If you are looking for a good sport that demands physical ability as well as strategic play, then croquet might be the right game for you. This game is equally rewarding to people of all ages and capacities.
Croquet is similar to pall-mall in a lot of ways. It takes the fundamentals of pall-mall and turns it into a more challenging and complicated sport. It’s very easy to learn how to play croquet.
The primary purpose of the game is to drive the balls through wickets to touch a goal. Croquet, as opposed to pall-mall, requires the balls to be driven in correct sequence through six or more wickets.
We will teach you how you can play croquet in this article.
Origins of Croquet
Croquet has originated from the French sport “Pall-Mall.” The French played this game around the 13th century. Later on, around the 16th century, the game came to England.
There, the game pall-mall evolved into the game we now know as croquet.
How to Set Up the Playing Court
A croquet lawn is 17.5-meter-long and 14-meter-wide. Mark the boundaries of the field by placing flags on each corner. Place the peg at the center of the area.
Make a 10.5-meter-long and 7-meter-wide rectangle by placing four hoops at an equal distance from the center. Position the remaining two wickets 3.5-meter away from the peg, length-wise. All the wickets should be parallel to the shorter side of the box.
Sequence of Wickets
The hoop with the blue top is the first wicket, and the final wicket is the hoop having the red marker. The first wicket goes in position-1, whereas the last wicket goes in position-6, the previous position.
The arrangement of hoops follows a spiral pattern. Make sure that the first four wickets form a rectangle in a clockwise direction. The last two wickets bisect the box from the middle. The fifth one is the one near to the first and fourth wickets, whereas the sixth and final wicket is closer to the second and third wickets.
How to Play Croquet
Objective of Croquet
The game is played between two teams. One team plays with the black and blue balls while the other plays with the red and yellow balls.
Players have to drive the balls through hoops using a mallet in the correct order and direction to score points. If a player runs through the 6 wickets and scores 1 peg point for both of his balls, he wins. That means the winner will have scored 14 points.
The player hitting the ball in his turn is the “striker”. He can only make 1 shot unless he earns extra shots. The opponent’s turn arrives as the player’s turn end.
You can earn extra shots in one turn to turn the tide of the game in your favor. By using specific techniques, you can earn bonuses and score more points.
The first shot, called the croquet shot, has to be played keeping contact with the hit ball. You can pick up your ball and position it around that ball. Although you cannot hit the other ball, you can hit yours in a way that both balls move. It allows for the proper positioning of both the balls.
The second shot or the continuation shot is hit on the ball you chose.
You can earn the double extra shot again only after scoring a point in those turns. Besides, you can also receive more free hits from continuation shots.
Earning extra shots can be a gamechanger. We will show you how you can make extra shots in your turn.
- If you can drive through a wicket in proper order, you gain an extra shot. Running the ball through the next hoop after that one also gives you a bonus.
- If you manage to hit your ball with any other ball on the field, you get two extra shots.
Extra Shot Strategies
There are some strategies that you can implement in your game to gain the upper hand over your opponent. You can take advantage of hitting other balls, including the opposition’s, to win two extra shots. These extra shots can give you many points in one turn. This technique is known as “break.”
Starting the Game
A coin toss lottery decides who gets to play first and who gets to pick their preferred set of balls.
The match starts from a point near the first hoop.
Players can score a point and get extra shots instantly. After the first player’s turn ends, the opponent again starts from the starting point.
- The First Four Turns
In the first four turns, players have to strike all four balls. If the player plays a blue ball in the first turn, then the yellow or red ball must be struck in the second turn. The next turn, the player has to hit the black ball. Finally, he has to play the remaining yellow or red ball.
- After the First Four Turns
After the first four turns, the striking player has to choose the color of the ball to hit. When it’s his turn to hit the yellow or red ball, he can only choose one color, and that is the only ball he can hit.
Turns consist of single shots unless a player earns extra shots. Extra shots can be gained by hitting the striking ball with another ball or scoring a point.
Ball Off the Lawn
When a ball is out of bounds, it picked up and brought back to the playing field. Then, the game resumes after placing the ball 1-meter from the border where the ball had left the playing field.
Proper Striking Technique
You must hit the ball with either face of the mallet. Using any other part to hit the ball is not allowed. Other than that, you cannot move or adjust any pegs or hoops to your liking. Touching the balls with your feet is also not authorized.
Finishing the Game
If you manage to score six hoop points and one peg point for each ball, you win. In total, you should have twelve hoop points and two peg points.
Usually, the winning shot is done in the same turn, in which the striker’s ball hits the peg with the croquet shot, and the partner’s ball hit the peg with the continuation shot.
You will be declared the winner if you can complete these shots before your opponent. Remove the ball from the playing field after it touches the peg.
Forms of play
The game can be played in form of singles, meaning only one player on both sides, or doubles having two players on both sides. Rules do not change for singles or doubles.
All the forms of playing croquet are described for your convenience.
- Playing Singles
This form of playing is the most common form of croquet. Two players compete against one another in single matches.
Singles are more preferred as it is more competitive and engaging. Both players play in their respective turns. Other than that, all the rules of this form of play are identical.
- Playing Doubles
Doubles are forms of croquet where each side has two players. There are two ways doubles can be organized.
In one method, both players on one side own respective balls. That means they choose which partner to be striking in each turn instead of what ball to hit.
Another way to play doubles is by alternating between turns. Both players in the team stay more involved in the match through this method.
- 6-Player Games
In 6-player games, there are three players on each side. In this form of croquet, there are six balls. The team to run all three of their balls to hit the peg wins. Each teammate alternates between turns.
Variations of Croquet
Croquet has many variations. Their ruleset and conditions can differentiate them.
Here are some of the common variations that you should know.
- Golf Croquet:
Croquet is a prevalent and competitive form of croquet. The rules are simple and use the six-wicket configuration, even though there are no extra shots in this game.
- Nine-Wicket Croquet:
nine-wicket croquet is another variation of croquet. In this form of croquet, nine wickets and two pegs create a double diamond formation. This form of croquet is more popular around Northern America and some European countries.
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Croquet is a fun and exciting sport. People of all capabilities and ages have access to it. There are many strategies to implement in the game, which makes it more appealing.
From this article, you should get a basic understanding of croquet and how to play the game. We certainly hope that you found our article on how to play croquet useful.
An ex-professional racquetball coach who now runs a blog site for a hobby. This site is aimed at the beginners who don’t know anything about playing racquetball, squash, table tennis, and/or never heard of it. You might also find posts related to my DIY hobbies. You can find me on LinkedIn. #love_for_sports #love_for_tools