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Sports Rules & Facts

Sports Rules List – Outline Sports Rules for Popular Sports

Sports rules governing the size of the playing surface, the sports equipment, the number of players, the length of a game and how the scoring works all seem arbitrary and no doubt evolved as each game become popular enough for the rules to be written down. Here are the basic sports rules including videos which explain the rules for some of the most popular sports played around the world today.

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Sports RulesPlaying SurfaceSports EquipmentTeamGame LengthScoring
American Football rules
Lawn: 120 x 50 m, divided into 5m and 10m zones, goal width: up to 7.2mEgg-shaped ball, range 71 x 54cm, weight: 400g2 x 11 players4 x 12 minMost points wins
(touchdown 6 points, goal 3 points)
Badminton sports rules13.4 x 5.18m (single) 13.4 x 6.1m (double), net height up to 1.55mRacket & Shuttlecock: 14-16 feathers, weight: 4.73 to 5.5gSingles, doubles, mixedVariable according to setsSet up to 15 points
Baseball rulesSquare. Side length: 27,45m, distance from pitcher to batsman: 18mBall, Ø7.4cm, circumference 23cm
Bat, Ø7cm, length 107cm
2 x 9 players2 x 9 innings per teamMost home runs scored wins
Basketball rules28 x 15m
Basket height: 3.05m
Ball, circumference 72-78cm, weight: 510-650g2 x 5 players
+5 substitutes per team
USA 4 x 12 mins
UK 4 x 10 mins
Most baskets scored wins
Beach Volleyball rules
Sand court: 8 x 16m (26.25′ x 52.5′), net height: 2.44m (8ft) for men, 2.24m (7’4″) for womenBall, circumference 66-68cm, weight: 260-280g2 x 2 playersVariable according to setsSet up to 21 points, 3rd set up to 15. Each team is allowed up to 3 touches before ball is returned over net.
Lawn Bowls (UK) rulesRectangular, level manicured grass (the “green”). Separate playing strips (“rinks”) 31-40m longBiased ball weighing ca. 1.5kg, mat 600 x 360mm, jack (small white ball, the target)Singles or teams of 2-4First to score 21 shots or after 21/25 “ends” of play
Pool sports rules
Table: 2.54 x 1.27m, 14 colored, 1 white and 1 black ball.Balls Ø57mm, circumference up to 22cm, weight: 170g, cue length: around 1.5mSingles, doublesFirst player to sink all spotted or striped (or red & yellow) balls then the black 8 ball wins
Bowling rulesLane length: 18.3 m, run up: 4.75m, lane width: 1.5 mBall: circumference 21.6cm, weight: up to 7.257kg, 10 pins: 1.35 to 1.64 kgSingles, doubles, teamsNo time limitHighest number of pins knocked down wins
Cricket rules
Oval grass field: Ø100-140m, pitch: 20m x 3m wideBall, circumference: 22cm, weight: 156-163g, bat: 85cm long2 x 11 players1-2 innings per teamHighest number of runs scored wins
Curling sports rules


