The International Roundnet Federation (IRF) is the highest sanctioning authority and world governing body for the sport of roundnet, often also referred to as Spikeball. The sport is classified as a net sport and features aspects of volleyball and Four Square. Relatively new, it was created in 1989, but started to lose popularity nearly five years later because of outdated equipment. The game experienced a boost in 2008 when Spikeball Inc., based in the USA, began to promote it and manufacture equipment that was more modern and appealing to athletes.
The most frequent way to play the game is between four players, but a match can also feature two or six players. What makes roundnet so popular with all age groups is that a match can be set up relatively anywhere, which makes beaches, urban parks, and sports fields popular areas. The equipment consists of a round object that resembles a trampoline with netting stretched across the middle. The ball is soft and is approximately 3.8 inches in diameter.
The most common version of the game is played between two teams of two. The four players are positioned around the net at specific points. A player serves the ball across the net to an opponent, who then has three hits to return the ball to the net. The serve is from a specific position, but after that players can move about anywhere around the net to set up an opportunity to spike the ball onto the net. Play will continue until a player fails to return the ball to the net or the return hits the rim. The point then goes to the winning side.
With relatively low-cost to implement and the all-round appeal as a family or competitive sport, Roundnet has the potential to become a truly global sport. IRF was set up on the Olympic model with the purpose of bringing a unified international organization to the sport, that includes managing development worldwide. The federation also oversees competitions, including the flagship event of the World Championships.