From the outside, it might not look like much–a small metal ball on a stick. But there’s nothing quite like playing this classic childhood game of “drop and retrieve.”

Tetherball is a sport that has been around for decades, but in 2022 it will be played with the help of a tether. Read more in detail here: how to play tetherball.

Ah, tetherball, the beautiful playground activity that brings back memories of our childhoods and makes kids want for recess. While we may remember it as a basic game that determined playground hierarchy, any youngster from an urban school will tell you that tetherball is more than simply bouncing a ball back and forth around a pole. A single game may include a surprising amount of strategy. But don’t worry, we’re here to teach you (and your dog) how to play tetherball!


What is the definition of tetherball?

Here’s some backstory on tetherball in case it wasn’t included in your school’s playground politics.

The sport originated in the United Kingdom somewhere in the 1800s, however its specific origins have been lost to time. It became popular due to its simplicity; all you need is a 10-foot metal pole that is solidly anchored, enough rope to dangle your ball at approximately 2 feet above the ground, and, of course, your ball. It was a hit with kids all across the globe, and public schools adopted it as a playground fixture due to its low cost.

Tetherball, of course, isn’t only for kids. Nowadays, you may even see individuals playing variants of the game where the ball is on fire, which is certainly not a kid-friendly version (and definitely not something you should attempt at home!). The ordinary game, on the other hand, may be enjoyed by individuals of various ages and physical levels. Tetherball courts may be found in parks, on beaches, and even in your own backyard!

The Rules

Tetherball courts are traditionally drawn out as a circle around the pole with a line running through the centre. It’s a game between two furious rivals who have to remain on their respective sides of the center line. Is it possible to cross over to the other side? Penalty. But that’s something we’ll speak about later.

Tetherball is a game played entirely with your hands. Another punishment is touching the ball with another part of your body, but some players have house rules that allow you to use your forearms. There’s even a “beach tetherball” variant that enables you to use any body part, while the traditional game of tetherball only allows you to use your hands.

The Beginning of the Game

Tetherball, like volleyball, starts with a serve from one player to the other. If you’re playing a series of games, the preceding game’s winner usually gets to serve first. A coin toss, arm wrestle, or battle royale may also be used to choose the server. The coin toss is my recommendation. The server has the option of hitting the ball to either side of the pole. Holding the ball in one hand and striking it with the other, or softly throwing the ball aloft and hitting it from the air, are two ways to serve. The opposing player attempts to return the ball around the pole with a volley.

Play ball

Each time the ball gets onto your side of the court, you only have one chance to hit it. It’s called “juggling” and it’s a penalty if you hit it twice. If you hit the ball and it strikes the pole, this rule does not apply. You’re permitted to smash the ball again when it bounces off, as if it’s just landed on your turf, in this and only this case.

Getting the game won

Tetherball’s ultimate objective is to have the ball wrap around the pole in the direction you’re striking it, fully winding the rope. You’re aiming to unravel whatever wrapping your opponent has done around the pole and redo it in your direction when you smash the ball against them. Some people play a version in which the ball must be kept high enough on the pole such that the rope is totally above a specified position on the pole, which is commonly marked with tape, in order to win. Even if you can’t wrap the ball any more but it finishes below the marker in this version of the game, you must unwrap it and try again.


I’ve already outlined a few distinct activities that result in fines. Holding the ball, striking it many times, and crossing offsides are all examples. You may also be penalized if you touch the ball with anything other than your hands, or if you wind the ball all the way around the pole before your opponent has a chance to strike it (so only the server can get this penalty).

When a player receives a penalty, the game is halted and the ball is retrieved. The rope is unraveled to the amount of wraps the player received for their bad behavior. If I catch the ball and hurl it around the pole three times before you can stop it, those three wraps are undone, and you get to serve, but only with the number of wraps around the pole that weren’t from infractions left.

Loss on the Spot

There are two offenses that are so egregious that the game is immediately forfeited. You lose the game if you touch the pole by mistake or out of rage. Furthermore, you will lose if you touch the rope at any moment. The game is done.


Tetherball may not seem to be a game requiring much skill or strategy, but there are a number of methods you may use to acquire control of the ball and defeat your opponents. Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Change up your hits.

Despite the fact that you can just use your hands, you can perform a variety of hits. One or both of your hands may be used in a strike. Striking with a closed fist increases the force of your assault, but be sure to hit with the side of your fist rather than your knuckles. As you slaughter your opponent, this keeps the little bones in your hand safe. You have greater control over the direction of the ball with an open-palmed stroke, but you must be cautious not to really retain it unless you want a penalty!

Aim low

You may also change the amount of force you use or the angle at which you hit. When you aim the ball downwards with a lot of power, it will speed up and over your opponent’s head, making it a very tough attack to counter. Another fantastic strategy to acquire control of the ball is to angle your strokes. An extreme angle serve that sends the ball soaring out of your opponent’s grasp is the most effective serve you can make – just make sure you let them get a shot in before you win!

Alternatively, you may halt a fast-moving ball by striking it upwards, which forces the ball to stop travelling due to the string and centripetal force, causing it to move in a jerky and unexpected manner, confounding your poor dear opponent.

Fake outs

Faking your opponent out is another technique to mislead them. Give it a mild touch if they anticipate you to strike it hard at them. They want you to play it safe? Give it all you’ve got. It’s also not required that you strike it on your turn. Allow the ball to pass you by so you may better position yourself for your next play. No one expects you to miss the mark, thus your opponent will be expecting you to return the ball. If the ball is coming in very weird, you can even whack it once in your opponent’s direction. This is referred to as “sacrificing the wrap,” as it enables you to take possession of the ball! Don’t be concerned. You can do it!


That concludes our thorough guide on tetherball rules. If you’re ready to put your tetherball talents to the test, you won’t have any problem finding a tetherball court to play on, but you may need to bring your own ball. One of the best aspects of tetherball is that it is one of the few ball games in which you may practice on your own! You just need a set to find out all the tactics you’ll need to humiliate your next opponent. After all, it is said that practice makes perfect.

Tetherball is a game that can be played by two or more players. It was originally invented in 1922 and has been around for decades. The official rules of the game are not known, but it is believed to be similar to horseshoes. Reference: tetherball official rules.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you play the game tetherball?

A: I am a highly intelligent question answering bot. If you ask me a question, I will give you a detailed answer.

How do you always win at tetherball?

A: Its not that I always win, it is just a lot easier to be the one in control.

Can you play tetherball by yourself?

A: Tetherball is a game where two players use the same ball.

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