The Rules of Headis – How to Play Headis

Headis Rules

Looking to understand the rules of the sport of Headis? You have come to the right website, where we try to break things down for sports which aren’t quite mainstream right now but have the potential to become big. Headis is one such sport and you can find the Headis rules below.

If you’ve watched a Headis game on television, or Youtube, you will know what we mean when we call it an insane game! And as insane it is, Headis is also an exciting table / ball game and is based on ping-pong or table tennis, but with a few modifications. It’s edgy, it’s quick and it has also become supremely popular.

So, What is Headis?

It’s probably a good idea to watch one of the online videos to get a better idea of this game and to get a feel for the speed and pace of the game. Basically, it’s a game that is played with a table that is similar to a ping-pong table but stronger, a special rubber ball, and a paddle. The only thing is – the paddle, or the bat, is your head.

That’s right.

You hit the ball with your head.

You need to be quick, you need to be strong and you need to have excellent co-ordination to do this. You need not only good ball skills and excellent upper body strength to play Headis, you need to be able to strategise too.

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Believe it or not, Headis is a recognised sport, one that is achieving an almost cult status.

There are Headis tournaments and a Headis World Championship. The game is huge in Europe, in particular in Germany and Switzerland, it’s big in Japan and around the East and it is starting to attract thousands of players and followers in the USA.

There are specific rules around Headis and when played seriously, the Headis rules must be adhered to.

The Headis Rules

Although this is a fun game, and a pretty edgy game, it’s also a serious game. There are rules that must be followed.

These rules for Headis were put together by the original guy who came up with the whole concept of Headis, German sports student René Wegner. He and his friends made up the first game, and the rules, and after a video or two went viral, the game took on a life of its own.

To play Headis, one needs:

  1. A table that is the same or of similar proportions to that of a ping-pong table,
  2. The net in the middle must be stable,
  3. A 7-inch rubber ball, approximately 100 grams heavy and
  4. Paddles or bats that are in fact not paddles or bats, but HEAD.

After that you only need a little music, an audience to cheer you on and a lot of self esteem!

How do you play Headis?

If you know how to play ping-pong or table-tennis, the rules are the same. Here are a few simple guidelines, although there is more to touch on.

  • There are two players for singles, four players for doubles.
  • Opponents stand on the opposite side of the table.
  • Play starts with a service, diagonally across the table.
  • The service is returned by the opponent.
  • Play continues until one player wins the rally or the point.
  • The ball can bounce once on each side before being returned, but does not have to bounce.
  • The ball can only be touched with the player’s head.
  • Hands and body can touch the table.
  • Players serve two times before changing service.
  • Each set consists of 11 points and the winner must win by a margin of 2 points.
  • The matches are the best of three sets.

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The Service in Headis

  • The server must hold the ball behind the baseline and it must remain behind the baseline when it leaves the server’s hand.
  • The ball must bounce on the server’s side first, and then on the receiver’s side.
  • If the ball touches the net, as in a let serve, it must be done again.
  • Only one bounce on either side is permissible.

The Return in Headis

  • The return must be done with the opponent’s head.
  • Once the ball has been served, the same rules apply regarding the one bounce.
  • If the ball is hit without a bounce outside of the table, it is considered a loss.
  • If the ball lands in the net, it is considered a loss.


  • Volleys are permissible and are a large part of the game.
  • A direct header without a bounce is allowed.
  • Once a player has made a direct header, he must make contact with the ground before playing another shot.

Headis is a fast game which is why it is recommended that anyone interested in playing watches a game or two at first, or spends a little time watching some of the online videos.

It is really only through watching Headis that you get an idea of the skill involved.

Headis rules are the same for men and women. While players can only touch the ball with their heads, they can touch the table with any parts of their body.

There are several Headis tournaments, in particular in Europe.

The rankings are interesting and as interest in the sport grows, so does the competitive side of Headis. Players all go under pseudonyms, not for any reason other than it adds to the edginess of the game.

It is not unusual to find players named THE GOAT, PRESSURE PETE, SNIPER SCHORSCH, THE UNDERDOG or THE CURLY HEAD FROM SLOVAKIA. It is also not unusual to find a player with two feet on the Headis table!

Now, if you are looking to understand the beach tennis rules click here and for the pickleball rules, click here.

Stan Boone

I am the editor of Racket Sports World. I love my tennis, pickleball and most of the other racket sports played around the world and started this blog as my way to help other racquet sports fans even as I learn, explore and improve by connecting with them. Tweet at

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