Sepak takraw is the sport that requires agility, flexibility and strength which also involves the acrobatic skill when playing this game. In many pieces of literature that I read said that takraw was born in Southeast Asia. In Indonesia is pronounced sepak takraw, while in other parts of South East Asia country such as Philippine called sipa, sipa takraw, and Vietname pronounce c?u mây, "calameae ball". It is not about the pronunciation that I am going to talk about, but the sport that has some uniques technique uses in this game. It is definitely different with Volleyball where the feet have not dominated the game, but in takraw the feet are much reliable. The sepak takraw has been under ISTAF since 1940, the International Sepak Takraw Federation Serving that authorizes to set the rule and regulation of sepak takraw.
Sepak takraw is regarded as an interesting sport which may not leave to apply the techniques and skills during this game is played because they can determine the result of the game. As I mentioned above, in takraw the agility, flexibility, and strength are quite needed, especially feet that combine different kicks, spikes, and serve. So what the technique should be owned by the takraw player, after passing through some takraw articles, I picked six skills or techniques that are mostly applied in sepak takraw.
Smash (Inside kick)
As takraw is more reliable on foot agility that is used to serve, to small and to control the ball. That is mostly done with the inside of the foot. The players place their feet apart, the leg must be bended a little before hitting the ball inside of another foot. Smash is the main key in Takraw, because it can give more point if this technique is known how to use. This technique can be also used to reach the ball and to block the smash that comes from the opponent.
Service (Outside Kick)
Service is meant that the game begins. The server is called tekong, if he/she can do great service, the team will get the point. Serve itself has two types, that are upper service and inward service. The upper service is done whit the rebounding ball over the head, the flexibility decides how hard the ball hit the target while the upward service with the ball throwing not as high as the shoulder, that will be easy for the player. The outside kick is also used to defend the kick that propels ball upward. In order to execute an outside kick, the outside of the foot must make good contact with the ball as the knees bend inwards.
The purpose of using this technique is to give the ball to the teammate using the forehead to make the ball fly and reach the target. It is used for serving and striking. In order to apply this technique, the player bends their body backward, hand on the waist along with the bending elbow. When being in this position, the player set the focus on the target following with the flexibility while kicking the ball.
Horse Kick (Acrobatic Kick)
This technique is a bit difficult to apply, and it needs a high level of skill and flexibility to control the ball in a low position that is mostly done by using acrobatic skill to execute the spike and land their feet. The most breathtaking and difficult of these feats are known as the roll spike, where the player leaps into the air to kick the ball over the opposite shoulder, and the 'sunback' or stingray spike, a similar scissors kick but over the same shoulder In takraw, there is a term for good spiker which is called "killer" that was used by Thailand Takraw player Suesbak Punsueb, who is widely known as the best takraw player in the world. Suebsak has been confounding opponents for a decade by serving the ball to opponents at a blistering pace using the sole of his shoe.
This technique is used to hit the ball while still in the air. It is like horse kick that also involves the jumping skill to hit the ball in backward direction over the shoulders or using head before the ball landed or touching the ground. The only difference is that the shot is executed while jumping.
This is also called as the most stylish shot, in applying this technique, the player hit the ball with one leg, it takes a jumping skill and flipping in the direction to move the ball while the ball in the air. In order to execute the roll bike technique, the player uses the other foot to kick the ball backward over the opposite shoulder.
The above techniques are some of the techniques that must be mastered by the takraw players. When we are watching the takraw match, those skills are quite often performed by the players during the match. The takraw skill is different with volleyball where it relies on the hand skill. Takraw is much more than that where the feet, knees, chest are involved. Indeed, the takraw sport is along the way creating the breathtaking acrobatic performance which makes us wonder how they do that. Although the takraw is not as famous as football, it has come to show us another side of the legacy sport that may have been the favorite sport in Southeast Asia. Unlike, the other famous sports, takraw is played between two teams which consist of three players on the court and two substitutes. Each player is appointed as the striker, server, and feeder. If we look closely, the takraw is similar to the volleyball, but as I mentioned above, the volleyball relies on hand skill while the takraw relies on feet skill and the function of the volleyball player are much the same with the takraw. In takraw, the players are allowed a maximum of three contacts with the ball to get it over the net. It is a common rule in any match where the coin toss will decide which team get the first turn to start the service and the feeder will start the game by tossing the ball to the server. If the team (regu) who commits a fault will lose service and a point will go to the opposing team. Service is shifted over after three consecutive points scored by the serving regu in which the level of competition and rule set by the organizing committee where the first team (regu) that successfully reach 21 points win the set. The set can only be won by the Regu with a two points lead, and the maximum points a set typically reaches is 25 points. The umpire will announce for the set to extend to 25 points when there is a tie at 20 - 20. The game is played in two sets with a two-minute break in between. The Regu that wins two sets wins the match. In deciding the ranking, the referee set the common rule: in group stages of tournaments or team events (round robin), the ranking in a group is determined by: 1. Sum of match wins; a match win gives 1 point 2. Sum set points 3. Point difference +/. In the last 3rd set the change of sides takes place when one team reaches 11 points.
The sepak takraw sport is played on a similar to badminton double sized court that need the area of 13.4 by 6.1 metres (44 ft × 20 ft) free from all obstacles up to the height of 8 metres (26 ft) measured from the floor surface (sand and grass court not advisable). The width of the lines bounding the court should not be more than 4 centimetres (1.6 in) measured and drawn inwards from the edge of the court measurements. All the boundary lines should be drawn at least 3.0 metres (9.8 ft) away from all obstacles. The centre line of 2 cm (0.79 in) should be drawn equally dividing the right and left court.
At the corner of each at the center line, the quarter circle shall be drawn from the sideline to the center line with a radius of 0.9 metres (2 ft 11 in) measured and drawn outwards from the edge of the 0.9 m radius.
The service circle of 0.3 m radius shall be drawn on the left and on the right court, the center of which is 2.45 m from the back line of the court and 3.05 m from the sidelines, the 0.04 m line shall be measured and drawn outward from the edge of the 0.3 m radius.
Sepak Takraw is the unique sport that originated in Southeast Asia. Literally, the meaning of takraw is "Kick Ball", where the feet are dominance in this game. The takraw was believed has existed in the 15th century in Southeast Asia, and in 1940, the official formalized rule under ISTAF. The takraw, we can say, adopts the volleyball style court with the net accross the middle. There is some certain rule that makes the takraw and volleyball are different, that is the takraw is not allowed to play the takraw uses the hand. In this game, the feet, knees, chest are combined with agility, flexibility will determine the result of the game. Many of non-southeast east Asia, particularly in the USA and Canada and other some western countries are taking a part in practicing the Takraw. The takraw itself possess the acrobatic style, flying in the air while kicking the ball is one of the reasons why this game is the most wanted game in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia where Takraw has been regarded as the popular sport and continue to converse by holding the competition throughout the countries.