A net sport is a sport where a net is a standard part of the game, especially where the net separates the opponents. The basic goal in these sports is to hit the ball or bird over the net back to the opponent. Players score points whenever the opponent fails to return the ball or bird back over the net. The criteria on what is considered a valid return varies between each sport (such as the number of times the ball may be touched or bounced on a player's side before it must go back over the net).
- racquet sports such as tennis, badminton, pickleball and table tennis (but not squash or racquetball, where players must hit the ball towards a wall).
- volleyball, footvolley, headis or sepak takraw, where players must hit the ball with body.
Although basketball, hockey, water polo and other sports have netting around the goal area designed to more clearly indicate when goals are scored, they are not usually considered "net sports". Similarly, lacrosse sticks have a loose netting that is used to catch and fling the ball, but again lacrosse is not usually considered a "net sport".
The Los Angeles Daily Times reports: "Net sports are unique in that the equipment is light, portable and affordable, and partners and opponents are easy to find. The sports are easy to learn, and the social aspect of the game[s] appeals to those who find the health club to be an isolationist palace of mirrors."
- Los Angeles Daily News (October 20, 1995). "More people rushing the nets: Badminton, volleyball, tennis offer muscle-building workouts". The Spokesman-Review. p. C6. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
- Mohnsen, Bonnie S. (2008). "Unit 4: Team Net Sports". Teaching middle school physical education: a standards-based approach for grades 5-8. Human Kinetics. p. 495. ISBN 9780736068499. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
- Hall, Hamilton (1994). The New Back Doctor. Random House of Canada. p. 229. ISBN 9780770426194. Retrieved 5 July 2010.