Rhythm Ball


A cross between handball, basketball and a hip-hop concert. Quite demanding to prepare, but with a great effect.


Mark a boundaries for your court (at least the four corners). It's exact size depends on how casual or how sporty is your group's attitude. For the middle ground it may be 4x6 meters.

On each shorter side of the court put two gongs with a basket (a few times bigger than the ball you use). For especially competitive players make a half circle of 3m diameter around the basket as the zone that both teams cannot enter when trying to score or defending.


Divide players in two teams. Four people play on the court at a time, but all the rest still play the game from the sidelines. Chose two starting pairs.

Chose a drummer-accompanist (or a facilitator) who will be on the sidelines and keep the steady beat. The drummer will serve as a referee and should have the feel for the game to adjust the comfortable tempo. It's best to give signals with the drum pattern (fill-in): Show to players a chosen drum part for the situations when foul play occurred and the team currently in possession should give away the ball.

Gameplay instructions

Drummer plays a 4/4 beat throughout the game.

The object of the game is for the two teams to rebound the rhythmball off the gong and into the basket on the opposite side of the court, but there is a catch. The ball must be passed every beat "one" for the play to continue and only in-court players without the ball can move around.

The rhythmball must hit the gong for a team to get points, which are as follows:

  • To get full score, the ball must hit the gong on beat "one" and land in the basket. The scoring team then receives 5 points.
  • If the ball hits the gong on beat "one" but does not land in the basket, the scoring team receives only 3 points.
  • If the gong is struck on any other beat other than beat "one", the scoring team receives only 1 point .

After scoring the beat may stop, teammates may be swapped and the ball is given to the team that lost the point who start the next action.

The ball can be passed from hand to hand as long as the ball arcs above the head. It can also be bounced off the ground from one hand to another. The rhythmball can be also passed to the second teammate or any teammate on the sidelines, but again the rhythmball can only be passed on beat one. Off-beat passes (foul play) allows the other team to take posession of the rhythmball. The oppostion of course tries to snatch the ball away. One good thing is that you know when the ball is going to be passed.

Game end

Let the game end after scoring a set amount of points (equal to more than the amount of players participating, so anyone can play in-court) or with a timer (in case a defensive tactics is mostly used).


Instead of playing the 4/4 rhythm, playing on 6 is also available.


Junkyard Johnny and the Junkyard Symphony. See: http://junkyardsymphony.com/rhythmball.html for additional photos for the game rules.

Don't treat the game as Creative Commons, but development of rules is allowed (author's preferences details @odolany).

Editor's note

Photo used for decoration is "Junkyard Symphony" by Mark Bray, CC BY 2.0

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