Peteca is a traditional sport in Brazil, played with a "hand shuttlecock" from indigenous origins and reputed to be as old as the country itself. The same name is given to the shuttlecock-object itself. Peteca is a unique and fun game that is becoming ever more popular in Canada and the United States. Originally from Brazil, peteca is played similarly to Volleyball and Badminton but using only the palms of your hands. After soccer and volleyball, it is the third most popular game played in Brazil, with many federations and championships.
Rules of the game: A peteca match is played to the best of the three games, singles or doubles. The first player (or the first pair) who scores twelve points wins the set. One game can last only a maximum of twenty minutes. If neither of the two sides have reached the required score, then the win is given to the team with the most points.
The peteca must be struck with one hand only and must pass above the net to the opposition’s side in order for them to return it. The server remains the same one until the service changes side. A point can only be won by the serving team. The player with the service has thirty seconds to score the point. If this is not achieved then the service is given to the opposing player/team.
Faults: There are a number of recognised faults which can occur:
- Service fault: service passes to the opposing team if the peteca passes below the net, outside the limits of the court, if the peteca touches the net or if the peteca touches a player of the same team (double) before passing over to the opposing side.
- The 'in play' faults: if a player puts his hands or feet on the opposing teams side (similar to what occurs in a volleyball game); if a player touches the peteca with two hands; if there are marked accompaniment and not striking; if any other part of his/her body touches it and if the peteca is not hit (head, feet).
- The 30-second rule: the server or the team which is serving has 30 seconds to score the point. If the point is not scored in this period, then the service goes to the opposition. At the end of 20 seconds, the referee announces "10" as a warning of the time remaining. With the sounding of the referee's whistle, the rally is finished. This is a stricter rule, when there's a referee to open count.
Equipment and court
- Shuttlecocks: There are two types of shuttlecocks used in two different kinds of games of peteca. In a regular peteca tournament, the shuttlecock has a flat base and a standard weight of 42 grams. The feathers are crimped and straight. In a mini-peteca game, the shuttlecock has a rounded rubber base attached to five or more rubber discs. The base is softer on the hand.
- Court: singles' games are played on courts 15 m x 5.5m. Doubles' games are played at 15 m x 7.5m. By comparison, a standard volleyball court is 18 m x 9m. Peteca is played on wood, cement or clay courts. Mini-peteca is played on a standard sized badminton court.
- Net: men's games are played using a rectangular net topping 2.43 m high, similar to volleyball net. Women's games lower it to 2.24 m. Children (8-12yrs) play over a 2 m high net.
- Lightweight gloves: beginners often find that the rubber base of the peteca is hard on the hands, usually leaving red spots and a stinging sensation on them. It is suggested that they wear a lightweight fingerless glove, similar to those used in rugby.