How Bean Bag Toss Works

Tips to Improve Your Bean Bag Toss Score

Although fun, bean bag toss can be humbling ... especially when your hand can't deliver what your ego promised: a bag in the hole. Don't despair. All you need is a little practice. You can start by mastering the basics.

First, select a comfortable stance. Whether you place a dominant foot forward as you throw or stand with feet shoulder-width apart, the motion should be fluid and followed through, like a golf swing (or tossing a Frisbee). Keep in mind, however, that you have the option to either throw underhand or overhand, and this requires some trial-and-error. One other note: Beware of the foul line. Cross it, and even a perfect throw won't count.

Second, decide how you'll throw the bag. Will you simply grab it around the middle and hope for the best? Not if you're serious about scoring. Here are a few tried-and-true variations [source: iCornhole]:

  • Chicago Fold: Hold the bag at one end and let the filler drop to the bottom. Then fold it in half -- and then half again.
  • Paducah Pancake: Smooth and flatten the bag, then throw it like a saucer (or pancake) toward the platform.
  • Half Paducah Pancake: Smooth and flatten the bag, but this time fold it in half before throwing it like a pancake.
  • Sacramento Sling: Using two fingers, hold the bag by a corner or edge, and toss it with a gentle underhand.
  • Omaha Overhead, also known as Air Mail: Wad up the bag and shoot it like a basketball toward the hole. This is arguably the most difficult shot to master.
  • Frisco Fling: Using fingertips and thumb, grasp bag in the middle of one side, moving the filler to the bottom of the bag. Then, toss it underhand with the top of your hand above the bag.

Once you've found a style you like, perfect your technique. There's a sweet spot on the platform about 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) in front of the hole. Concentrate on hitting that spot rather than the hole itself. If your bag hits that spot with forward velocity, it will – with regularity – slide right into the hole. This is called the slider.

Finally, if you really want to oust your opponents, master a few defensive moves [source: O'Shea]:

  • The Blocker: Pitch the bag so that it drops near a hole and prevents an opponent from using a slider.
  • The Push: Use a pitch to nudge your bag into the hole or, alternatively, push a blocker out of the path.