The Compleat Rules of Stepball


Version 0.3, May 2014


1.1 Equipment

1.2 Participants


Catch the ball in the opponent’s end zone to score a point. First team to X points wins


Initial possession of the ball is determined randomly (coin flip or rock-paper-scissors).

The player with the ball starts at the center of the field. All other players position themselves anywhere on the field. All players must stay two arm lengths away from the ballhandler to start.

If the field is very small, play can start at the opposite end line rather than at center field.


4.1 Stepping

The referee calls out “STEP.” When STEP is called, all players except the ballhandler take one step in any direction. Players must all step at the same time (more or less).

Steps can be jumps or leaps (both feet can leave the ground).

If a player hesitates and does not step in time, they lose the step and must return to where they were.

4.2 Throwing

After players step, the referee calls out “THROW.” The ballhandler throws the ball to a teammate.

During the throw, players can pivot and stretch as they like in order to catch or block the ball, but everyone must keep one foot planted.

The ball can be bounced or rolled.

The ball must leave the thrower’s hands before being caught by the receiver. No handoffs.

The receiving player’s planted foot must be in bounds.

If the ball is caught, play continues, STEP-THROW-STEP-THROW, until a goal is scored or possession is lost.

4.3 Defending

When the ball is thrown, opposing players can block or intercept the ball.

Once a player catches the ball, it’s caught – a defender cannot knock the ball out of a player’s hands.

Since players must keep one foot planted during the throwing phase, they cannot jump to catch or block the ball.

4.4 Turnovers

If the ball is not caught by the ballhandler’s teammate, possession switches: the player on the other team that is closest to the ball moves to the ball, picks it up, and becomes the new ballhandler.

When possession changes, the new ballhandler is the only player that moves. Everyone else stays in place until the next STEP.

If the ball goes out of bounds, it is inbounded from the point at the edge of the field where it went out.

If a defender blocks the ball by swatting it, they become the new ballhandler, even if another teammate is closer to where the ball stops.

4.5 Scoring

If the ball is successfully thrown caught in the other team’s end zone, the team scores one point.

The receiving player must be in the end zone. Catching the ball beyond the end zone is considered out of bounds and results in a turnover.

After a point is scored, possession switches to the other team, and everyone resets – the new ballhandler takes the ball to the center, and all players can position themselves freely.

5. END

The game ends when one teams scores X points.

More Info

General info about Stepball.

Working document and experimental rules.

Game designed by Floor Is Lava.