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Roundnet, Data, and User Feedback

Roundnet, Data, and User Feedback

Spikeball Roundnet players data and feedback
6/7/20 - Written By: Tom Witt - MA Kinesiology


-NEW roundnet data

-Analysis of previous roundnet data, stats and more

-Comparisons to other PRO sports

- My suggestions for the FUTURE!

Change - It Is Up To US

Roundnet has gone through much change since it’s early start as a backyard game. 

The rules, equipment, attitudes, strategies, and much more have been altered over the years. 

Those changes have not always been influenced by ‘the powers that be’ but by the PLAYERS. 

It is up to US as roundnet participants and enthusiasts to be the leaders in that purposeful change in our sport

We Need More Data!

The sport of roundnet is very limited in terms of 'data' collected on the sport.

To continue progressing in the most positive manor, it is up to not just the Spikeball Roundnet Association (SRA) to collect data to fuel progress, but us as players as well.

With this power in our hands, we have the opportunity to mold the trajectory of the sport of roundnet, and how future generations play the game.

That is an opportunity that most sport participants do not ever have! 

WE must take advantage of this once in a lifetime opportunity!

**That data and feedback can come in many forms, READ MORE BELOW!**

- Poll Question Results -

"What Draws More VIEWERS to Watch Roundnet?

Technical Skills or Athleticism?"

What Does the DATA Say?

There were 168 votes cast on the poll, "Technical Skills or Athleticism? What Draws More VIEWERS to Watch Roundnet?", which makes me ecstatic!

Along with that excitement, this poll provides some valuable data, and user feedback, for the roundnet community. 

Out of 168 total votes, the voters made it CLEAR what they prefer when WATCHING roundnet game play. Athleticism!

147 of 168 voters chose the option 'Athleticism - Dives, Sprints, Long Runs, Jumps Change of Direction, ETC.

And 21 of 168 voters chose the option 'Technical Skills - Cut Serves, Flick Kills, Serve Fakes, Aces, ETC."

This shows what viewers want to see, doesn't always correlate with what is currently viewed as 'winning' roundnet - hard serves to produce aces. 

I love what polls add to articles, in terms of excitement and reader engagement. 

Even more so though, WE NEED MORE DATA, especially in the 'young' sport of roundnet.

We Have the Data... But What Next?

What do the limited results of this survey mean? 

Do the rules of the sport need or the equipment need to be modified to produce a better viewing experience?

Does nothing need to happen?

Let's look at some previous data and discussion on the sport of roundnet!

Here's A Rally!


Previously Published Roundnet Data

First EVER Study on Roundnet 

In 2016, the first ever large study on the sport of roundnet was published, "A DESCRIPTIVE STUDY OF ROUNDNET".

The first of it's kind study was published by myself, Tom Witt, to help fulfill the graduation requirement for a masters degree in kinesiology from Chico State University, in Chico, CA. 

Below is more background information and data from the study:


The purpose of this study was to examine the heart rates, step counts, motor skills, and attitudes of male roundnet participants during match play.

More specifically, the study determined if roundnet kept participants in their target heart rate (THR) zone and measured the frequency of steps while playing.

Motor skills were analyzed using video and event recording of roundnet game play.

Finally, the researcher surveyed participants to determine their attitudes and motivations for participating in exercise and roundnet.


The researcher recruited 20 male volunteer participants between the ages of 18 and 27 to play six games of roundnet to a winning score of 21.

The participants were categorized into two groups, experienced (N=14) and inexperienced (N=6).


Heart Rate:

The mean heart rates for the experienced group were 135 beats per minute (BPM), while the inexperienced group registered 122 BPM.

All participants in this study reached their moderate target heart rate zone (THR) zone, nine reached the vigorous THR zone.

Game Duration:

The mean length per game was 11:23 for the experienced group and 9:26 for the inexperienced group. 

Skill Proficiency:

Experienced participants demonstrated a higher mean for successful right- and left-hand passes, kills, and drop shots. 

"Why Roundnet?":

Different reasons which drew participants to roundnet include novelty, physical fitness, and enjoyment of participation.    

What All That Information Means!

