Let's play Fusen (balloon) Volleyball !

We have created a new sport, "Fusen (balloon) Volleyball" that both able-bodied and disabled people can participate in and enjoy. We dream of a world where we can support one another and live together.

Outline: Fusen (balloon) Volleyball is played on a badminton court with a 40 centimeter diameter balloon with two small round bells inside.Six players must touch the balloon before it is hit to the other team. The balloon can be touched no more than 10 times before it crosses the net.

This is a new type of volleyball match which has as its motto "Everybody is included in the game."


How it came about

Japan Fusen Volleyball Association

E-mail for English:fusenvolley@gmail.com


There are many people with disabilities living in Japan. Many are not able to travel, go to school, or find work due to the challenges posed by their disabilities.

Some, with more serious disabilities, are confined to either institutions or their homes. Many of those who have disabilities face challenges which make it difficult to realize their dreams.

Since the International Year of Disabled Persons was established in 1981, a variety of events have been held, and programs established with a goal of promoting and bettering the lives of those living with disabilities. We would like to help make the International Year of Disabled Persons’ theme "Full participation and Equal opportunity" come true.

Regardless of whether or not a person has a disability, "We all have the right to live one’s own life!"

We all want to live our own lives to the fullest.
However, currently, it is often difficult for people with disabilities to do so. We need to inform more people about the lives people with disabilities live and to consider how we must change our society so that the theme can become a reality.

What can we do?
Having thought about what we could do, we came up with the idea of "Fusen (balloon) Volleyball." Fusen Volleyball is a sport that both people with disabilities and those without can enjoy together.
Our dream is to promote this wonderful sport, which can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of a person’s abilities.
Disabilities should not limit anyone’s ability to participate in sports. Through sport, we wish to help create a world where we can all live together.
By introducing this sport to our society, we'd like to help people with disabilities become more integrated with mainstream society. This can be achieved by the sport’s ability to encourage interaction between those with disabilities and those without.
We would also like to help the community of people living with disabilities grow and strengthen by creating links with local societies, institutions, and organizations throughout Japan.
We hope our sport will help our dream come true…

We are now looking for the people who will:
l participate in the game as players, judges, or staff
l provide financial support/aid
l help us promote our sport

First and foremost, join us and enjoy “Fusen Volleyball!”
It will be fun!

How it came about

* How and why "Fusen (balloon) Volleyball" was born?
One winter day in 1989, a person living in Kitakyushu said to himself "how nice it would be if there was a sport that people with severe disabilities can enjoy with those without." This was when the dream for the sport was born.
Most of the existing sports for people with disabilities are limited to only those with disabilities. There have not been many sports for those with severe disabilities.
The idea of using balloons comes from the use of them for physical exercises, which has been common practice for rehabilitation or recreation, events in hospitals, institutions, and organizations for people with disabilities evolved to become "Fusen Volleyball." It is a sport for anyone who wants to join.

* The next step
The sport was so fun and successful, that in the spring of 1990, "The Fusen Volleyball Promotive Committee" was established for the purpose of promoting this sport to the public in Japan, promoting participation of people with disabilities in society, and building networks in every community.
It took half a year for us to make rules. We went to make videos, and surveys for different communities. Additionally, we composed a theme song, "風に想いを(Our hope will fly high and away with the wind, or hopes with the wind)".
With our song, we started the Tournament of Fusen Volleyball that autumn.

* Up to today
In autumn of 1990, the 26th National sports contest for athletes with disabilities took place in Fukuoka. Parts of this contest took place in Kitakyushu. Taking full advantage of this opportunity, we held the first National tournament of Fusen Volleyball around the same time. 14 teams in total came from Kitakyushu, Tagawa city, and Yamaguchi prefecture.
The second tournament took place in the following year. Teams from Kagoshima prefecture participated in the 2nd tournament, resulting in 18 teams who joined us. On the 3rd tournament, 24 teams joined. There were teams from Oita and Nagasaki prefectures. And at the 4th tournament, 28 teams participated. These days our sport is played in various communities for events, sport meetings, or recreation.

* The future of Fusen VolleyballThrough this sport, we would like to promote the interaction between people with disabilities and people without disabilities, as well as to have more opportunity to participate in social activities. We also hope to promote this sport internationally.

Do you think Fusen volleyball has future in the Olympics?
Some day in near future, yes. Why not?

The Rules of Fusen Volleyball

Basic Rules
Fusen (balloon) Volleyball is played on badminton courts. A team of 6 players enters each side of the court, which is divided by a net, and they toss the balloon (fusen in Japanese) over the net. The most important characteristic is that each team consists of Special Needs players (SN players) and Able-Bodied players (AB players). Each member of a team must touch the balloon at least once (for a total of no more than 10 touches) before returning it to the opposing team.

