Four square

Four square
Four square court.jpg
The layout of a four square court.
Players 4 minimum
Setup time < 5 minutes
Skill(s) required Manual dexterity
Social skills

Four square, also known as squareball, boxball, and in Canada, champ, is a ball game played among four individuals on a square court divided into quadrants. It is a popular playground game with little required equipment, almost no setup, and short rounds of play that can be ended at any time.



Four square is usually played with a rubber playground ball on a square court with four maximum players, depending on the rules (Big Four Square, Six Square, etc.). The object of four square is to eliminate one of the four players in order to advance to the highest position on the court, which is known as "the king" or "the queen". The ball is hit between players' squares until a player is eliminated.

The court

Four square is played on any hard surfaced court, such as wood or asphalt, with boundaries measuring 36' by 36' at a max (this is only an estimate). The court may be extended. The court is divided into four smaller squares each 18' by 18' at a max. Each of the four squares has a rank and is occupied by a single player. The ranks are arranged so that either the highest ranking square is positioned diagonally across the court from the lowest ranking square or the ranks increase as one moves clockwise.

The lines on the court are boundaries. The interior lines separating player squares are out of bounds. The ball may not touch any portion of an inside line or the player who hit the ball is in error. The lines marking the outermost edges of the court are considered in-bounds. If a ball lands on or touches the inside lines then the game ends and the last person to touch the ball is eliminated.[1]

The ball

Four square is played with an 8.5" rubber playground ball inflated to 22 lbs. During regular play, the ball must be hit with the player's hands only.

The ball must be struck once and for a single instant only. Carrying, catching, or holding the ball during play is not allowed. Prolonged contact with the ball can give players unfair control over the play. kicking the ball must create a perceptible change in the ball's velocity (speed or direction) to be legal.[1]


Players may be eliminated from the court because of errors or fouls they commit. Eliminated players leave the court, the remaining players move up to the next highest square, and a new player joins the court in the lowest square. Eliminated players wait in line for their next turn.

  • Failing to hit the ball into another square
  • Hitting the ball out of turn
  • Hitting the ball incorrectly
  • Hitting the ball out of bounds
  • Holding, catching or carrying the ball
  • Violating any number of local rules that are made up on the playground
  • Missing the ball from another player
  • Letting the ball drop twice on a player's own square

In casual games, the highest ranking player may modify the game's rules at the beginning of each round. Many modifications either expand or constrain the legal methods of ball handling. Children refer to these modifications with elaborate local and regional nomenclatures: e.g., double-taps, underhand-only, blackjack, and bus-stop.[2] Children have also played with "unfriendly" and "friendly" moves.[citation needed]


There are a number of commonly agreed terms for 4square.

  • Airbourne, hitting the ball with your hand and making it go into another square without it bouncing in your first, resulting in being out
  • Into, players going into others squares, resulting in either a play on or Replay
  • Re-Serve, foul serve
  • Re-Play, a case of unclear situation in which 2 serves
  • Interference, a term when another person interrupts the game, for example, walking through the court

Game scalability

Four square is a popular game for children and school playgrounds. It is important to scale the game's difficulty and supervision appropriately for different age groups and ability levels. Schools, churches and camps often change the size of the court, the type of ball, or aspects of the rules to best suit the players' abilities.

Tournaments and competitions

Some groups have developed rules for tournament-style play. Squarefour and The International 4-Square League both use systems of scoring that give numbers or averages to players over time, while other groups use an elimination or double elimination system.

World championships

The Four Square World Championships, a competitive adult four square tournament, take place in Bridgton, Maine, USA, each winter season. Peter Lowell of the Lakes Environmental Association hosts this annual fundraiser each winter to support the environmental work done in the lakes region of Maine, USA. This competition draws athletes from the USA and Canada, and has registered competitors from Israel to Bermuda. As of February 26, 2011 (2011 -02-26),[3] the titles are held by:

  • 2011 Div I Men's World Champion, Marc Hirsh, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA
  • 2011 Div I Women's World Champion, Christina Laverentz, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA
  • 2011 Div II Men's World Champion, Tom Tivoli, Maine, USA
  • 2011 Div II Women's World Champion, Sue Grodberg, Malden, Massachusetts, USA
  • 2011 Judges Choice, Sydney Adams, Granville, Massachusetts, USA
  • 2011 Audience Choice Award, Matt Eckhardt, Philadeplhia, Pennsylvania, USA
  • 2011 Team Award, Raging Narwhals, Biddeford, Maine, USA
  • 2013 World Champion, Mangy Moose, Richmond, KY

(Division I includes ages 13 through 39. Division II includes ages 4 and up.)

