Vennis, or 排网球 as it is known in China, is a sport created by several students living in New Hampshire during the summer of 2006. The basic premise of the game is the combination of volleyball and tennis into one easy to learn, but fun to play sport.
The sport first came about when a group of Litchfieldians went to the local tennis courts to play tennis, but soon realized that they could not play tennis because there was four of them and they only had three rackets. They then tried to play volleyball but realized that all they had was a $.50 wal-mart plastic ball and no volleyball. Plus the tennis court nets were too low. The Vennis pioneers then began hitting the ball around and soon found you could hit this ball in different ways to produce a unique spin and thus place the ball in different places on the opposite side of the net. Soon this evolved into this unique and legendary sport that is Vennis.
A Game of Vennis is started by a serve. The server may hit the ball with any part of his or her body with no exceptions. This also applies to any other hit by a player. To be a legal serve, the ball must cross the net on to the other side, and can land anywhere between the net and the Quarter Line on the court. The ball is allowed to bounce once in the court but must then be returned by the team. A player can hit the ball in the air to his teammate or hit it back over the net. Like in volleyball passing the ball to a teammate is called a 'set'. If the ball is set to a teammate, that teammate has the option of setting the ball back, this being called a double-set. A ball may only be hit a maximum of three times during its time on a teams side. This play continues back and forth until either the ball bounces twice in on a teams side or a penalty occurs. If the ball bounces twice in a teams court, then a point is awarded to the other team. Some penalties can award a team points. A Game lasts until one team has reached 7 points. Usually Games are in either Best of 3 Game Matches or Best of 5 Game Matches. Occasionally a Best of 7 Game Match is played.
Before the Match
Before a Match a Volley is played to determine which side will serve first. The rules of the Volley are the same as in a regular game except the ball must clear the net 3 times for the Volley to be valid, otherwise the Volley must be started again.
After the Volley teams traditionally prepare for the game with an inspiring speech from the team captain or a team prayer. Also occasionally a sexual innuedo is made or distracting sexual motions towards the other team can happen. There are no Unsportsmanlike Conduct penalities in Vennis.
Each team also declares a name for itself for the Match, usually these names are carried over across games, even though players may switch from team to team.
After the Match
Traditionally after a Game or Match is won, there are more sexual suggestions and the teams run down the net and shake hands, much like teams do after a little league game. Before and after there are large amounts of celebration by the victorious team and possibly a rushing of the court by Vennis Hooligans. Then Jerseys are exchanged by the players of each team, sometimes always does not work out right.
There are several different variations of Vennis, but the major premise of the game is mostly the same.
- A ball may not be hit twice in a row by the same player
- A ball may be hit with any part of the body, with no exceptions
- This includes pelvic thrusts, kicking and heading.
- A ball may be hit a maximum of three (3) times in a row by players on the same team.
- The server must stand behind the Quarter mark on his side of the court to serve
- No player may touch a ball that is on the other side of the net, unless contact is made with the ball above or equal to a standard 45 degree heiling position.
- A Ball is considered out of play if it goes past the quarter mark, or outside normal regulation area of a Tennis Court
- If on a serve the ball does not land in the playing area a fault occurs, if two faults occur in a row a point is given to the non-serving team. If a team is a single point away from winning they can not win on a double fault and the serving team is subtracted a point.
- If a Server hits the ball out of play it is considered a fault. If a server has two faults in a row, the opposing team is awarded one point.
- If a Server attempts to hit the ball, but misses, it is not counted as a fault
Additional Classic Vennis Rules
- After every 5 Games, the teams switch sides, a volley then occurs to determine possession.
- If a player makes a return that is so improbable that even the other team is impressed, it is called a "style point" and counts for 2 points. Points gained by this rule are rare. A style point usually occurs durring a return involving a pelvic thrust, bicycle kick, or headbutt. The opposing team must agree to the style point. The first invocation of the style point rule was made by Joe Piemonte in March 2006 after an impressive pelvic thrust over the net.
The Vennis Court
Vennis is usually played on a traditional solid surface Tennis Court. Vennis may also be played on a traditional volleyball court, but this is not considered as being regulation vennis.
Known Vennis Courts
- Original courts on Albuquerque Road, Litchfield, NH.
- Vennis is also played in parts of Massachusetts.
- The University of Connecticut in Storrs is home to a brand new complex of Vennis courts.