As drinking games go, beer pong is a good one. An ideal game to play with friends at your home bar. Just remember it is a drinking game, so play responsibly. A game played with two teams, it does involve a certain level of skill. So what are some good tips for improving at beer pong?
Just like any game or sport that involves any level of skill, the obvious tip would be to practice. However there must be some good concrete tips that will help with improving. Something that would give you the edge over your opponents.
What Are Some Good Tips For Improving At Beer Pong?
The first thing to perfect is your technique, this will significantly improve your game. Bad technique will hinder your game. First is to find the right grip on the ball, try different grips to see which feels best. Second, your stance and throw action is important. Think of darts when you are finding your stance and throw action. Third, perfect your throwing technique standing firm and using the power of your arms. A lower arc throw is better than a high arc throw.
I will explain these points in more detail, all designed to improve your beer pong game.
What Is Beer Pong?
Beer pong is a drinking game that involves a table, two sets of ten cups and a set of ping pong balls. Each set of ten cups are placed either end of the table, set in a triangle. The cups are traditionally filled with beer which will get consumed as part of the game.
There are a few stories of how this game came about, which is the correct one, who knows. But, I like this particular story that it originated by accident in Dartmouth College, New Hampshire, US. It is said that during a party some Dartmouth frat brothers were playing ping pong. While playing, other party goers were putting down their beer cups on the table.
The players started aiming the ball at the beer cups and Dartmouth Pong was born. It is still played at Dartmouth to this day. The game is also known as Beirut, the reason for this is not clear. But said to be based on the Lebanese Civil War and the Capital Beirut being bombed.
Another name for the game is throw pong, but I will just stick with beer pong.
How Do You Play Beer Pong?
There are two teams, each team has one or two players. I see no reason why you can’t have more players on a team, I won’t tell anyone. Each player on the team take turns in throwing a ball at the opponents cups. When a ball successfully lands in a cup, the cup is removed and the team who’s cup it is has to drink the contents.
Once all players from the team have taken their shot, the other team take their turn. The winners are the team that eliminate all their opponents cups. And the losing team may be a little less steady on their feet than when they started.
A simple game that has a fair few rules.
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First you need a table, a table tennis table is ideal, but any table is fine. The best size is 8 feet (2.4m) long, but it can be played on a 6 foot (1.8m) table. There are actual beer pong tables made for the job, which conveniently fold away.
Second, a set of twenty cups are needed, these are the disposable plastic cups. Normally around 16oz (473ml) are best.
Third are the ping pong balls, it is best to get a set so there are enough to go around. Sometimes a set will come with the table, or cups.
Beer Pong Rules
There are official rules that are used for beer pong tournaments. There are also rules for casual play, which are the rules played at a home bar for example. However rules do vary considerably with some being dropped and others being added.
The rules set out below are a general guide for playing a casual game of beer pong, let’s keep it fun.
Beer pong is a simple set up, arrange ten cups at each end of the table in a triangle. The formation should be 4, 3, 2, 1, with the single cup closet to the opponents. Think of how pool balls are set up. Each cup is filled on third with beer, or any other drink.
Eye To Eye
The game gets started with one player from each team competing to go first. While keeping eye contact each player will aim to get their ball in an opponents cup. They keep throwing until one makes a cup, then that team will go first.
The game line is the end of the table. When taking a shot, the players elbow must not go over the game line. This is to avoid a player leaning to far over the table and therefore making the shot easier.
A player can use any bounce shot and if they score then the cup is removed along with another one of their choice. A bounce can be off the table, the wall, the ceiling or any other object. Not easy to do, but rewarding if you pull it off.
If both players get their balls in a cup on the same go, the cups are removed as normal. However the balls are returned and they get a second shot.
Behind The Back Shot
When a player takes a shot, if they miss but the ball remains on the table, they can grab it back. This means they can shoot again, but the shot has to be taken behind the back.
During the game the players from each team can request and island cup. This is another cup placed on the table which is separate from the other cup formation. If a player successfully shoots the island it is removed with another cup of that players choice.