Prior world championships have been held on January 29, 2005, January 28, 2006, February 3, 2007, February 16, 2008, February 28, 2009, February 27, 2010,[4][5] and February 26, 2011.

  • 1987 Floyd Fisher of Champaign, Illinois outlasted 124 others to win the World 4 Square Championship in Oslo, Norway

World record

On February 25 and 26 2011, 15 Manchester College students played the game for 30 hours to break the world record.[6] The world record was previously held by eight Argentinean players for 29 hours in 2008.


Downball is an Australian variation of four square played throughout Australian schooling institutions. It is played on courts usually consisting of 4–6 squares, in which each player occupies one square at a time. The game is played with a tennis ball, which is served by the player in the "king" or "ace" square. The object of the game is for the player to navigate their way to the "king" square by eliminating opponents. Eliminating opponents can be achieved in the following ways:

  • A player fails to touch a ball as it bounces through their square
  • A player touches the ball twice in their own square
  • A player hits the ball and it bounces twice in their own square (This of course include a serve from the "king or "ace")
  • A player hits the ball into another square without first bouncing in their own square (This is known colloquially as a "straight" or "full")
  • A player hits the ball and it proceeds to roll through their square or another players square. (Naturally, this is known as "rolls" because of the rolling nature of the ball)
  • A player hits the ball and it lands out of the boundaries of the court
  • Interfering with other players or the ball

See also

  • Russian foursquare


  1. ^ a b Official Rules of Four Square. (2004-09-10). Retrieved on 2011-06-18.
  2. ^ Monstrous Collection of Cool Rules. (2010-02-23). Retrieved on 2011-06-18.
  3. ^ Nearly 100 players compete in Four Square World meet. Sun Journal (2011-02-27). Retrieved on 2011-06-18.
  4. ^ World Champion of Four Square Crowned in Maine (Video) – New England Spotlight. (2010-03-02). Retrieved on 2011-06-18.
  5. ^ The Four Square World Championships attract a competitive and creative field of players to the annual gathering in Maine. – ESPN. (2010-03-04). Retrieved on 2011-06-18.
  6. ^ Manchester College students try to break a World Record to raise money for church camp – CNN iReport. (2011-02-25). Retrieved on 2011-06-18.

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • four-square — four square1 also foursquare [ˈfo:skweə US ˈfo:rskwer] adj 1.) a building that is four square is strongly built and square in shape 2.) BrE old use firm and determined four square 2 four square2 adv also foursquare 1.) if you stand four square… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • four|square — «adjective, adverb. FR SKWAIR, FOHR ; noun. FR SKWAIR, FOHR », adjective, adverb, noun. –adj. 1. = square. (Cf. ↑square) 2. frank; outspoken. 3. not yielding; firm. –adv. 1. in a square form …   Useful english dictionary

  • four-square — also foursquare 1) ADJ: v link ADJ prep To stand four square behind someone or something means to be firm in your support of that person or thing. They stood four square behind their chief, and they would not accept pressure on him to resign...… …   English dictionary

  • Four Square — (aus dem Englischen, vier Quadrate) ist ein Ballspiel, das vier Spieler auf einem quadratischen Spielfeld mit einem Gymnastikball spielen. Es ist in den USA ein beliebtes Schulhofspiel, da kaum Material benötigt wird, beliebig viele Spieler am… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • four-square — 1 adjective 1 a building that is four square is solidly and plainly built, and square in shape 2 especially BrE firm and determined 2 adverb firmly: standing four square in the hallway …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • four-square — I UK / US adverb firmly and definitely The responsibility lies four square with the government. II UK / US adjective square in shape, with four equal sides …   English dictionary

  • four-square — adjective 1》 (of a building) having a square shape and solid appearance. 2》 firm and resolute. adverb in a four square manner …   English new terms dictionary

  • four square — noun A sport played by four players where players have to hit a ball into other peoples squares, and attempt to make a return hit …   Wiktionary

  • four square — steadfast; frank, outspoken …   English contemporary dictionary

  • four-square — adv firmly, squarely, resolutely, solidly, frankly, honestly …   Useful english dictionary

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