Dear Sean
I am sure you have heard this one before. I just started playing again recently with my children and the game brings me back to my childhood. What I have noticed is that there are a lot of new variations/rules that have come out from the newer generations. I don't really care about those too much as I have tried to keep "old school" rules in effect at home. With that being said, I do have 2 questions about 4 square that I am not sure on and my children and I disagree on. Hopefully, you can help.

Here goes:

  1. When a ball is hit to you, does it have to bounce in your square before you return it or can you hit it in air to another square?
  2. This is in regards to the "inside-out" rule, I understand that if you hit the ball and it hits the inside line that connects your square to the person you are hitting it to but what if you hit the ball and it lands on the line between two other players and not one of your own? Is that person still out or does play just continue

Thanks, Rob.

Hi Rob,

I have been getting a lot of questions like these lately, so I finally published the updated rule language I had been meaning to get to (its our off-season right now).

Check them out here:

The skinny is here:

  1. You can hit it in the air, but once it hits the floor only one person can hit it next.
  2. All inside lines are out, not just the ones bordering your square. It's your job to hit it right, not let two other people argue about whose square the ball was more inside - catch my drift?

The idea is to keep the rules as clear as possible and reduce as much confusion as possible. It's good for kids to spend time playing the game rather then arguing about the rules - and less headaches for the parents.

kids have made up the "save rule" in my school and its annoying. is it legal to do this?:
when person a gets the ball out of bounds person b can hit it back into the game therefore the round continues

HAHA, this is kinda funny cause we did the same thing.

here's how we did it here:
if it is bouncing through your square, a player can reach out and save you to keep you in the game. this can be a good tactic if the server is a dominating player as it provide alittle bit of two-on-one action. However, it can blow up as fake outs ensue, as well "jerk moves" as they save you just to set up another player for a huge move to knock you out.


In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I don't see a problem with the 'save' rule if while the ball is in the air the ball passes bounds and player b knocks it back into bounds and the game continues. However; two things--number one, if the ball hits the ground then it is out of play and the offender is out and number two, players are allowed to move around inside the whole game square only therefor, if player b steps outside of the game square and hits the ball back in then the offense moves to player b and he or she is now out. A clarification, if the player hits the ball back in, stumbles and catches themselves with his or her hands outside of the game square then he or she is still in, but if they step out, then they are out.
-Daniel Bacon
Program Director and Game Keeper at River of Life Camp)

It is a great game to play with your children, but you shouldn't let your competitive side get the better of you. Everyone should still enjoy it. If you can't play nice, just go for thunderstruck 2 instead.