If a player scores on two consecutive goes, they can announce they are heating up. When they take their next turn, if they make the shot, they call fire. This will allow them to continue shooting until they miss.
At any point during the game, the cups can be tidied up. They may have moved out of formation and can be re-set.
When a team is about to start their go, before they take a shot, they can request a re-rack. This not the same a tidying up. A request can be made to a cup formation of their choice. A straight line, a diamond, or smaller triangle. Only two re-racks per team is allowed in one game.
When a team clears all their opponents cups, they haven’t quite won yet. The other team have one last chance to clear the other teams cups. If they fail, then the first team are now the winners. However if they do manage to clear the cups, then the game goes into overtime.
In overtime three cups are arrange at each end of the table in a triangle. The game continues as before with the team that cleared the ten cups first going first.
These are the basic rules, but as I said there are variations with more or less rules being applied.
What Are Some Good Tips For Improving At Beer Pong?
Practise is going to improve your game. Just like any other activity or sport, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Nevertheless it is important to get a few things right before you practise. otherwise you may be practising a bad technique, which won’t help your game.
How you hold the ball may make a difference to how you play. A lot of experienced players hold the ball between thumb and middle finger, a two finger grip. That is not to say you have to hold it this way. Other players use a three finger grip where they add the index finger too.
Again it doesn’t mean you have to adopt this grip. The best thing to do is find the grip you feel comfortable with and feels the most natural. Throw a few balls with one grip, then try another grip, you will soon find the right one for you.
Similarly with your grip, your stance is important too. Standing a way that doesn’t feel natural will not help your game. Adopt a similar stance to darts, if you have a darts stance then that will be your best position. If you don’t play darts you can still borrow the three basic positions.
These are a middle stance, side stance and a front stance, I explain this in this post about improving your darts game. Try each stance and see how they feel. Pick the one that feels right and adjust it slightly if needed. Get your stance right and it will improve your game considerably.
The throw action again resembles darts, except you are throwing slightly downwards as opposed to straight. The throw should be executed from the arm and not the wrist. Flicking the wrist will prove a less accurate throw, so keep the wrist firm.
The upper are should be where it feels comfortable, some will find a 45° angle or less from the torso. Others may find a 45° plus angle is better, even a 90° angle from the torso might fit the bill.
The lower arm is where the work is done, this is the part of the arm that is in movement when you shoot. A clean forward motion is best, keep it smooth and continuous. Also follow through with the complete motion, don’t stop suddenly or the shot won’t be accurate.
The type of throw you execute will determine on the type of accuracy you achieve. Throwing the ball slightly up which would be a high arc shot will be less accurate. Throw a lower arc shot, this is a more direct shot and will be more accurate.
Adjust your arc according to what feels natural, start low and work towards a medium arc, this is possibly the best shot.
This is important when practising, get use to a low to mid arc shot and perfect it. You will find more success with this type of shot.
As the saying goes, ‘keep your eye on the prize’, don’t take your eyes off it. To have the most success aim for one cup in particular. Keep your eye firmly fixed on that cup, if you take your eye off it, you will miss it.
If shutting one eye helps, then do so, but always look at the cup you are aiming at. Also don’t tense up, stay relaxed while throwing.
Follow these tips and perfect them and you will become a formidable player feared by your opponents (slightly dramatic).
Beer pong is a great game to play with friends, it really sits well with a home bar, as long as you have the room. The good thing about investing in a proper beer pong table is that you can get one that folds away. Store it away in a cupboard and only bring it out when a game is to be had.
The cups are disposable, although could be washed if undamaged. The balls should last a while, and at least the cups and balls are inexpensive. However, there is one part of the game that may need a tweak.
The balls will pick up dust and dirt, and who wants to down a drink those balls have landed in. Not to hygienic, so fill the cups with water instead. ‘How will this help you fool’ I hear you shout. The water stays in the cups throughout and is poured away at the end. Use separate cups, or better still glasses for the beer, or whatever drink you use.
I hope my tips help you to improve you beer pong game, remember get your technique right first, the practise. If you are already a seasoned pro, the share your thoughts with any of your own tips. Above all, enjoy your beer pong.