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How the heck do you DO that?

LESSON #16: Play Cornhole

September 8, 2010

Yard games are an essential element of the summer cookout.

They are perhaps THE most important element - aside from the friends and family, potato salad, and beer.

Tragically, we lost one of our beloved yard games in 1988 with the banning of lawn dart sales in the U.S. Smuggling in contraband Yard Darts was just too risky and we needed a new, similar game STAT!

Of course, there was still the game of horseshoes, but housewives revolted against this one citing that the pits were just too unattractive to be permanent fixtures in their suburban yards. It took away from the begonias.

The game of croquet then made a failed attempt at a comeback. Parents just weren't willing to arm their kiddos with wooden mallets. Who can blame them?

Badminton, while extremely entertaining, just takes to darn long to set up. There is geometry involved in getting that net straight, and nobody needs that when they're supposed to be at a fun party.

So that is how cornhole became so popular. It has literally swept the nation - becoming a main event at cookouts, parties and tailgates everywhere.

Not quite sure how to play? No worries! With the following instructions from, you'll be throwing like a pro in time for this weekend's festivities!

What you'll need:

step 1 - Set it up

Set up the cornhole boards 27 feet apart, front edge to front edge. (The actual holes in the boards will be 33 feet apart.) The distance is slightly different for junior rules--space the boards out 21 feet apart instead.

step 2 - Prepare to throw

Stand to either the left or right of your board, and face the opposite board. (In doubles play, you must stand across from your teammate, so you actually share your pitcher's board with someone from the opposite team.) You may throw the bag from anywhere within the depth of your board. Once you step into your "pitcher's box" you have 20 seconds to throw the bag. The players on the opposite board must stand at least two feet behind their board during your turn.

step 3 - Toss

Aim for the hole on the board across from you with an underhand toss. If the bag makes it in the hole, you will get 3 points. If it hit's the board and stays on without a bounce up, its 1 point. Any bags your opponents points on cancel each other out. Only non canceled corn bags are counted in the score .

EX: You score one in the hole and two on the board. Your opponent gets one in the hole. Your score would then be 2 points, one for each on the board. The 3 point in the hole gets canceled due to your opposition making it in too.

step 4 - Alternate throws

Alternate throws. In doubles play, the same board's players alternate until all 4 bags have been tossed. Play then moves to the opposite board's players, who alternate throws until their 4 bags have been tossed. In singles play, the contestants alternate each throw, but pitch from the same board.

step 5 - Rotate

Rotate the first pitcher in each inning. The team or player who scored during the last inning is the first pitcher of the new inning. If both scored the same number or neither scored at all, alternate with the second pitcher from the previous inning.

step 6 - Reach 21 points

Continue to play until the first player or team reaches 21 points. Whoever gets there first is the winner.

Dominici may be reached at



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