Hello!  This may seem like a bizarre request, but as I have no-one in my circle who is interested in Jai Alai (I'm Canadian), I thought it would be best to simply ask fans of the game for their feedback or opinions on this.

I'm a technical writing student who is putting together a promotional Jai Alai pamphlet, aimed at young adult men who are unfamiliar with the game but have an interest in non-mainstream sports (handball, lacrosse, hacky-sack, etc.).  I've finished the text portion of the project, and while my professors are unlikely to ding me on my accuracy when covering the sport or terminology, I'm a stickler and I like to do things right.

If you'd (the general you) be willing to take a glance at what I've written and let me know if anything stands out or is totally wrong- or if I've forgotten to include something essential, for that matter- I would be incredibly grateful.

A few notes: I know that it's rather subjective to say that the sport is entering a renaissance, but as I've researched it I've come across old news articles declaring its imminent death in the US, alongside active websites like this one and advertisments on Florida casino websites promoting the sport.  (I also discovered that there's at least one amateur fronton in Connecticut)  Regardless, I think it's safe to say that for Jai Alai fans, it's still alive and kicking.

I've never played Jai Alai.  I watched videos showing professional and amateur play (and read the account on this website), and based the technique advice I offer on my observations.  If you've played the sport and can offer better tips for beginners, please let me know!

I didn't include a bibliography in the attached .PDF, but obviously intend to in the final version.

With the glossary, I double-checked words across several sites: first to see which were commonly used and actually described different things, and second to see what the words actually meant.  I wanted to include things that I felt were relevant.

Thank you for your time!

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Thanks Christine for posting!  As we discussed a few weeks back, I am sure you will get some candid feedback that should be useful.  I believe I saw a real nice response, but for some reason I no longer see it.  I'm not sure if there was a technical glitch or the author of the post pulled it for some reason.  I'll also review the attachment in the next couple days.  Thanks again for sharing ... something truly unique.

Tom Ramsay was editing his post and accidentally deleted it.  He'll add it back soon.

What is an contact email for Christine G to send feedback?

Christine ... ok if I send your email privately?

Very nicely done!  I breezed through it pretty quick, but will reread when I have a little more time.  A couple small items for your review:

A serve is successful if:

  • The ball is pre-bounced behind the serve line (11th line)
  • The ball strikes the front after being launched directly or rebounded from the inner wall
  • The ball rebounds inside the 4-7 zone on the floor

​When re-serving, players still aim for the front, but a rebound in the 4-7 zone isn’t required

  • ALL serves must land in the receiving area (4-7 zone).
  • In quinlella play (ie: here in US), the ball has to hit the front wall first.  If it hits the side wall first ("carom serve"), the other team get the point. 
  • In quinella play, there are no second serves.
  • In Partido play (2 teams going head to head to 15 or 25 points) they sometimes allow for carom (side wall first) serves.
  • If the serve is under (in partido play), the other team gets the point.  If it's over, they are awarded a 2nd serve.

Pasa (pah∙sah) "Pass": An overhead serve  An over serve.

Corta (kor∙tah) "Short": An underhand serve An under serve.

Check out the following for a nice glossary of terms: http://www.fla-gaming.com/jai-alai-glossary/

One other item you might want to consider adding is that you have to play with the cesta on your right hand.  We can elaborate more on that point if needed.

Great Job!!   For someone with little to no knowledge about jai alai you were very accurate with your facts in the pamphlet.  The only thing I see which happened a little differently than what you had described was what happened in regards to the strike of 1988.  The strike did not stop the performances at the frontons.  At the time there were many amateur and retired players who chose to cross the picket line and replace the players who went on strike.  The games went on albeit at a much lower skill level.  Partly because of the strike and partly because of all the new gambling options being offered at that time the interest in jai alai waned and what once was over a dozen frontons located in Ct. Fl. and RI. dwindled over time to what we have today, that being two or three depending on how you look at it.  


Hi Christine, that webpage you linked is mine. I made it many years ago, probably even in 1990's, and really havent updated in maybe 4-5 years. I'm glad it was of some use to you. :-)

First off, thank you so much to all of you who have replied: this has been an interesting topic to research, but the multilingual aspect of online information (and lack of existing tutorial booklets) has made it a bit difficult for me to grok some things related to the sport.

Jesus- I was glad that I could find at least one english-language site written by someone who has played the game and wanted to describe their experience!

Tom- I opted to not go into too much detail about the sport's modern history, hence the vagueness in that area: ESPN had a good mini-doc entitled "What The Hell Happened to Jai Alai" that covered the history of the game and the way that loosening of gambling laws and other factors contributed to its diminished status in the US.  I felt that simply mentioning the strike as a turning point was the simplest way to hint at a more complicated history.

FljaiAlaiFan- Thank you for clarifying the rules a bit for me- I'll alter the text to align with the US rules for simplicity's sake, in cases where there's a difference between each rule system.  I'd taken an extensive look at the fla-gaming site's glossary and found it somewhat helpful, but it lacks clarity on a number of things... like whether "over serve" refers to an "overhand" serve or a "foul".  Feel free to message me privately if you have any thoughts or insight, as I greatly appreciate the input.

On that topic:

  • Is an "over serve" one that lands closer to the front wall on the far side of the 4-7 line, or one that lands closer to the back wall on the near side?
  • What is the appropriate word to use when describing a player successfully catching and returning the ball after their opponent serves?  I'd used the term "re-serve", but it seems like it caused some confusion.
  • Additionally, do the same (US) rules apply when returning a serve?  I had seen videos of players returning the ball with a 'carom' and found conflicting information

DPOE said:

What is an contact email for Christine G to send feedback?

You should be able to e-mail me via the "send message" icon on my account page.

Hi Christine.  Thank you for the explanation.  I will try to answer your questions.

An overserve is one that lands beyond the 7 line. (closer to the back wall)  Also, to get technical, if the ball actually lands on any part of the 7 line it is also considered an overserve   It would be the same with the ball hitting the 4 line or any area closer to the front wall, it would be an underserve.  Sometimes in partido format a server is allowed one overserve per point.  In Spectacular 7 format the server is allowed only one serve.  

I have never heard the term "re-serve" used.  Its just as you had said, catch and return.  

The same rules would apply in the USA or abroad in regards to returning a serve.  Once the opposing player catches the serve he (or she) has a multitude of shots that can be thrown.  A carom is just one of many ways to return the serve. 

I hope this helps. 


Thanks Tom for all the help.

Christine ... sure hope we get to see the final product!

At long last, I have a finished version of the Jai Alai pamphlet, shiny pictures and all.

Thanks again to the people who offered me feedback!


Hi Christine...Just a quick look and the 1st thing I saw was about the chula...   A chula is not a serve...It is a shot thrown with the backhand that hits low on the back wall and comes out very low, with hardly any chance for a return... I look over the entire version when I have more time...  Good job and hope you accomplished what you wanted...

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