1. Court, net and ball:
i) A badminton court (6.1 m × 13.4 m) and net (1.55 m high) are used and the service line (the attack line) is set 2.5 meter away from the net.
ii) The ball (air balloon) is made of rubber, with two small bells inside. The ball is filled with air to a diameter of 40 cm.
iii) The color of ball should basically be pink for the game.

2. How to play the game:
i) The game is a match of one set, with no court side change.
ii) The game should end in 20 minutes.
iii) The rally scoring method is used. Points are added no matter which team is serving. The first team to 15 points wins.
A winner is decided after 20 minutes, even when neither of the teams has reached 15 points.

3. Team members
Each team can consist of any number of players, but the number of players in the court is limited to 6.
The 6 players consist of:
i) Players with physical disabilities (SN players): 3 or 4
ii) Players without disabilities (AB players, indicated below as DD4): 2 or 3
iii) Each team must consist of players with the following DDs (degree of disability (DD) will be described later).
a) basic combination of DDs: 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 4 (total 18 points)
b) the following combinations are also permitted (should total 18 points or less):
"1,1,1,4,4,4", "1,1,2,4,4,4", "1,1,3,4,4,4", "1,2,2,4,4,4", "1,2,3,3,4,4", "1,3,3,3,4,4", "2,2,2,2,4,4", "2,2,3,3,4,4", "2,2,2,3,4,4"
Note: "2,2,2,4,4,4" is not allowed.
If there is no DD1 player, only two DD4 players may enter the court.
(When a team has less than 18 points, players with higher DD can swap in for players with lower DD).
Example 1: "1,2,2,4,4,4" (17 pts) can be changed to "1,2,3,4,4,4" (18 pts)
Example 2: "1,1,3,3,4,4" (16 pts) can be changed to "1,2,3,4,4,4" (18 pts)

4. Before and during the game
1) The captain of the team has to provide the names of the players and the order of serving to the head referee.
2) The head referee orders the teams to line up along the service line.
The players line up in the order of the numbers on their uniforms. The player with the smallest number must be closest to the referee. It is decided which team makes the first serve. Teams exchange the greeting, and wait for the game to start.
3) The officials announce the start of the game, and then one of the teams serves when the head referee blows a whistle. When the head referee whistles, the play starts.
4) Each player on a side has to touch the ball after it enters their side, and they have to return it within 10 times of touch.
5) Each player can touch the ball up to twice (if another player hits it in between), until it has been touched 10 times total by all the players of the team.
6) Positions are not fixed, and players can swap in and out as many times as they want.
7) After the game is over, the head referee orders the teams to line up in the same way they did in the beginning (step 2). Both team’s captains confirm score, the head referee calls winner, and then two teams exchange the greeting.
8) The head referee has the power to decide which team won.
9) The captains can ask for only one time-out each, for up to 30 seconds.
(However, if there are less than 5 minutes remaining on the game clock, time outs and player swapping are in principle not allowed.)

5. Deciding the winner
1) League rankings are decided by the following results:
a) A team who got more game points than the other team (3 points for win, 1 for even, 0 for loss)
b) scores difference (scores scored minus scores conceded)
c) A team which obtained more scores than the others.
If all three teams have the same score, the representative player of each team will play the rock-scissors-paper game to decide the winner.
2) When the teams have even scores:
a) If it’s a league match, it’s even.
b) If it’s a tournament match, the game continues until one team gets ahead by one point. (However, as long as the game has not exceeded 20 minutes, 14 to 14 is considered deuce, and the teams have to play until the score difference becomes two points.)
3) If a team forfeits, they are considered to have been defeated 0 to 15.

6. Organization of the games
1) In the morning, the teams will be divided into groups of 4 teams each for league play.
2) After the morning league play, the top team of each group will be assigned to class A, the 2nd to class B, the 3rd to class C, and the 4th to class D.
3) In the afternoon, each class will play a separate tournament.
4) Game length is 15 minutes for league play, and 20 minutes for tournament play.

7. Serving
(Items 3 to 5 below should be adjusted to accommodate DD1 and DD2 players.)
1) If the server faults once, he/she may try again. Changing the server after a fault is not permitted.
2) Teams alternate serving, regardless of points scored.
3) Players serve in order of uniform number. However, the first server should be a SN player. Two AB players may not serve continuously.
4) The server must toss the ball 15 cm above his/her hand before serving.
5) If the server misses the ball, it counts as an attempted serve.
6) If the server aborts the serve after tossing the ball up, it still counts as an attempted serve.
7) AB players and SN players capable of serving from behind the service line must do so. SN players, including players in wheelchairs, may serve from anywhere.
8) An AB player may help a serving SN player by tossing him/her the ball, and/or by hitting the ball once after the serve. Also, a SN player may serve by throwing the ball.
9) If the ball doesn't go over the net, it is counted as a fault, but if it went over the net and touched the net from the opposite side, it is in. (However, if the ball touches the top white area of the net, it is counted as a fault.)
10) When there is a mistake in serving order:
a) If the serve has not yet been made, the ball should be given to the correct player to serve.
b) If someone has already done an out-of-turn serve, the correct server should take the next serve, going in order after that.
However, no penalty is applied.

