How to Play 9 Square

 Any Place, Any Time! 


What is 9 Square Castle Squares?

9 Square is a fun game for all age groups and skill levels. It’s like a cross between volleyball and 4 Square, but what exactly is the game, and how do you play?

It takes the old 4 Square game and adds a volleyball-like element by putting the squares 6-8 feet above the ground. Nine players defend their own square by bouncing a ball up and out of their own square and into the other players’ squares. 

The goal of the game is to get to the center square (often called the King/Queen square) and stay there as long as possible. You do that by getting the players in front of you out so you can move towards the coveted spot.

How to Play?

How to Play 9 Square

The Goal

The goal of this game is to make your way through the rotation to the King/Queen position. Once there, players will attempt to stay as long as possible.

Basic Play

The player in the center square or King/Queen position will serve the ball into another square like in volleyball. Players will then bounce the ball out of their own square and into one of the other squares without letting it drop.

Getting Out

If a player lets the ball hit the ground after it is passed into his or her square or a player bounces it outside all 9 squares, they are out and will move to the end of the overflow line or into the first square position.

When a person moves to the end of the rotation, players behind him or her will follow the rotation in the provided graphic to fill the empty spot.

The person who is now in the King/Queen position will take the ball and give service to restart the game.

For the best experience playing 9 Square, adjust the height of your game set so that the squares are about two feet above the head of your average player.

  • The player in the King/Queen square serves the ball to begin play.

  • Once the ball enters a player’s square, they can touch it only once to get it back out.

  • If the ball enters into a player’s square from the top and hits the ground, that player is out. It does not matter if it hits the ground in an adjacent square.

  • If the ball hits the ground outside the 9 square set, it’s out-of-bounds, and the last player who touched it is out.

  • When the ball enters a player’s square, that player must bounce it back out through their own square in order to stay in.

Game Variations

Castle Sports' game set, Castle Squares, can be adapted for a wide variety of ways. The set can be changed to have 2, 4, 6, or 9 squares. This allows for play depending on your group size.

Team Play

To play 9 Square in teams, just have the odd-numbered squares play against the even-numbered squares (see the graphic above). If you are playing with 9 squares, one team will have an extra player, but they also have an extra square to defend, so it’s typically still a fair game.

This version of play can also be used if you’re playing with four or six squares.

If you’re playing in teams, you can rotate positions if you’d like, but to decide a winner, give yourself a time limit and keep track of the score.

House Rules

As with any casual game, you can develop house rules to fit how you like to play. Do you have someone from the overflow line serve? Can each person touch the ball two times before bouncing it out of their square?

We’d love to hear how you play the game, so if you have a version that you like, let us know!

Who Should Play?

Another amazing thing about 9 Square is that people of any athletic ability and skill level can play. Whether you’re a 7-year old still learning coordination, or a college volleyball athlete, you can enjoy 9 Square.  

This is also a great game for beginning volleyball players. It can be used to help new players develop fundamental coordination and skills to start playing.

This is a perfect community-building game. Whether that community is a family, coworkers, or group of friends, it is fun for everyone.  

You don’t have to be athletic to have fun. You can be terrible at volleyball and still have fun. You can have fun if you’re 6 or 60. 9 square truly is for everybody.

Grandparents smilingkid smilingSand Volleyball

Where Can You Play?

The only requirements for finding a place to play nine square is sufficient space, and flat ground. If you play with all nine squares, the set itself is a 15’ X 15’ square.

What Events Can You Play At?

The possibilities really are endless, but here are a few ideas:

  • Family gatherings

  • BBQs

  • PE classes

  • Youth camps

  • Beach days

  • Work parties

  • Casual hangouts

  • Pool parties

  • Church activities