Any rule not specifically covered will be governed in accordance with the Official 4 Square Rules.
The object of the game of four square is to eliminate players in higher squares so that you can advance to the highest square yourself. Four square is played with a rubber playground ball on a square court with four players, each occupying a quarter of the court. The ball is bounced between players in squares until someone makes an error and is eliminated. Eliminated players leave the court, all players advance to fill the empty squares, and a new player joins at the lowest ranked square
Four Square is played on an 16'x16' court.
Outside lines are in-bounds.
• If a player bounces the ball onto any outside line, it is still in play. However, if the ball bounces outside of the outside line, it is out of bounds and the player that last hit it is eliminated.
Inside lines are out-of-bounds
• If a player hits a ball onto any inside line then that player is out. This applies to ALL inside lines, not just the lines that border her square. If a ball touches an inside line, the player that hit is last is eliminated.
• The ball is always served from the highest ranked square to the lowest square. Squares one and four are positioned diagonally across the court from each other. The server must drop the ball and serve from the bounce. The ball must be allowed to bounce once in the receiving square, then the receiving player must hit the ball into another square of his or her choice. After the receiver touches the ball, the ball is in play.
• Serves are meant to place the ball fairly into play. Because the server must serve the ball the same way each time, it is the receiving player who actually controls the first move of the game.
• The receiver of the serve is allowed only one mistake on each round, we call this a fault. If the reciever of the serve hits the ball incorrectly, or fails to hit the ball inbounds, then the receiver is allowed to take a second chance. There is only one fault allowed per player per round.
• We refer to a fault as "one bad", as in one bad return. However, if a player faults the second time then it we call it "two bad". In other words, that is too bad for you.
Normal Game Play
• The player in the highest ranking square serves the ball into the lowest ranking square. After a single bounce in one square, the player must hit the ball (return) into any other legal square before it bounces again. Each time the ball is bounced in any square, that player must hit it into any other player's square (return) to stay in the game. The game continues until a player makes an error by letting the ball bounce twice, hitting the ball out of bounds or breaking a 'custom rule' (see below.)
• During the game, players must hit or touch the ball with enough force to create a change in the ball's path or trajectory. This change must be perceptible to the officials. Hits that do not change the path or trajectory of the ball will cause the offending player to be out.
Progression of Squares
• Each time a player is eliminated, that player leaves the court and all players advance to higher numbered square squares. The lowest ranked square is then filled with a new player. Eliminated players must go to the end of the line and await their next turn in play.
• There is a mechanism of possession in the game of four square, and it depends on what the ball last touched.
• When a ball has been last hit by a player, it is not in possession by anyone. Any other player may hit the ball next. In this case, players do not need to wait for the ball to hit the ground.
• However, as soon as the ball lands on a player's square, it is considered to be in possession of that player and only that player may touch the ball next. If another player touches the ball out of turn, that player is eliminated. Hitting the ball out of turn is called "Poaching". Poaching is illegal, naturally.
• These situations represent all the ways in which a player may be eliminated from the court. All eliminated players leave the court and wait for their next turn to join in the lowest square.
Players are eliminated for:
• Failing to hit the ball into another square
• Hitting the ball out of turn (poaching)
• Hitting the ball incorrectly
• Hitting the ball out of bounds or onto an inside line
• Holding, catching or carrying the ball
• Violating any number of local rules that are made up on the playground
• If the ball is touched by another object which is not one of the four players or the floor, this is called interference. The round is started again. Players waiting in line may not touch the ball when in play.