, it’s 59.8 inches from the center and 55.9 inches for women’s game
Protective gears refer to supportive ankle bands, which are not mandatory equipment. However, players wear it to protect the joints.
How to play Sepak Takraw
Playing Sepak Takraw is more difficult than it seems. You need to be flexible to shoot with your legs. It is not something impossible, though. It just requires a lot of practice. Here is a complete guideline on how to play the game:
There are two types of Sepak Takraw. One is Regu, where there are three players in each team. The other is called Doubles Regu; each team consists of two players. Each player has a separate role.
You can guess from the name that the server’s main job is to serve the ball. The server kicks the ball across the net with great force for the opponent players to defend. The server is also called Tekong.
The striker shoots the ball into the opponent’s side. His other role is to block high kicks from the opponent’s side.
A Feeder’s role is to defend and prevent the ball from touching the ground. He does not shoot the ball in the opponent’s direction. Rather, he slows down the ball and passes it to the striker to shoot.
The server usually stands in the back. The striker and the feeder take position in front.
Rules of the Game
Like all other sports, Sepak Takraw has its own rules. The rules are:
- The game is played between two teams, each containing three players who have different roles. They are called the server, striker, and feeder.
- Before the service, all players have to take a position inside the marked circle. The server stands in the service circle, the feeder and the striker stand in the quarter circles.
- The feeder tosses the ball to the server, who kicks the ball in the opponent’s direction with as much force as possible. While making the shot, the server has to keep one foot inside the service circle.
- The server and the feeder of the opposition teams have to defend the service. The striker is not allowed to do this. Both the feeder and the server tend to pass the ball to the striker to shoot it back across the net.
- A team has to send the ball to the opposite side in 3 shots.
- Players can touch the ball with their feet, chest, head, and knees.
- The opposition gets the point when a team fails to send back the ball or takes more than 3 touches.
- The first team that scores 21 points wins a set. There are 3 sets, and to win the game, a team has to win two sets. The final set ends with 15 points.
Shots And Techniques
Players have specific roles in Sepak Takraw. The striker has to shoot toward the opponent, and the feeder has to defend and pass the ball to the striker.
The game requires the players to be:
- Agile and
The players play different types of shots, each with specific names.
The inside kick is a very basic shot. Players stand with their feet apart, then bend the supporting leg. Finally, the striker uses his other foot to shoot the ball with the inside of his leg. Timing is very important to play the shot.
Outside kicks are used for defense. When the server serves the ball, the opponent defends the ball with an outside kick. Players raise their knees as high as possible while playing the shot.
Players use their foreheads to make the ball fly. Players only use a header when the ball is too high to reach with their legs. Both the striking and serving sides use headers to their advantage.
Horse Kick Serve
It is one of the most difficult shots of the game. In this, the player performs a high kick. For this, the player uses his foot to hit the ball in a backward direction.
The player hops on one leg and hits the ball with the other leg while still in the air. The player kicks the ball backward over his shoulders or head before touching the ground.
This is another high-skill shot. The player jumps with one leg and then turns in the air to direct the ball in his desired direction.
The knee kick is mostly played for defensive purposes. Players raise their knees as high as possible and use their thighs to block a strike.
Sepak Takraw Tournaments
There are not so many tournaments of Sepak Takraw. Some tournaments in South-East Asia include the Korea Sepak Takraw Championship, Kings Cup Sepak Takraw Championship, etc. However, the biggest Sepak Takraw event is the ISTAF World Cup.
Sepak Takraw World Cup
The Sepak Takraw World Cup is also known as ISTAF World Cup. ISTAF organized the first edition of the World Cup in 2011 for both men’s and women’s national teams.
The tournament takes place every four years. The second edition was scheduled to take place in 2015 but was postponed. It was finally organized in 2017 in India. The 3rd edition of the event will begin on 25 November 2022. 32 countries’ national teams will be competing in the tournament.
Here is a list of all the winners of the World Cup:
For Men’s World Cup
Medals table for men’s World Cup
For Women’s World Cup
Medals table for Women’s World Cup
2022 ISTAF World Cup
South Korea will host the third edition of the ISTAF World Cup from 25 November to 29 November. The World cup was scheduled to happen in 2019 but was postponed due to the Covid19 pandemic.
So far, Thailand has been the most dominating force in both the men’s and women’s World Cup. Will Thailand win for the third time? Or will there be a new champion?
Sepak Takraw is one of the most exciting and fast-paced games. Though the game is yet underrated, it is gradually gaining fame. Hopefully, the ISTAF World Cup will boost its popularity. ISTAF should promote the history of Sepak Takraw during the tournament to gain people’s interest.