Ringball: rules, gameplay, and more

Ringball is similar to basketball and has been played for over a century. Originally emerging in South Africa, it is now promoted all over the continent as well as in India and some other countries and is well on its way to being established an international sport.

The rules

Both men and women can play this non-contact sport. Not unlike netball, you can play it on grass, indoors, and in all weather conditions.

The court is divided into three sections. There are three center players, three goal scorers, and three defense players on a team. The goal is to shoot the ball through the hoop or ring of the post after throwing the ball from one player to another. The two posts are at each end of the court.

Teams have 9 players on each side, with three playing per court section. The players may not touch ground in sections next to each other or receive the ball over the lines separating the sections.

You have to catch the ball with your hands as it’s passed through the air. It should touch no other body part. You can’t move forward or backward, hold the ball for more than 2 seconds, or feint a pass.

You can try to score from outside the semicircle and from any spot in the goal section. You must use both hands when shooting a goal. You must try to shoot within 5 seconds from the time you have the ball in your hands.

Any of the three shooters can try to score from any position outside the goal circle when a penalty goal has been awarded. You must attempt a penalty goal within 3 seconds.

You’re not allowed to try to gain possession of the ball by snatching or hitting it while your opponent holds it. You also can’t push away, hold, or otherwise try to keep your opponent from passing the ball.

Two members of the same team can’t touch or hold the ball at the same time.

A double fault is when members of both teams commit a transgression at once. If this happens, the referee tosses the ball into the air between two members of opposing teams at the location where the transgression took place. They then try to get it by catching or hitting it as it starts coming down.

Each ringball match has two halves of 25 minutes each with a break of three minutes between the two. After a goal is scored, the center player faces his goalpost, standing in the half circle. He must pass the ball to a wing in two seconds at the blow of the whistle.

The winner is the team with the highest score at the end of the match.

Ringball rules

The ball

The sport is played using a ball made of leather or synthetic material. You can’t play with rubber balls.

The court

The game is played on a court of 27 m x 18 m. Each section is 9 m x 18 m. There is a steel ring at the top of each goalpost, the diameter of which is 450 mm. The ring has to be 3 m up from the ground. You draw a semicircle with a 4.5 radius with the goalpost as pivot. You draw two half circles with a diameter of 1 m and a circle of 1 m in diameter at the middle of the center section. You also draw two “V”-lines with legs of 1 m on either side of the center circle.

No trees, steps, fences, light poles, walls, wires, or other obstacles should be present within a distance of 1,5 m around the court.

The sport can be played on grass, gravel, etc. It must have an even surface. Gravel courts must be well-compacted and free of grass. Experts recommend slip-free all-weather courts. If small adjustments are made, netball courts can be used.

All lines must be marked in yellow or white clearly. They must be 25 mm – 50 mm wide. The goalposts must have a diameter of 75 – 90 mm and be of 3 m circular steel pipes. They should be in the center of the 18 m external line in a vertical position.

A number 5 ball should be able to pass through the nets. Yellow or white nylon nets should be used. If the net is too tight, the ball can be shot out.

Ringball court

The players

When the game starts, at least eight members of a team must be present. Anyone who arrives late can join with the referee’s permission and when the ball is out of play.

A team cannot play with seven players or fewer once the game has started. If two or more members of the same team are disqualified during the match, the other team wins automatically.

The referee gives players permission to leave the court. They may not otherwise. At any point in the game, up to three players of a team may be replaced.

A player who suffers an injury, but wants to keep playing does not have to be replaced. The game continues with eight players while he gets treatment.

If an injured or sick player is unable to keep playing, he may be replaced immediately. A disqualified player may not be replaced.

Any player who starts bleeding for whatever reason must leave the game at once and can be replaced. If he wants to rejoin and the bleeding has stopped, he may do so with the permission of the referee. A replacement will be used if the player does not return within five minutes.

If a serious injury occurs, the player must be given time for medical treatment on court or be removed. This time is added to the respective half.

Ringball player positions

The time

Play continues if there’s a tie during semi-final and final games. This is ten minutes on a side excluding half-time. It may occur that after this time, there’s still a tie. In this case, the referee throws the ball up at the center circle. Whichever team scores first wins.

The game is ended when a goal is scored or the ball is removed from play when the time of play has run out.

Additional time taken that is seen as intentional time wasting is punished. The following are seen as time wasting among others:

  • Tossing the ball away
  • Taking too much time to prepare for game restart
  • Changing clothes, shoes
  • Replacements in case of voluntary substitution or injury

The referee

The referee must be a qualified neutral person. He may only blow the whistle after a goal is scored, to begin or end the match, when a rule is broken, or when the ball goes out of play.

The referee’s decision is final. He is responsible for ensuring the game progresses in an orderly manner, enforcing the rules and regulating the game, and making sure the ball and the court are suitable for playing with/on.

Ultimately, he is responsible for the score and time and his decision is final after consulting with the scorekeepers on these elements. During the game, he must verify the time with the linesman.

You may only submit an appeal against a referee’s decision on the grounds of favoritism, incompetence, and/or prejudice.

During the break, the referee must verify the score. His score is accepted if it differs from those of two scorekeepers. If those two scores are the same, the scorekeepers’ score is adopted after consultation.

The score: details

Each goal brings the scoring player’s team 2 points. The same amount is awarded for a successful penalty goal. A penalty goal is awarded at the first intentional offense and may be attempted from any position outside the goal circle.

If another intentional offense occurs, another penalty is awarded. The offender gets a yellow card. A third offense gets him a red card and a 5 minute disqualification.

The referee may issue a warning, a yellow card, or a red card even after a goal has been scored.

Three points are given if the goal shooter makes a successful penalty shot from behind the penalty line. The player may choose to do that.


Apart from the referee, the officials at a match are two responsible scorekeepers and a linesman. There is one scorekeeper per team. They must present to the referee before the game starts. They don’t exchange team scorecards and keep scores independently.

The linesman must help the referee with time keeping. He also assists him by indicating when the ball is out of play. He stands on the opposite side of the court. He also indicate which team must put the ball into play and where.

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