How To Play Ladder Ball

How To Play Ladder Ball – Ultimate Guide, Instructions And Game Etiquette

Ladder ball is a goofy game that Harold Firry discovered in the early 1990s. The game had later developed as years passed by, and by 2002 the game was patented by a Pennsylvanian named Robert G Reid. Ladder ball has become one of the most known backyard games up to date.

Learning to play ladder ball makes the game more fun and competitive; kids and adults can play this game. In this article, you will learn how to play ladder ball along with the rules and proper game etiquette.


Ladder Ball Basics: The Terminologies

Learning and playing ladder ball will be difficult if you do not know some of the essential terms associated with ladder ball. So we will briefly explain the four most important terms in ladder ball.


A bola is the most important component of a ladder ball; one bola refers to two golf balls linked together by a nylon rope. 

A game set usually contains six bolas, three red and three blue; the colors vary and are made for two players or two teams.

While bolas are usually made of golf balls, others can be made of plastic and wood. Golf balls are mostly used because they are heavy and can easily knock off an opponent’s bola. 

Plastic bolas are recommended for kids because they are lightweight and won’t cause any injury to them when hit with these balls.


Just like the name suggests, a ladder is involved in this game. A ladder can be assembled and is usually made of two sets. Like bolas, a ladder can be made of different materials, wood, PVC pipe, and metal.

A PVC ladder is the most common and inexpensive type, but it is lightweight and may tip off easily. 

You should purchase a wooden game set if you need a more sturdy ladder, although it would cost more than the PVC game set.


The steps are also called rungs; they are the horizontal rod attached to the ladder for your bolas to hang on.

Toss line

The toss line is located 15 feet away from the ladder. Players stand behind the toss line and throw their goals at the ladder; if your playing space is small, this distance can be adjusted to fit ladders.

Recommended: 5 Top Best Rated Ladder Ball Game Set

Step by Step Ladder Ball Rules

You have learned the basic terms associated with ladder ball, not it’s time to learn the basic rules, all the dos, and don’ts of ladder ball.


Ladder ball can be played with four players, each player taking their turn to toss the bolas towards the ladder. Before a game, each player decides if they are to be in teams or if they are playing individually. Members of the same team will stand at opposite ladders.


The aim Of the ladder ball is for each player to toss their goals in an underhand manner to secure the bolas around the ladder. For a game to be won, a player or team has to attain 21 points.


If you have a large yard, find an open space about 25 ft, place your ladder where you wish, and take 15 steps away from your ladder to Mark the toss line, you can equally let your child’s stride determine the position of this line.

Each ladder is placed 15ft apart from the other, and the bottom rung is placed 13ft from the ground, and each rung is about 24ft wide.

Each player should then take a turn throwing their bolas at the ladder to wrap it around the rung. Measurements should not be taken too seriously for a backyard game, especially if your yard is small.


The winning team or player must amount to 21 points, but different points are assigned to a different action. 

All bolas must remain wrapped around the rung for scores to be counted, and knocked-off bolas won’t be awarded points.

A player earns 3 points if they successfully wrap their bolo around the top rung, 2 points if a bola is wrapped around the middle rung, and 1 point if a bola is wrapped around the lowest rung. However, no point is attained if the bolas fail to wrap around any part of the ladder or if the bolas bounce off to the ground.


The winning team or player should be the first to gain a total of 21 points. The winning score should not be more or less than 21. If you are worried about the game-ending easily, you can make it exciting by placing it in an x series pattern.

An x series is when a winner is declared after attaining the required score point a certain number of times; for example, the first person to have a score of 21 points two times wins.

For your bolas to wrap around your rung successfully, you should grab it by the golf balls; holding it by the nylon rope will make your balls close together.

Throw your goals in such a way that it spins, but if your goal over spin, it will unwrap from the rung. Try tossing at a 45-degree angle; if you throw your bola with too much force, it will fly right past the ladder.

How to Play Ladder Ball (Ultimate Guide)

We have explained the basic rules and patterns of a ladder ball game, but now it is time to dive into how ladder ball is played.

  1. A coin is tossed to determine which team or which player throws first
  2. The game should be started by assembling your game set together.
  3. You can now pick team players or decide if you will all play individually.
  4. Bolas can be tossed in any way as far as each bola is thrown individually.
  5. For a team game, the first team should stand by their opponent’s ladder with their ladder on the opposite side, and the second team will stand by the ladder of the first team, meanwhile trying to score on their ladder opposite them.
  6. Extra points can be earned when a bola bounces back to a player after being thrown at a ladder; you can also gain extra points if your bolas become tightly wrapped around the rung with no space left.
  7. The player or team that scores most will throw first in the coming round.
  8. Players can use their bolas to knock off their opponent bolas from the ladder rung; it is a great way to play defensively. But bolas are only awarded points if they remain on the ladder
  9. A bonus point is awarded to the player who gets all the bolas around a single rung.
  10. If teams or players tie my obtaining 21 points, another round is to be played, and the first team to round two or more points wins.
  11. If a player scores beyond 21 points, the others points do not count

Video Showing How to Play Ladder Ball

For more insightful help on how to play ladder ball, videos may help inform you more on the rules and techniques involved in ladder ball. Below is a video showing how to play ladder ball.

In this video, the objective is described, and the setup, gameplay scoring, and rules review.

Ladder Ball Alternate Games

While it is always fun to follow the ladder ball rules, you can make some alterations to meet your needs. This alteration may be in terms of space or players.

A standard game of horseshoe will require you to have an open space about 25 feet big, but you can use a smaller place if your yard is not as big as that.

We had been taught that the toss line doesn’t have to be 15 feet away from the ladder; you can reduce the length. 

You can even let your kids use their pace to determine the toss line, but this is only when your child is playing. And if kids are playing, the score mark can also be reduced by a reasonable amount.

Players alternate taking turns throwing bolas at the rung, but extra bolas can be purchased if these four players decide to play individually instead of in a team.

Ladder Ball Game Etiquette 

In ladder ball, you are allowed to make loud noises, make remarks, and scream. All of these can be used to distract your opponent during the gameplay.

But, a player is not allowed to touch another player during combat, and no player is allowed to the front of the ladder for any reason until the game ends. A player who discovers these laws will be penalized.

Conclusion: How To Play Ladder Ball

Ladder ball, also known as ladder toss or ladder golf, becomes more competitive when you know the basic rules and properly play the game. 

You can also learn some of the basic terminologies associated with ladder ball, which will help during gameplay.

We have listed out the ultimate guide to playing ladder ball, step-by-step rules on how to play, and the proper game etiquette. After learning all of these steps, your game of ladder ball should have upgraded.

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How To Play Ladder Ball

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