This study provides an initial database to support roundnet as a sport that may help participants, children, and adults reach their health and fitness goals.

Including the sport of roundnet in elementary, secondary, and higher education levels may serve as an affordable and motivating sport to produce moderate to vigorous physical activity.

(A Descriptive Study of Roundnet, 2016, Tom Witt, )

Spikeball Roundnet Association - Rally/Serve Data

In 2016 the Spikeball Roundnet Association, SRA, released a two part article titled, "Increasing Rallies in Roundnet" (

The article leads off with... the truth.

"1 - 2 - 3, done.

At the highest level of roundnet, that's the norm. Most people fall in love with the sport after a few great rallies, but as players' skills increase, rallies become less frequent, like Chris Hornacek drop shot infrequent.

The consequence of this is that the general VIEW-ABILITY of the sport suffers making it harder to attract fans, sponsors, and media coverage." (Increasing Rallies in Roundnet, 2018, Scotti, Jack,

What Is A Roundnet Rally?

According to the Spikeball Roundnet Association, 

"*A rally is defined as 3 or more changes of possession." 

2017 SRA Nationals Stat Comparison

The SRA article also compared the statistics of the Premier men's and women's divisions 2017 SRA national championships, which were played indoors in Chicago, Ill.  

The data is shown in the table below:

  Premier Women
Legal Serves 58.9% 80.9%
Missed Serves 41.1% 19.1%
Aces 14.5% 4.5%
Rallies* 4.8% 8.9%
Touches/Point 1.56 2.79
Change of Possession/Point 0.056 0.111

After more analysis the SRA article came to the conclusion that,

"All around, these stats aren't good. 

At first glance, it appears that the women's matchups are significantly better. However, if we take away aces and missed serves and only look at points the receiving team played out, we find that Premier matches had rallies 10.9% of the time and Women's matches had rallies 11.8% of the time. Still not good." 

(Increasing Rallies in Roundnet, 2018, Scotti, Jack,

The SRA article goes on to suggest some ways to troubleshoot these problems; such as playing with a higher rim or inner circle, and doing nothing.

All the data is in the article, check it out! 

Is Serving Always Advantageous?

Serve percentage is a key stat to being successful in roundnet, and most sports involving a serve. 

Here's a stat to consider, according to the International Tennis Federation you could expect to see a double fault at a Grand Slam once every 5 games... compare that to roundnet. YIKES!

The SRA article went on to analyze some serve and rally stats of four 'high level' roundnet matches from the Lancaster, PA tournament, which was broadcast on ESPN. 

Below is some of the data. 

The 717 vs. Cisek/Showalter: Serve % = 50%, Ace % = 7%, Rally % = 7%

Easy Pass vs. Kris 2.0: Serve % = 73%, Ace % = 6%, Rally % = 0%

Lagertha vs. Ogres Heroes: Serve % = 58%, Ace % = 0%, Rally % = 0%

Cisek/Showalter vs Wabi Sabi: Serve % = 63%, Ace % = 4%, Rally % = 3% 

Below are the some average serve percentages from other sports:


 More Modification Testing By the SRA

The SRA went on to release a 'Part II' of their 'Increasing Rallies in Roundnet - Part II'.

The SRA tested out seven different modifications and compiled this table with all the data they collected and analyzed. 


"In the latest round of testing we tried out 7 variations. Overall the raised rim had the biggest effect on rallies. The taller set and double fault were the most well received by players that participated. The outside setter and looser net were a flop. More detailed descriptions below.

(Increasing Rallies in Roundnet - Part II, 2018, Scotti, Jack,

More Recent Study on Roundnet

In 2018 two authors, Grimm and Tomschi, took the suggestion of Witt's "A Descriptive Study on Roundnet" and looked deeper into the physical demands of roundnet, with a study titled "Investigation of exercise intensity in competitive roundnet/spikeball".


The aim of this study was to evaluate the physiological demand of male roundnet players during a roundnet match.


12 experienced male roundnet players were recruited.

In a pre-experimental test, all participants conducted a ramp-based treadmill test with spirometric measurements.

Further, lactate concentrations, velocity and heart rate (HR) were measured.

