Before you start your ladder ball game you must make a toss line 5 spaces from the ladder. The toss line is regulated at 15 feet away, but most of the time people make their own toss line rules. Adjusting your toss line distance allows children to play at a reasonable length away from the target.
Each ladder ball team gets 3 bolas to toss in 3 rounds. Choosing who goes first in the game is up to you. But whoever goes first must throw all of their bolas before the other team's turn is up to throw.
There are only two rules in ladder-ball when throwing the bolas:
To win you must get an exact score of 21.
If you score over 21 in a round the points of that round do not count. You must get a total of 21 at your final throw. If the game ends in a tie the players will play as many overtimes as needed until they win by 2 points ahead of the other team. This rule only applies in overtime.
Ladder-ball etiquette is one of the best parts of the game. You want to say bad remarks, make funny faces and do stupid things to make your opponent miss. But pushing or touching is never permitted.
The team that is not throwing bolas is also not permitted to walk over to ladder until all three bolas have been thrown and the round is over.
Scoring and Points
- After each team is finished throwing their three bolas the scoring is based on the number of bolas still hanging or wrapped around the ladder steps. The other players can use a defense technique of knocking off the opposing team's bola or making the other team's bola wind around a ladder step. If done successfully the points the other team would have earned do not count.
- Points are determined on what ladder step your bola is hanging from. Each step has a different point value. Top step is 3 points. 2nd step is 2 points and the bottom step is a single 1 point. But player can make up extra points if he or she gets all 3 bolas on any ladder step -- even the same one 3 times. You will earn an extra 1 point for this. But a player can also score an extra 10 points if you get all 3 bolas on the top step (the 3 point step)
Teams and Partners
In ladder-ball, you can have a max of 4 players a game by alternating rounds with your partner. You can also buy more bolas and play with 6 balls on each round. You can always buy a second ladder for two separate games, making it a great games for picnics and tailgating competitions.
Safety and Protection
- NEVER throw or swing a bola around or toward other people, because of the possibility of an injury, especially to little children.
- The bolas are made to be held together very strongly, but not to be yanked on by two different sides, which might break the bola.
- ADULT SUPERVISION is necessary for children playing ladder-ball, to prevent the chance of choking or wrapping bolas around body parts.
- These ladders are not made out of metal and are not made for getting something out of your kitchen cabinet. Standing on a bola ladder step may cause it to break.
Other Terms for Ladder-Ball
Ladder ball goes by many, many other names, including: