Hooverball is a variation of volleyball invented by Herbert Hoover’s physician to keep the president in shape. Played with a medicine ball, the game is a hybrid of volleyball and tennis.
Hooverball can be played on grass or sand. The rules are quite simple. Throw the ball over the net. If you fail to do so, the other team earns a point. If you throw the ball over but the opponent(s) fail to catch the ball, you get a point. The goal is not to spike the heavy medicine ball as you would a volleyball, though you can in some cases. Rather, you get behind the ball by leaning slightly away from it and dropping into a squat to propel the ball over the net.
You cannot move with the ball; once you have caught it the medicine ball must be immediately sent back over the net. The only exception to this rule is a ball caught out of bounds. If you catch an out of bounds ball or are driven out of bounds by your catch, you may walk back onto the court to launch the ball over the net. Female players can pass to someone else on their team.
One team maintains serving rights per game. The serving team changes each game in the match. Both sides of the court are divided in half. If the ball is caught in the front half of the court, it must be returned to the back half of the opponent’s court. If a player fails to do this, the point is awarded to the other team. There are four types of throws: the spike, the body twist, the overhead, and the trebuchet, which is a one- armed throw similar to that of a shot put.
Hooverball has gained popularity in recent years due to the popularity of the Cross Fit training program used by police academies, elite athletes and the military. There is a national Hooverball championship played every year at the president’s library.