Ice Rink: 45.7 x 5m, circular target (house): 1.83m radiusRound stone, circumference: 910cm, weight: 17-20kg2 x 4 players, each player with 2 stonesVariablePoints for each stone closer to centre circle than opponents to win end. Most ends won wins
Discus Throw rulesCompetition facility: throwing circle: Ø2.50m, launch angle: 35-37°Discus weight 2kg (men), 1kg (women), circumference 18cm (women) to 22cm (men)Singles
Greatest distance after 6 throws
Ice Hockey rulesIce surface: 60 x 30m, goal width: 1.83m, goal height: 1.22mPuck, Ø7.62cm, weight: 170g, club length: 1.35m2 x 6 players
+ 9 substitutes per team
3 x 20 minMost goals scored wins
Figure Skating rulesIce rink. Jumps include salchow, toe loop, loop jumps, flip, Lutz and AxelRunners on skates: 3-4mm wideSingles, pair and synchronous skatingShort program up to 2:50 mins and Freestyle program up to 4 minsJudging panel marks technical and artistic merit
Football / Soccer Rules
Pitch: 105 x 68m, goal width: 7.32m, goal height: 2.44m
most goals scored wins
Ball, circumference 68-71cm, weight: 396-453g2 x 11 players
+3 substitutes per team
2 x 45 minsMost goals scored wins
Golf rulesGolf course with 9/18 holes up to 500m longBall: Ø41mm, circumference 12.6cm, weight: 45-48g, 5-14 clubs (tradition wooden, steel or modern composite materials)Individual or teamVariableFewest strokes to complete course (hole out) wins
Hammer Throw rulesThrowing circle Ø2.13m, launch angle: 44°Hammer weight: 4kg (women) to 7.26kg (men)SinglesGreatest distance after six throws wins
Handball rulesHall: 40 x 20m, goal width: 3m, goal height: 2mBall, circumference: 58-60cm, weight up to 475g, (women: 54-56cm, 400g)2 x 7 players
+5 substitutes per team
2 x 30 minsMost goals scored wins
Hockey rulesLawn: 91.4 x 55m, goal width: 3.66m, goal height: 2.14mBall, circumference: 22.4 to 23.5cm, weight: 156-163g, stick: 340-794g2 x 11 players
+2 substitutes per team
2 x 35 minsMost goals scored wins
Nine-Pin Bowling (Skittles) rulesLane length: 23,5m, starting lane: 5.5m, lane width: 1.7mBall: Ø16cm, weight: 2.8 to 3.15kg, 9 skittles: 1.85kgSingles, doubles, teamsNo time limitMost skittles knocked down, plus bonus points wins
Shot Put rulesThrowing circle: Ø2.13m, launch angle: 37-41°Ball Ø95-130 mm, ball weight: 4kg (women) to 7.26kg (men)SinglesGreatest distance after six throws wins
Polo rulesField: 274 x 192m, goal width: 7.20m, goal height not specifiedBall Ø7-8cm circumference: 22-25cm, weight 130g, club length from 1.29 to 1.37m2 x 4 players
+3-4 reserve horses per team
4-8 Chukka, each 7½ minutesMost goals scored wins
Roller Hockey rulesSurface: 20 x 40m, goal width: 1.55m, goal height: 1.05mBall Ø23cm, 155g weight, club length: 91-115cm2 x 5 players
+2 substitutes per team
2 x 25 minutesMost goals scored wins
Rugby (Union) rulesPitch 100 x 70m, 2 H-shaped goals: width 5.6m, cross bar 3m high
most points scored wins
Egg-shaped ball, 28-30cm long, weight: 400-440g2 x 15 players2 x 40 minsMost points wins
(5 for a try plus 2 for a “conversion”. 3 for a penalty kick or drop goal
Softball sports rulesField: 18 x 65m, distance from pitcher to batter (pitcher bat): 13mBall, circumference: 30.5cm, bats thinner and lighter than in baseball2 x 9 players2 x 9 innings per teamMost home runs wins
Javelin sports rulesCompetition facility, starting track: 30 to 36.5m, launch angle: 34-36°Javelin weight 600g (women) to 800g (men), length 2.20 to 2.30m (women), 2.70 to 2.80m (men)SinglesLongest distance after six throws wins
Show Jumping rulesCourse with a minimum of 7-11 obstacles outdoors or 6-10 in the hallObstacles up to 1.60m high, 2m wide, moats up to 4.50m wideIndividually and in teams4 penalty points for knocked down obstacles +1 time penalty point per 4 second delay
Squash rulesEnclosed rectangular court: 9.75 x 6.4m, height: 5.5mBall, circumference: 12.5cm, weight: 23.3 to 24.6g, racket length: up to 68.5cmSingles or doublesVariable according to setsSet up to 9 (singles) or 15 points
Pole Vault rulesRunway length: 45m, width: 1.22m, pole length: 4.50mPole weight 35-100kg, length 3.25 to 5.20m. Varies according to size and weight of athletesSingles3 attempts per height
5cm increase per jump minimum
Highest height jumped wins
Tennis rulesSingle: 23.77 x 8.23m, Doubles: 23.77 x 10.97m, net height: 91.5cmBall Ø6.35 to 6.67cm, circumference up to 21cm, weight up to 58.47g, racket length up to 73.7cm, weight 350gSingles, doubles, mixed, teamsVariable according to setsSet up to 6 or 7 games
Table Tennis rulesTable: 1.525m wide, 2.74m long, 76cm high, net height: 15.25cmCelluloid ball Ø40mm, weight 2.5g, racket around 16cm wide, covering depth max. 4mmSingles, doubles, mixed, teams3 or 4 setsSet up to 11 points
Volleyball rulesHall: 9 x 9m, net height: 2.43m for men, 2.24m for womenBall, circumference: 65-67cm, weight: 260-280g2 x 6 players + 6 substitutes per teamVariable according to setsSet up to 25 points
Water Polo rules
Pool: 30 x 20m, 1.8m deep, goal width: 3m, goal height: 0.9mBall, circumference: 68-71cm, weight: 400-450g2 x 7 players
+4 substitutes per team
4 x 7 minutesMost goals scored wins

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