From Academic Kids

Missing image
A crocheted rainbow-colored footbag

A footbag is a small bean bag or sand bag used as a ball in a number of sports and games. It is typically controlled by the feet, but in some sports every part of the body except the hands and arms may be used. The term footbag is also the generic name for the sports which use the footbag. The main varieties are footbag freestyle, footbag net, and circle kick. Both the footbag and the sports that use it are sometimes referred to as hacky sack (or hackey sack).

Footbag, as an organized sport, is governed by the International Footbag Players Association, a non-profit organization. The IFPA hosts a non-commercial, non-profit website at The rules of professional play, schedule of events, and results of past events are online at the website. It's a great resource for contacting people who play in your area, viewing trick demos, and watching footage from competitions.

The same game as hackysack has also been practiced with a toy called a Koosh Ball.


History of footbag

Similar games had been played for centuries in Asia (Kemari) and North America. However, modern footbag was conceived by John Stalberger and Mike Marshall in Oregon City, Oregon in 1972. They coined two terms: "hacky sack" (sometimes spelled hackey sack) which referred specifically to their product, and "footbag" which is the generic name for the game and the product. "Hacky sack" is now trademarked by Wham-O and should technically not be used to refer to the game or the bean bag. In reality, the term "hacky sack" is almost always used, and many people have no idea what a "footbag" is.


Although some argue that a certain pair of shoes is necessary, the only piece of equipment that is really required in order to play footbag is a footbag. These come in many styles, colors, and varieties. Some footbags have simple cotton exteriors, while others are made of three to fifteen panels of suede. Some are filled with sand; others, plastic pellets. Many footbags have designs on them, either geometric or pictorial (a happy face, for example). Some footbags are specialized for footbag net; these are generally not good for playing freestyle footbag.

Part of the appeal and popularity of footbag is due to this simplicity of equipment. A footbag can be bought for under $5, easily stored in a pocket, and later retrieved for a quick game of freestyle. Most other sports, by comparison, are not nearly as portable.

Of course, advanced equipment is available for those who want or need it. 32-panel footbags filled with sand aid stalling and more complex tricks; these can cost as much as $30. Additionally, many professional players wear Rod Laver tennis shoes while playing.

Footbag freestyle

Footbag freestyle is a footbag sport where players demonstrate their abilities by performing sequences of difficult moves. The performance is judged for choreography, difficulty, variety, and execution.

Freestyle tricks

Tricks performed while playing freestyle are made up of stalls and dexes. A stall is stopping the footbag on some part of the player. The footbag can then be "set" up into the air again. Stalls are usually accomplished on the top of the foot or on the inside in a cross body position (with your leg behind you), although one can also stall a footbag on either side of the foot, the knee, the chest, or the head. Dexing is moving a part of your body around the footbag while it is in the air.

The scoring in footbag is made up of points called "adds" these adds are awarded for a variety of different things such as a delay (stall), a dex (circling the bag), body (ducking the bag, jumping, or spinning), cross body, or unusual surface. Through these different "adds" all of footbag's tricks can be described.

Footbag net

In footbag net, players (either playing for themselves, or with a partner) move a footbag back and forth across a five-foot-high net. This game combines elements of tennis, badminton, and volleyball. Specifically, the court dimensions and layout are similar to those of bandminton; the scoring is similar to old scoring system in volleyball (you must be serving to score); and serves must be diagonal, as in tennis. Footbag net games can be played to eleven or fifteen points, although the winners must win by at least two points.

Circle kick

Circle kick is the more common version of footbag, and it is the game people are referring to when they talk about "hacking the sack" (or any other variant on the term "hacky sack"). In this game, players stand in a circle, do tricks with the footbag, and keep it moving around the circle. A 'hack' is achieved when every person in the circle contributes a kick.

Variations on circle kick


In one variation, commonly called peg, a number of kicks is chosen. After that many successful kicks are made, whoever catches the footbag may throw it at, or peg, another player. If a player grabs the footbag before the predetermined number of kicks, any or all of the other players get a free "peg" on him or her.


In a very similar variation, called kill, a number of kicks is chosen; for example, two-hit kill uses two hits. Players try to make two consecutive hits, after which they can hit the footbag at another player. If the footbag hits the player, he or she is "killed" and out of the game. However, if the player successfully hits the footbag, the footbag is put back into play and the player is not out.

Kill differs from peg in that in kill, players have to make (for example) two consecutive hits by themselves before they can "kill" another player; in peg, all players contribute to this number. In both games, higher numbers of hits make the game more challenging.

Washington Rules

Another variant is commonly known as Washington Rules because it is commonly traced to the West Coast. In this version, when a player drops the footbag or errs in any other way, he must go to the middle of the circle. If he errs again all the other players are allowed to hit and kick him until he can break out of the circle. If another player drops the bag or otherwise errs, the player in the centre is allowed out and the latter player takes the middle position.

Guiltless Shred

Guiltless shred is an advanced game where players agree to take turns in a specific direction around the circle and only perform tricks above a 3 add rating. Players who perform a trick with less than three adds are said to have guilted and are encouraged to pass the bag to the next player. Players who perform a one add trick or a kick are said to have have tilted and must end their turn and pass the bag. The origins of this form of play started when professional players were doing one trick after another for 5 minutes or more. Some players felt guilty using easy tricks to keep the run going, thus the term guiltless was born. This rule increased the difficulty for advanced players and gave a more equal time with the bag to each participant in the circle. Other terms relevant to guiltless shred circles include tripless (playing without using three add tricks), fearless (playing without four add tricks), BSOS (Bee Sauce, hitting a trick both sides in one string), and 'the' (missing a trick in someway). "The" is probably the most confusing of the terms. It was originally noted that "the" in english is a pretty vacuous word, much like a trick done poorly is pretty vacous of value. The creation of guiltless shred has advanced the sport of footbag at an incredible rate since the mid 90s, and served as a goal for many of the first few generations of players. Guiltlessness is no longer the pinnacle of footbag, but now serves as an entry point for players looking to compete professionally.

Guiltless Learning Tools
Shred Session
  • To get a feel of what guiltless shred is like, without having to put in lots of time learning the tricks, there is an online flash video game[1] ( that lets a user link tricks like the pros. Damon Mathew made this game from real tricks as performed by real players. The original concept of the game only had two tricks, and was animated by hand. At the peak of the game's popularity in 2001, the game kept highscores, featured more tricks, and tracked run statistics as thousands of players from around the world competed against each other for the top spot. This game has helped many players learn what tricks should look like, and the timing needed to string big combos. It's been a great way to pass time over the years, and a wonderful resource for the community. The finished game was lost in a series of unfortunate accidents, and today only exist on the CD ROMS distributed to promote the sport in 2001. Today the "Original Recipe" can be enjoyed exactly as it was when it was released to the public in 1999.

External links

pl:Footbag fi:Footbag


Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools