If you have the ability to play volley ball in your space, then I hope you play it frequently. Its a great game and is awesome for team building. However, unless you have some seriously competitive volleyball players in your group, then they may struggle to just get it over the net, in which case, maybe crazy volleyball is for you!

We tried this game out last week for our Sunday night youth group, and it was pretty awesome, at least to watch! Here’s how its played.

Supplies: Volleyball(s), net, whistle, boundary lines set (if you are playing outside you can mark with flags, buckets, whatever you have) Tip: It helps to have adults “line judge” to avoid arguments.

  1. Split the students on to two teams, with 6 on each side of the net, have the other students line up next to the court to be ready to “sub in” for another player.
  2. Tell them they are playing crazy volleyball, but don’t tell them what that means. Have them start playing by regular volleyball rules. If you can’t agree on what “regular” rules are, look some up online.
  3. After a few points have been scored, blow the whistle and get their attention. Tell them they are still playing volleyball but the rules have changed. Now they have to serve backwards, hitting the ball over their head to the other side.
  4. Let this go for a while and blow the whistle to signal there is a new rule. Every time the rules change they are playing regular volleyball with the new rule (they are not piling the rules on top of one another, we found out that doesn’t work well). Here’s a list of rules you can try:
    1. Every time the ball is hit over the net, one player from each team has to switch spots under the net (this mixes up the team and becomes confusing, and causes them to have to talk to each other). If no one from team A moves to side B, then side B gets the point.
    2. Take down the teams to 3 players on each side and every time the ball is hit over the net someone from the sidelines trades with someone on their own team.
    3. Players are only able to move backwards
    4. They have to play with 2 volleyballs each team serving at the same time, and have to try to keep both balls going (or throw in a different ball, beach ball, big play ground ball etc)
    5. And our favorite rule, anything goes to get it over the net, as long as the ball keeps moving and stays in bounds. This means no catching the ball and throwing it, but after the server on team A gets it over the net, team B can hit it off a bounce, kick it, hit it 5 times, anything as long as it stays moving and inside the boundary lines. We found this rule meant everyone got to play, even if they weren’t very good at volleyball, and you can make it extra hard by having more players on the court at once.

We happened to use this game as a warm up for our lesson on noise. When I asked the students why the game was hard, they brought up lots of reasons, but one said “because I couldn’t hear anything. I couldn’t hear the rules, and I couldn’t hear my team, everyone was too loud”. This led perfectly on our lesson on how hard it is to hear God when our lives are filled with noise.

However, I believe there are more great lessons this game could support.

  • How do we cope with life when we feel like the rules are constantly changing? Moving from Elementary to Jr High, or High School to College we start to feel like everyone is changing the rules on us and we can’t keep up. However we can look to scripture to see that God is always with us, and hasn’t changed the rules on us. Jesus reinforced that in his reiteration of the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:34-40 and Mark 12:28-34.
  • The value of rules and guidelines in life. Without rules and structure the game gets crazy, if they had just had a real free for all, no boundary lines, no rules, then what would have been the point? So whose rules do we follow, God’s or the World’s?
  • The value of community when life gets crazy. We are created for community, and when we start to get lost, or feel overwhelmed, those are times when we can lean on our community (team) and trust that they will be there for us, and we also need to be there for them.

The list I’m sure could go on and on, if you have any other good ideas for extra crazy rules to try, or more lessons this could work with please comment on this post!

Shalom, friends!