One of my favorite things about tetherball is that you can play it with a partner or play it alone. Growing up, I always enjoyed going to campgrounds and playgrounds that had a tetherball set. If you like this game too or would like to try it for the first time, there is no need to go anywhere other than your own backyard. I’m going to go over instructions that will walk you through making your very own tetherball set in your backyard. Let’s get started.
What Is Tetherball?
Tetherball is a game played by two people who hit a ball on a string in opposite directions until one of the players gets the string of the ball to wrap around the pole. Tetherball is very popular in schoolyards, summer camps, and playgrounds. It is uncertain when this game was invented, but because this game is similar to volleyball, it is believed to have been developed after volleyball was invented in 1895. Tetherball is also similar to the game called paddleball that is played in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, where a smaller ball is hung from a pole and hit with paddles.
Supplies Needed to Make a Homemade Tetherball Set
Before you begin building your own tetherball set, you will need several supplies. Some of the supplies you may be able to get for free, such as a tire, but overall it fairly economical to build your own tetherball set. Here are the supplies you will need:
- 1 tire
- 1 5/8 x 8 ft. 16 gauge galvanized steel line pole
- (2) 1 foot pieces of rebar
- Cement (180 pounds)
- 5/8 x 3 in. round swivel eye bolt snap
- 1/4 x 2 5/8 in. eye bolt
- 2 washers, lock washer, and nut (all 1/4 inch)
- 18 gauge galvanized wire
- Tetherball with rope
How to Build a Tetherball Set
Now it is time to get started on building your own homemade tetherball set. The tetherball set that I will be instructing you to build is a tetherball stand set with a tire base. This means that the base is anchored using the tire. Not only will this tetherball set be very fun, but it is also a great way to repurpose an old tire. Because the tire can roll, this DIY tetherball set will be portable. I will go over the details on how to install a tetherball pole, how to attach a tetherball to a pole, and how to write your children’s names in the cement. Let’s get started.
1. Drill Holes in Your Pole
Begin drilling holes into one of the ends of the pole, in a cross pattern. Since the ends of the pole are the same, it doesn’t matter which side you choose to drill. Your first hole should be about two inches from the bottom of the pole and the other hole should be five inches above that. Next, slide in the rebar and secure it with the galvanized wire. On the opposite end of the pole, drill a hole for the eye bolt and secure it with a washer and a ¼ inch nut.
2. Mix the Cement
Set the tire on a large garbage bag. This will prevent the cement from leaking out onto your yard. Use a shovel and bucket to mix the cement. Follow the directions that are on the sack of your cement.
3. Shovel the Cement into the Tire
Once you have mixed the cement, you can begin shoveling it into your tire. Next, set a large ladder next to the tire. This will help support the pole while the cement is drying. Stick the pole into the tire, making sure that the rebar end goes in first. Center the pole in the middle of the tire, and completely cover the rebar. Don’t worry if you get cement on the tire because it can be scraped off once it dries. Using a level, keep checking to make sure the pole is in the center. You may want to tie the pole to the ladder with wire. This will allow you to go on with your day without having to constantly watch the pole. However, make sure you stay nearby to keep checking on the cement and to make sure the pole is still level.
4. Write Your Kids’ Names in the Cement
After the cement has dried for three or four hours, you can write your children’s names in the cement. They may want to write their own name into the cement, depending on their age. Another option is to have them press their hand into the cement to make a handprint. This option is much easier than writing a name. Make sure you have allowed the cement to dry for a few hours before doing this step. You will want the cement to be semi-firm.
5. Attach the Tetherball to the Pole
The last step to building a tetherball set is attaching the tetherball to the tetherball pole. To do this, clip the snap bolt onto the eye bolt at the top of the pole, and tie the rope onto the swivel portion of the snap bolt. Now you can enjoy your new tetherball set! Later in this article, I will share some fun games to play with your new tetherball.
How to Build a Tetherball Court
Now that you have learned how to make a tetherball set, it is time to learn how to build a tetherball court. A tetherball court is where the tetherball set it placed. A tetherball court can be made for both outdoors or indoors. During the winter, it may be fun to put the tetherball court in your garage, if you have room. Here are the steps to building a tetherball court:
Build Your Tetherball Set
A tetherball court cannot be used without the tetherball. Before building your court, follow the steps above to build your own tetherball set.
Choose the Location
Decide where you would like to build the tetherball court. Make sure it is a level area. A flat driveway or grassy yard can make a great tetherball court.
Draw a Circle to Mark the Court
Draw a circle, about 10 feet in diameter, to mark your court. If the court will be on grass, use spray paint to mark the circle. If it will be on pavement, use chalk.
Place the Tetherball Set into the Center of the Circle
The next step is to place the tetherball set into the center on the circle. You may need to measure it to make sure you have it centered.
Mark a Line in the Center of the Circle
Draw a line through the center of the circle. This will allow each player to know where to stand.
Like I said earlier, this particular tetherball set does not cost that much to make. Below is an average of what each item should cost:
Tire – You should be able to get a tire for free. The next time you need to change a tire, save the old one.
Pole – $15
Rebar – $1.50
Wire – $2
Cement – $6
Hardware – $5
Tetherball – $15
Different Tetherball Games to Play
The official way to play tetherball is for two people to hit the ball back and forth while trying to make it wrap around the pole. However, there are some other fun ways to play tetherball. Remember to use your imagination, and feel free to make any new rules that you would like to adjust to the age of the players. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Yell Out a Category Each Time You Hit the Ball: Each time a player hits the ball, he/she must yell out a category. Categories could include a color, girl names, boy names, fruit, countries, etc. Each time the player has to say a different name. For example, he/she can’t say the same color twice. If the player misses calling out the name or says a name that has already been said, the other player gets a free hit. Once one of the players wraps the ball around the pole, you can start the game over.
- Use Paddles: Instead of using your hands, use sturdy paddles to hit the ball back and forth.
I have shared with you all that you need to know about tetherball including how to make your own tetherball set and court and a variation of games to play once you have your tetherball set assembled. I hope that this brief tutorial will help get you started and that you will have many days of backyard fun with your tetherball set. Just imagine all of the fun parties and get-togethers you can host with a tetherball set. And what a fun way to exercise for you and your family. One of the advantages of a tetherball set is that it is always set up and ready to be played. When you have an extra 10 minutes and want to blow off some steam after work or a hard day, you can simply walk right out to your own backyard and play tetherball by yourself or with a friend. Have fun and don’t forget to share your new tetherball court with friends, family, and neighbors.