Dear Sean,
My 7 year old son is asking me how to play so I have read over your website (thank you for the information by the way). The only question I couldn't answer was "how do you hit the ball during the game" (not in the serve)? Can you use one hand, two hands, open fist, closed fist, etc... - Nicole, 9/11/2008

Hello, Nicole. Thanks for the note. I think I can give you a pretty good answer about our hitting rules.

Here at the Boston league, players hit the ball with any part of their hand from below the wrist to the end of the finger. Much like classic volleyball the hit may be with one hand or two hands as long as both hands strike the ball at the same time. The ball must also be hit only once per player, and at no time are players allowed to hold, catch or carry the ball.

So, if you can make a fist and punch or hammer the ball then you can really pick up some velocity. This is great for spikes and hard hits with adults who are playing for keeps. This might not be appropriate for your 7 year old son and the mixed age group he is playing against.

If you read over the answers to some of the other letters I get then you will see that I advise (heavily) that you scale the rules so they are the most fun and safe for the age or skill of the players. If you want to reduce the number of scraped knees, bruised cheeks, and smashed windows then you could set the rules that there are no closed-fist hits until your kid turns 12 (when theoretically he has a more refined muscle control and a better appreciation of sportsmanship).

But you know, there is a lot to be said for letting little kids pummel each other with playground equipment. I personally believe it builds character for days down the road when we eventually take a beating from bullies, frat boys, bosses, doctors, and eventually our own children. Just saying...