Have you seen a tetherball pole on your playground? Learn how to play tetherball at www.GameOnFamily.com. Great, active game. Game on!

How to Play Tetherball

A popular playground game that is part of many childhoods is tetherball. Parents may remember their tetherball sets at their schools, and children will be happy to know that this game can be played at home, too! This is a fun way to practice your hand-eye coordination skills and just to have fun with your friends.

According to the Playground Professionals, the tetherball game originated in the 9th century in the areas where Russia and the Ukraine are today – that’s over a thousand years ago, so this is a very, very old game! Over the years the rules changed and different types of balls are used all over the world. In the USA a big ball is used, but in countries like the UK and South Africa people play it with a smaller tennis type of ball while hitting it with paddles.

If you haven’t played tetherball before, you’re in luck! We’ll teach you how to play this super fun game in a matter of minutes. All you have to do is follow these easy tetherball rules and you’ll be balling in no time!

Tetherball Setup

You will need a pole that has been planted firmly into the ground so that it doesn’t move around when you hit it. Attached to this pole should be a string with a ball secured to the end. This ball will be the size and weight of a volley ball, but you can adjust it any way you want. You will also need a friend to play with you.

How to Play Tetherball

  1. The two players have to decide who goes first. You can do a coin toss or think of your own way to determine this.
  2. The player who goes first steps into the court and yells, “Side and ways!” before hitting the ball off the post.
  3. During the first serve, the opponent is not allowed to touch the ball before the server has touched it again.
  4. The opponent then has to try and serve the ball back to the player by changing the direction. The goal here is to try and hit the ball in such a way that the other player can’t serve it back and change the direction it’s going in.
  5. Faults can be declared if players do the following: step into the opponents half, by touching the rope instead of touching the ball, hitting the ball twice before it has fully circled the pole, or if the ball strikes the pole. After a fault is committed, the player who didn’t commit it gets to serve the ball during a new round.
  6. The person who wins is the one who hits the ball at a 5 ft mark so that it hits the pole. The game usually goes on for 2 rounds before a final winner is declared.

Tetherball Game Variations

You can play this game tournament style if you have a big group of friends. Play more than one game at a time and let winners face off against winners. You can also try to play the variety mentioned above where a tennis ball and paddles are used. If you do this, the same rules apply. 

Tetherball Video Tutorial