Like astronauts in orbit, the aerial gymnasts on these pages counteract the force of gravity as they volley the ball in a fast-moving new game called Space-ball. George Nissen devised the game, a combination of volleyball and basketball played on the trampoline, to put new bounce into his trampoline business. So far he has sold 250 Spaceball courts, including one to NASA for use by U.S. spacemen. The Nissen court consists of a standard 9-by-15-foot trampoline with rebound nets and canted safety backstops at either end and a steel-framed center netting, called a gantry. To play the game, players bounce high in the air and volley the ball through a basket nine feet up in the gantry. Points arc scored when an opposing player fumbles or fails to catch the ball, letting it touch the trampoline or backstop, or when the ball caroms off the rebound net into the gantry. If a rebound attempt is intercepted, the server loses a point. A game is seven points; a set, two out of three games. Faking tactics are the key to winning the game, and an experienced player will time his bounce up to serve the ball when his opponent is off-balance or on the way down, unable to field the ball. To get the jump on his opponent he uses the backstop to delay his bounce or as a springboard to gain height and speed. Designed for use in schools, clubs and gyms, a Spaceball court costs $1,800.
Four agile ladies of an Ann Arbor, Mich. gymnasts' club, clad in red leotards, bounce off a trampoline to volley the ball through a tunnel-like basket nine feet above the base. The doughnut-shaped rings at the center are to keep track of the score. Myles J. Adler took this photograph with a fisheye lens pointed skyward during an outdoor doubles match at Grossinger's in New York.
Intercepting a rebound shot by Glen Berree of Arlington, Va., Pat Winkle of London, England (at left) scores a point in singles play during a Sarasota, Fla. tournament.
Bouncing off the backstop helps Winkle (at left) time his leap forward into position to counter a scoring attempt by Berree during a volley high above the Spaceball court.