8. Fouls
(Items 4 and 5 are allowed for DD1 and DD2 SN players when unavoidable.)
1) Double Fault: Two consecutive service faults
2) Not All: Returning the ball to the opposite court without all players touching it
3) Over Times: i) A team fails to return the ball to the opposite court within the 10-touch maximum.
ii) One player touched the ball three times.
4) Dribble: One player touches the ball two times in a row.
5) Holding: A player holds or carries the ball.
6) Jump Serve/Spike: A player jumps to serve and/or attack.
7) Over Line: A player steps on the line, or attacks or serves over the line. This foul also applies to SN standing players who have the use of their upper limbs.
8) Foot Ball: The ball touches an AB player below the knee.
9) Not Pass: A player intentionally hits a SN player with the ball, or drops the ball from over the head of a SN player when assisting him/her serving.
10) Touching the Net: Part of the body or the supportive device touches the net, including the posts.
11) Reaching beyond the Net: A player makes contact with the ball in the opposing court over the net.
12) Foul Touch: Intentionally strike the ball with a supportive device.
13) Interference: A player hinders the opposing players' activities, including via intimidation or physical attacks, or verbally abused the referees.
14) Technical fouls:
i) A coach, trainer, or substitute enters the court without permission from the head referee.
ii) An unreasonable time-out is requested (eg. between the first and the second serves, or requesting a 2nd time-out).
iii) Obvious delaying behavior.
* As for 13 and 14 above, the first occurrence results in a caution, and the second is a foul. (Fouls are counted by a team, not by an individual player. The second and subsequent fouls result in points given to the opposing team.)
* If a supportive device (wheelchair or cane) touches the ball, it is not counted as a touch.

9. Other
Out of Bounds
1) When the ball is on the line, the referee must look at the ball from the above. IN should be when any part of the ball touches the line, and OUT should be when NO part of the ball touches the line.
2) The ball contacts something (the floor, people, or objects) outside the court.
3) The ball or any player contacts an adjacent court or the extended part of the net.
4) If the ball touches the part of the pole below the net, it is counted as OUT, except when the ball touches both the net and the pole at the same time.

Outside of marker
When returning the ball to the opposing court, the ball must pass within the extended parts of the poles (inside the markers).
If any part of the ball touches the extended part of a pole, it is IN. Otherwise, it is OUT.

Judging validity of attacks
When either a SN or AB player strikes the ball so that it goes downward into the opposing court, it is considered an attack.
Or, when a player puts spin on the ball so it first goes upward and then downward, it is also considered an attack.
However, when it is obvious that a player hit to the ball lightly, it is considered a feint, and is not considered an attack even if the ball goes downward.
Attack hits must be hit from at least 2.5 meters behind the center line.
However, SN players are allowed to make attacks from in front of the attack line, if the point at which the ball is struck is below the top of the net.

No Count
If the ball pops, no point is scored.
However, if the ball pops because it hits something (the floor, people, or an object) outside the court, points are scored as usual.
1) If the ball pops in mid-air, or the judge can not decide, no point is scored.
2) If the game is interrupted for any unavoidable incident, no point is scored.
3) Service after No Count
a) If the first serve is not counted, the team may make two serve attempts.
b) If the second serve is not counted, no subsequent serve is allowed.

Blind Attack
If a visually impaired DD1 player catches the ball after all other players on the team have touched it, the game is paused. The DD1 player may then move to behind the attack line and make an attack.
The referee has to call "B attack" when the DD1 player catches the ball.

When two players simultaneously touch the ball
It is judged as though each of them touched the ball separately, and therefore counts as two touches.
If one of them touches the ball after that, it is not counted as dribbling.

Criteria of the degrees of disability & Referee's hand signals with illustrations

You can access documents at the open OneDrive as follows:

1) Prospectus & How it came about
3) Criteria of the degrees of disability
4) Referee's hand signals with illustrations

Open OneDrive

Supplement for Fusen Volleyball

What is important?

Fusen Volleyball is a sport designed for the participation of severely-disabled people.It’s not important whether one wins or loses, what is important is the inclusion of severely-disabled people in a sportsman like atmosphere.Please look for a DD1 (degree of disability 1) player, when your team doesn’t have one.This helps enable severely-disabled people to join society.This is one of the most important purposes of Fusen Volleyball.


This is a game in which all players must first hit the balloon, and then hit it to the other team.Many severely-disabled people can hardly move. Some of them are in need of total assistance.But they want to hit a ball and they do.Please understand their state of mind and pass the balloon to them.That is why a ‘not pass’ is considered a foul, as is when a player intentionally hits a SN player with the ball.