Corn Hole Rules

By Jim Katula

Corn Hole is a popular game that is played at picnics, parties and in leagues throughout the United States. Not a physically demanding game, Corn Hole is similar to horseshoes with less risk of injury from thrown implements due to the use of bean bags instead of chunks of metal. The basics of the game are simple, but strategies for winning the game are quite complex.

Basics of the Game

The object of the game is simple: get to 21 points before your opponent(s). The scoring platform is typically made of wood or plastic, and it has a six-inch-diameter hole in it. A bean bag that is thrown into the hole is worth three points while a bean bag landing on the platform is worth one point. Tosses are alternated between opponents, and points can cancel themselves out. For instance, a red bean bag landing on the platform can be canceled by a black bean bag landing on the platform. Thus, no points would be scored. Bean bags are thrown from a foul line that is 33 feet away from the front edge of the platform.

In the Hole or On the Platform

Many techniques have been tried as to how the highest score can be achieved in this game. With four bean bag throws each round, a maximum of 12 points can be earned. Depending on the level of the competition, the philosophy must change. Junior level competition may focus on scoring individual points as often as possible. Landing bean bags on the platform can be an effective strategy when playing for fun or at this level. Even if a team lands one bag in the hole per round, if the other team lands all four bags on the platform, it will score one point.

Throwing Style

The easiest adjustment to make when learning the game is the throwing style. A bean bag spinning vertically in the air will tend to roll off of the platform. A bean bag spinning horizontally through the air will "splat" on the platform and stay. This "splat" sound is actually what makes games of corn hole so recognizable, much like the horseshoe hitting the stake.

This flight pattern is achieved by throwing the bean bag with an underarm motion, but a flick of the wrist is necessary at the point of release. This action is similar to throwing a frisbee. A vertically spinning bean bag is thrown underhand, as well, only with no wrist action, much like slow-pitch softball.

About the Author

Jim Katula works as a physical education teacher at a private day school for children with autism, behavioral and emotional disorders. Katula has spent the last year working as a freelance writer for the Southtown Star newspaper in suburban Chicago. His articles have been published in the NATA News, the Southtown Star, and primarily on eHow on the Internet.