Several years ago in Germany, we were introduced to a fun game called Indiaca. The corner of Germany where my family lives, Indiaca is kind of a big deal… the local team made it to the World Championships! But what is Indiaca? This hybrid of Volleyball and Badminton is played with a giant shuttlecock (sort of a flat ball with feathers on it). Think of it as Badminton without the rackets. Or Hackey-Sack with feathers (and rules). In Brazil, it is known as Peteca, in China, where it is played primarily with the feet, they call it Jianzi, but in Germany, it’s called Indiaca!
Like Volleyball or Badminton, you can play this game for fun in the yard…. split into teams, and bat the shuttlecock across the “net” to each other. (My then 4 year old liked to be the net). Since it’s small enough to take along, we pack it whenever we go to the beach, or park. This engaging game is easy enough to lure everyone in to the game.
You can play hard (in Germany, they even have a World Championship!), on a real court with strict rules.
Where Did Indiaca/Peteca Come From?
A version of Peteca seems to have been developed by the Brazilian Indians long before the arrival of the Portuguese. The game was so much fun, that it was adopted by the new settlers.
The game spread in 1920 at the Antwerp Olympic Games. The Portuguese athletes used Petaca as a warm up for their other events. Athletes from around the world saw it, and took it home with them. (Can’t you see it… a bunch of athletes having fun with a feathered ball, and the others all gather around wanting to play too.)
In the 1940′s the game left the sand and grass, and became a sport played on a court with strict rules, much like volleyball or badminton. Different countries have slight variations (for example, in Germany you play 5 on a side, and in Brazil, you play 2 on a side). Using hands, feet, shoulders, legs and arms are all legal for getting the ball over the net.
Where ever you play, on a beach, in the yard, or on a court, it is a fun game for men and women of all ages.
Indiaca Basic Rules of Play
How do you play Indiaca?
Mostly, we would take the Indiaca into the backyard, split into teams, and bat it back and forth to each other using hands or feet. It’s a simple, low tech toy that is fun for the whole family.
Divide into sides… and hit the “Ball/Shuttlecock” back and forth…
You can use hands, arms, feet, legs or even head. Any body part can hit it.
You could even create your own variations where you just hit in in a circle and see how long you can keep the Indiaca in the air.
My big kids played against my Uncle… the little one would hop between them, pretending to be a net.
Basic Rules for Competitive Peteca/ Indiaca
So…. you want to play hard?
You need a court… approximately 8 yards wide by 16 yards deep, divided by a net that is around 2 3/4 high.
Depending on the Country, your team can have 2 players (like Brazil) or 5 players (like Germany).
Serve from the back of the court, there is no rotation.
A team is entitled to hit the ball three times (in addition to the block contact) to return it to the opponent`s court.
A Match is 3 Games to 12 points, best 2 of 3 wins.
Only the serving team can score.
If the Shuttlecock hits the net, and falls over, the play is good. If the Shuttlecock hits the net, and land on side that hit it… play is lost.
Service is decided by a coin toss…. sides are changed after 6 points.
For the second game, the teams start on the same side as they did for the first. If a third game is needed, a coin is tossed again.
Ready to Play?
You can Buy an Indiaca Schuttlecock HERE
Good Rule to Remember….Don’t Play with the Dog
We brought our Indiaca ‘ball’ home to the States from Germany a few years ago. Our yard is just large enough to have a decent game. So, we split up to teams… and use a bench as our “net”. Fun!!
The dog thinks it’s great fun too….. He goes tearing back and forth, trying to capture the Indiaca…. it becomes an added degree of difficulty for the players… Hit the ball, and don’t let the dog get it!
After the game, someone (he or she knows who it is…) LEFT THE SHUTTLECOCK in the yard.
And the dog found it.
Foam and feathers everywhere…..
We had to order a new one.
Other similar Shuttlecocks
The Brazilian Peteca Shuttlecock has a slightly different form, but it’s basically the same thing. All of them are great for playing Indiaca… or for a kick around in the yard and on the beach.
And they are great for foot/eye coordination for young soccer players
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You can play casually in the Yard…
Or get serious and play in the World Championships