Tetherball is a unique sport that offers a great workout for youngsters and adults alike. In this game, a ball similar to a volleyball is suspended by an 8 foot long rope that is attached to a pole that is 10 feet high. The game is played by two players, and each player is assigned his own area around the pole. It is a game that is easy to play and is usually popular among summer camps and schools. As mentioned earlier, the game is not official, but once the basics of playing this game are learned and the rules understood, then the game can become as popular as volleyball or tennis.
Rules and Regulations
The purpose of this game is to have the ball wrapped around the pole completely in one direction when struck (hit or punched) by the hand, such that it can no longer be swung by the opposite player. The person who hits first is always at an advantage, which is why one match is not enough to declare the winner. Matches of odd numbers, with a victory margin of 2 games, must be played so as to declare the ultimate winner. After setting up the equipment, each player can choose their side, after a coin flip that will decide who serves first.
- To start off, a player holds the ball in one hand and hits it with the other, so that it swings around the rope in a direction chosen by him, i.e., clockwise or counter-clockwise. Ideally, a good player will serve in a manner that the ball cannot be touched by his opponent, giving him a complete advantage in the game. Once the ball has been served, it cannot be stopped.
- The player hits back the ball, as one does in volleyball, and tries to get the ball to wind around the pole in the opposite direction, for him to win. If the ball consecutively wraps four times around the pole, by the server, then ideally the server should give the opponent a chance to strike back. This can alter the game, and take it to a whole new level.
- The player who wraps the tethered ball to the pole in one direction, so that it can no longer be swung further by either player, wins.
There are mainly four types of penalties that are applicable while playing the game. These include:
- Player stepping off his area, and ending up in his opponent's area. This may be an unintentional occurrence, but a penalty nonetheless.
- Players are not allowed to touch the rope while playing the game.
- Stopping the ball and serving again is not allowed.
- During a player's turn, he is not allowed to punch the ball more than once. Hitting it more than once qualifies as a foul. In some cases, the ball may hit the pole and under such circumstances the player is allowed to continue.
- Holding the pole qualifies for an immediate penalty, which means the game is lost by the player who held it.
With the exception of the last penalty, if any of the above-mentioned fouls are committed, the ball is stopped in its position, and served by the opponent, from the point where it was last wrapped. On the occurrence of three fouls by a single player, the game is won by the opponent. In case both players commit a foul at the same time, the game is stopped at that point. The ball is taken three feet away from the pole and held by both the players. The players release the ball together such that it hits the pole, and thereafter, either player can choose to hit it depending on the direction of the ball.
Tetherball is an interesting game. Once you have understood the rules, you will surely enjoy it. Make an attempt to popularize it enough for it to become an official sport.