What Are the Rules for Playing Footbag or Hacky Sack?

by Outdoor Diversions | Last Updated:   10 months ago
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If you haven’t played Hacky Sack before you may be wondering what the rules are since every game or hobby will have at least a social set of rules to keep the game fun and exciting. This is no different in footbag and it is a pretty simple overall set of core rules for non-competitive play.

What are the rules to Hacky Sack? The rules to overall play within groups is pretty straight forward with no hands or arms and basically to not be a ball hog and to have a good time. These rules are basic but they really expose the philosophy within the game to enjoy each others and outdoors.

Lets look at the core set of rules for the community and then we can dive into the rules for the Official Footbag Rules as they definitely have differences. These rules differ though more as sports and competition require much more frameworks so people can’t find a way to abuse them and score higher and more.

The Basic Community Rules to Footbag Play

  • No Arms: Arms are not allowed. However, shoulders are generally accepted in most circles.
  • No Hands: Hands are most definitely not allowed.
  • Keep it in the Air: Keep the bag in the air at all costs, if it should hit the ground you then start again. Your goal is to get as many kicks as a group or individual before touching the ground.
  • Don’t Hog the Footbag: Try not to hog the hacky sack from the other players. Who likes THAT guy?!
  • Be Courteous: When serving to someone else, please use the “Courtesy Toss”. This is just a light toss of the hacky sack to the knee.
  • Have Fun: Sure, the game of Footbag is a sport, but it is still meant to be a fun game. Just have fun with it!

As you can see from these guidelines above none are overly complex and are much more oriented to ensuring all who play get to have a good time. This along with the amazing eye to foot coordination can even help with other sports like soccer where that eye to foot coordination is very needed.

The Official Footbag Rules

The International Footbag Committee (IFC) helps to work with the International Footbag Players Association (IFPA) the rules and guides the changes to the rulebook over time. This process is similar to other sports and allows for a governing body to make sure rules stay up to date and enforced.

The General Goals for the IFC:

  1. To promote and encourage the cooperative spirit of footbag games.
  2. To promote footbag throughout the world and encourage the establishment of new footbag clubs and/or associations, advising them of footbag activities and general management.
  3. To achieve acceptance of footbag as a legitimate competitive sport.
  4. To provide a forum for the discussion of all aspects of play, and to arbitrate when conflicts arise.
  5. To establish and uphold a tournament standard for all footbag competition worldwide.
  6. Peace through play.

The IFC Bylaws

The purpose of the Bylaws is to help influence the direction of the footbag game in general including the development and refinement of rules, and when necessary to vote on major issues, problems, and rule changes or modifications.

General Rules

The Article I Section actually outlines how they make decisions and what specific rules that aren’t related to specifically to play. For example, this is where the footbag specifications like the diameter and weight minimums and maximums are listed.

This also lists all the classifications for players and where or what division they can play in based on a large variety of selectors from Age, Gender, Skill, and more.

The final part is the protest rules and how to lodge one should you have an issue. Similar to any other sport there will always be complaints and handling them well is important when you are growing.

Footbag Consecutive Rules

Footbag consecutive is played with one or more players where your objective is to keep your footbag in the air by only using your feet and knees.

In most games the object is to kick the footbag as many times as possible before a drop or foul should occur. This game has a timed event also where there is a set time period in which to achieve the highest number of kicks.

Check out the rules for Footbag Consecutive Here

Footbag Net Rules

Footbag net is a court-based game played either one-on-one or two-on-two (like tennis with singles or doubles) over a 5 ft. net. It combines basic kicks, serves, spikes and digs much like volleyball and tennis would.

Each player or team then will attempt to score points while serving. In singles play, two kicks are allowed per side. In doubles play, three kicks are allowed per side and teammates have to alternate footbag contact.

The court standard is 20 ft. wide by 44 ft. in long and features a net dividing the court up into two 22 ft. deep courts for play. This court is then also split down the centerline to form four equal serving quadrants.

Check out the rules for Footbag Net Here

Footbag Golf Rules

This is a version which orients well to starters and new players as it doesn’t rely on consecutive hits. Instead, footbag golf is a recreational version of the sport for everybody, regardless of age, gender or ability.

Your objective in footbag golf is to cover a set course from beginning to end while performing the fewest amount of kicks of your footbag.

Each of your kicks is made from where the last footbag kick came to rest. Footbag golf is a game that expects high standards of etiquette and courtesy.

Check out the rules for Footbag Golf Here

Footbag Freestyle Rules

Footbag Freestyle is a highly specialized version of footbag that focuses on technical skill, in terms of both depth and breadth.

Additionally, some competition formats emphasize artistic ability, where players present a visually appealing routine to a panel of judges and to an audience. 

Freestyle footbag was considered more of a sideline activity among players but it evolved into a formal competitive discipline, with a focus on artistry and presentation.

Check out the rules for Footbag Freestyle Here

Final Thoughts on the Rules to Hacky Sack

The need for rules is seen in all games, whether professional, like football or soccer, or in less professional and more hobby based.

Somehow as humans we are always trying to find that crack in the rules to give you the chance to win and beat your opponent.

This is one reason why I love to focus on the circle side or freestyle version of footbag as it focuses on working either totally on your own to become better at control.

Or in circle, you work as a group and there can be no winner you all just strive to go as long as possible and less on showboating or preening.

This is why I believe so many pot heads end up loving Hacky Sack as they are laid back and typically are more happy to show others a cool new trick they learned and not trying to peacock and showboat for social points.

I love playing and I fell in love with the ability to play anytime as a footbag is super light and small which makes it simple to take with me on hikes and while outside I can bust it out anytime I feel like a break and play.

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