Dear Sean,

If the ball is coming straight at you in the air and it has not yet bounced in your square, is it legal to allow the ball to bounce off your body or hands into your own square once before hitting it into another person's square? Also, are you allowed to cross over the inside lines and go into another person's square in pursuit of a play or must you remain in your own square? It would appear by watching the videos of championships that anyone can be outside the outside lines near their square but I am wondering about the inside lines because of interfering with another's play. Is there a regulation size to the court? One last thing, does the ball have to bounce in a square once or can you hit it in the air into someone else's square?

I remember playing these rules years ago when I learned four square but haven't seen it specifically addressed on any of the sites I've checked. Since I taught my grandkids how to play and we have heated four square matches at our family get-togethers, I really wanted to see if there are any "official" rules. One site suggests that you can pretty much make up your own rules and the person in the serving square has the option to change the rules during his time in the square but this sounds confusing to me considering how fast the positions change.

Thanks for your help

Listen, Jean, our rules are about as official as they get. This website has gone a long way to creating a standard and that is nothing to sneeze at, but it's still a kid's game and it's open to interpretation when you play at home.

Our rules page covers the standard court size we set for our league and lots of other people have adopted it. It's a good size for adults, but you might choose to do something smaller for little kids.

I hear the question about hitting the ball "in the air" a lot. This one is covered by the possession section of our rules. The skinny is that if the ball has been hit by another player then other players don't have to wait for it to land before they hit it next. However, if anyone does hit it that way, they had better be sure that the ball is hit into another player's square or else they are out. In fact, anyone who hits a ball out of the air had better hit it correctly, like, with their hands, into a square, not onto an inside line, not out of bounds, etc. Once you hit it, you own it.

Next, there are no rules on where you can or cannot stand during the game. But we find that it is foolish to leave your square unprotected. If you find people are aggressively interfering with another person's play then you could make up your own rules about it.

I hope that covers what you needed to know. Good luck at your next family outing, and maybe we'll see you guys at the World Champs in Feb.