We don’t know who invented sepak takraw, but whoever it was must have been a masochist gymnast. This may just be the most entertaining sport you’ve never heard of, and we need to see it on an Olympic stage ASAP.
If soccer and volleyball had a baby (as if they aren’t hard enough on their own), it would be sepak takraw, and it would be (and is) insane. Sepak takraw takes the hard parts of volleyball (the high net, small court and the rule that the ball must remain in the air) and the hard part of soccer (precise ball control without your hands) and combines them into a sport that looks far too difficult to be possible.
Basically you’re playing volleyball with your feet, and the ball isn’t the only thing that’s airborne. The insane jumps and flips that are performed by the players may just be the best part of watching this high-energy and seemingly impossible game.
Still with us, kinda? Good. Read on…
How it started
You may have never heard of it but sepak takraw is huge in Asia, and has been played for centuries. It’s unclear where it originated but it has deep and strong roots in a number of Southeast-Asian countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.
The name “sepak takraw” comes from a combination of the Malay word for ‘kick’ and the Thai name of the ball used in play. The sport has huge tournaments across Asia and its popularity is slowly but surely spreading all across the globe.
- Sepak takraw is typically played on a court with two three-player teams on each side
- Similar to volleyball, the object of the game is to hit the ball onto the other side of the court so that it can’t be returned by your opponent and hits the floor; doing so earns you a point
- A game is usually a best-of-three sets, with a set being won by a score of 21 points
- The ball used is much smaller than a volleyball and is typically made of woven rattan or rubber
- Similar to soccer, any part of the body can be used to hit the ball except for the hands or arms
- Similar to volleyball, the ball cannot hit the floor and each team has three hits to try and get the ball back over the net
- Also similar to volleyball, the ball must be served over the net at the beginning of each point-attempt
A high kick
Performing the horse kick while jumping
A sunback spike performed with a flip
Hitting the ball with the inside of your foot
Hitting the ball with your thigh
Hitting the ball with your forehead
Team Thailand is currently ranked number 1 in both men’s and women’s sepak takraw for the ISTAF World Cup. Thai players are also known for perfecting some of the most challenging moves in the game.
To learn more about sepak takraw, visit the official website and prepare to be wowed.