In a subsequent field test, participants conducted a roundnet game in accordance with the official rules.

-During that field test, the following parameters were measured: Average and maximum HR, lactate concentrations, step count, steps per minute, playing time and rate of perceived exertion (RPE).


Results of the pre-experimental test reveal that participants reached a maximum running speed of 5.1±0.2 m/s, a maximum HR of 190.4±7.2 bpm and a VO2max of 55.8±4.2 ml/min/kg

Results of the field test showed that participants reached a maximum HR of 159.7±7.9 bpm corresponding to 83.9±3.6% of the participant’s maximum HR.

Average HR was 133.6±9.4 bpm corresponding to 70.1±4.2% of the participant’s maximum HR. Participants reached a mean lactate concentration of 1.2±0.2 mmol/l and a RPE score of 13.2±1.2.

The mean playing time of one set was 10.8±0.8 minutes.

On average, 790.5±125.2 steps were measured during one set equaling 73.1±11.6 steps per minute. 

What That All Means:

To conclude, this study presents game characteristics and the physiological demand of the trend sport roundnet.

Results indicate that the physiological demand can be described as moderate as none of the measured parameters reaches disproportionately high values."

(Investigation of exercise intensity in competitive roundnet/spikeball. Grimm, Nils-Oliver & Tomschi, Fabian. (2019). International Journal of Physical Education, Fitness and Sports.)

How YOU Can Collect Your Own Data... 
And CHANGE the Sport!

You can help change the sport, and either validate what we are doing as best practice, or show a need for change. And you get to play some roundnet, and be a CRUCIAL aspect of growing our sport!

Here are some suggestions the SRA makes and ways you can record that data to put your hard work into action! 

"Our methodology was to record all games and then track the results of each point. We used a simple spreadsheet that was laid out like this

We played ~100 points with standard rules and equipment and then played ~100 points with each modification. We kept teams the same for all games." 

(Increasing Rallies in Roundnet, 2018, Scotti, Jack,

For any changes to be considered a 'success' by the SRA they must meet these criteria: 

"For any changes to be considered a success, aside from just increasing rallies, they must also:

  1. Maintain the fundamental aspects that make roundnet special
  2. Promote creativity and athleticism  
  3. Preserve the simplicity of the sport

In other words, increasing rallies isn't the end goal, but rather a vehicle to making the sport more fun to both play and watch.  

Test out some modifications of your own or experiment with the ones we've tried and let us know what you find!" (Increasing Rallies in Roundnet - Part II, 2018, Scotti, Jack,

My Suggestions:

-Work on serve return

-Hold off on always hitting that low percentage serve, especially on your second serve - give your defense a chance. Be strategic with your 'big' serve(s). 

-Work on defense, reading the set and setting yourself up for the most success possible on defense (sometimes it's impossible to take away all angles so take away their best shots or even throw in a defensive FAKE to throw off the offense!), -

-Communicate/talk strategy with your teammate between points, games and even between tournaments.

-If you have an idea - talk about it, test it, and do it again!

-Oh, and HAVE FUN!

WE hold the power to the progress of the sport of roundnet!

Spike On, 

Tom Witt


Witt Roundnet Round-Up


Link to Recent Article By Tom Witt on Roundnet World:

Roundnet and Return to Play - Injury Risk and Strategies for Safe Return to Roundnet Game-Play Post ‘Sport Hiatus’



1. A Descriptive Study of Roundnet, 2016, Tom Witt,

2. Increasing Rallies in Roundnet, 2018, Scotti, Jack,

3. Bialik, Carl. “Serving Is A Disadvantage In Some Olympic Sports.” FiveThirtyEight, FiveThirtyEight, 18 Aug. 2016,

4. Increasing Rallies in Roundnet - Part II, 2018, Scotti, Jack,

5. Investigation of exercise intensity in competitive roundnet/spikeball. Grimm, Nils-Oliver & Tomschi, Fabian. (2019). International Journal of Physical Education, Fitness and Sports. 8. 10.26524/ijpefs1921.,

Written by Tom Witt - ‘Witt Roundnet Round-Up’ - 6/7/20


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