How To Play Tetherball? – Tetherball Rules Explained

Last Updated on May 21, 2020 by Austin Cunningham

Tetherball is the perfect game for schoolyard, parks, playgrounds, or summer camp. It is a fun and exciting game, even though it is not an official sport. The game is accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

With little cost, tetherball can give you lots of entertainment and a good time. If you want to learn how to play tetherball, you are in the right place. The basic concept of tetherball is to wind a tethered ball around a pole by striking it. It is a game played between two players only.

They hit the ball in the opposite direction so that they can wind up the ball first with the pole. We will now discuss the basics of tetherball and how you can play the game.

History of Tetherball

The exact origins of this game are anonymous. Some suggest that the game originated around the ninth century from the Tatars. The Tatars would tie the heads of their fallen enemies with a rope from a pole. This concept might drive the origin of the game.

Others think that tetherball came from the concept of Maypole dance from medieval England and northern European countries.

Villagers would tie a rope around a pole and dance around the pole while holding it.

A more befitting theory on the origin of tetherball is that the game was invented around the time volleyball came out after 1895. Since the game uses a ball that is almost identical to a volleyball, this concept is widely accepted.

There is also a similar game called paddleball, which involves the use of a smaller ball and pedals and is played around the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

How to Play Tetherball

Tetherball is an easy game to play, which does not involve any equipment. You can only use your hands to play tetherball. Using any other body parts is forbidden unless you play the game based on house rules.

The game starts with a serve. Both players stay at both sides of the pole opposite to one another. The opponent has to hit the ball in the direction opposite to the moving ball.

Each team has to continue striking the ball in opposite directions until the rope gets tied to the pole and the ball stops bouncing. If you are the last person to hit the ball before the ball gets tied up, you win.

Rules of Tetherball

There are a set of rules that you must follow when playing tetherball. We have briefed these rules for your convenience.

  • The court has to be a flat circle of 16-20 inches in diameter. A pole of 7-10 inches will stay at the center. The ball would remain hung by a cord from the top of the pole, about two feet off the ground. Both players take up half of the court.
  • The server can swing the ball in whatever direction they desire. First off, they have to take the tetherball and get away from the pole so that the cord remain stretched. Then, he will hit the ball in a direction, and the opponent has to return it by hitting the ball in the opposite direction.
  • After serving the ball, the server cannot touch the ball until the opponent has hit the ball, and the ball has wrapped at least four times. This rule is not mandatory to follow. The primary purpose of this restriction is to prevent the server from gaining a massive advantage right from the start.
  • You have to wrap the cord around the pole entirely to win the game. Once the rope gets tied up, it cannot bounce, and the ball should stop moving. The player who wraps the ball completely around the pole is the winner.
  • Touching the rope or the pole at any point of the game is not allowed. Doing so will result in a foul. Committing fouls can result in penalties or ultimately losing the game.

Foul Offense

If you violate any of the rules of the game, you will receive a penalty. Typically, the play stops when a player commits a foul, and the other player resumes play by doing a serve. Rules might also differ depending on house rules.

  • By touching the pole or cord, you will commit a foul. According to some rules, you can instantly lose a game because of these offenses. In some games, these fouls are considered as standard fouls.
  • You are not allowed to catch, hold, or throw the ball. Hitting the ball with other parts of your body is also forbidden. Only hitting the ball with your hand is allowed.
  • If you hit the ball before it has swung all the way or the opponent hits the ball, it is an offense. Double hits are allowed if the ball touches the pole between two strikes.
  • Each player occupies two halves of the playing circle. One player is not allowed to step into the other player’s area.

Unless it is an instant loss, a player can commit fouls up to three times in a game. If your opponent commits a foul, you will serve the ball after unwrapping the ball from the pole to the point when he committed the offense. Other than that, both players can do a ball drop too for resuming the game.

Some Tips and Winning Strategies

Playing smart is always better than just playing. You can adopt some simple strategies to gain the upper hand and win the game. We have shared some excellent tactics for you to know when playing a game of tetherball.

  • Try to keep your opponent guessing and be unpredictable. You always have the advantage if your opponent does not see your next move coming. By doing fake-outs or sudden hits, you can take your opponent by surprise.
  • When hitting the ball, always try to make the ball go above the opponent’s head. That means if you can make the ball rotate obliquely, your opponent will have a hard time returning the ball since it is way above them.
  • Do not always hit the ball hard. You can try striking the ball soft too. If you gently tap the ball when the opponent expects a full-powered blow, you can gain control of the ball and gain the advantage.

(Read More: How to play spikeball, How to play tetherball, How to play ring toss game, How to play ladder ball, How to play kickball, How to play horseshoes, How to play croquet, How to play cornhole

Final Thoughts

Tetherball is a fun game to play, whether you are a child or a young man. The game is very engaging and fast-paced. It acts as a good exercise for players too.

Knowing how to play tetherball properly is essential if you want to get into the game. By following this guide, you should understand the basic concept and how to play the game. We hope our article helped you out.

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