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Ladder Ball Throwing Technique – Tossing Rules, Distance & Scoring

Ladder Ball Throwing Technique

Ladder ball is a pretty fun game to play at home parties or while hanging with friends. This entertaining game involves throwing bolas at ladders with the aim of scoring more points than your opponents. Even though it’s just a friendly game, no one likes losing. If you want to earn bragging rights at the next hangout with friends, read this article as we show you how to improve your ladder ball throwing technique.

Ladder ball is also known as ladder golf or ladder toss, so we may use the three terms interchangeably. We will explain the game setup, rules and throwing technique, helping you to become a ladder golf expert by the time this article is done.

Ladder Ball Throwing Techniques: How To Throw The Bolas

The aim of ladder golf is for you to win the game and you can only do this when you have a better aim than your opponent. The score after each round depends on the number of bolas you can successfully toss onto the ladder rung.

Here are a few tips that can help you make consistently good tosses in this ladder game:

  • Hold The Golf Ball – One common mistake people make when tossing their bolas is holding the rope. While this may work sometimes, it is ineffective most of the time. Holding the nylon rope keeps the two golf balls closer together. However, you want the bola to be as wide as possible so you have a good chance of it latching onto one of the rungs.
  • Prepare Your Hand For The Throw – Instead of tossing the bola immediately it gets into your hands, take some time to prepare for your throws. Create a pendulum and allow the throwing arm to swing back and forth a few times so you can get a feel of the speed you want.

Pro Tip: Avoid spinning the bolas too much when releasing them. Even though a bit of spin may be helpful in ladder golf, the ball is likely to fly off if you overdo it.

  • Aim For A Lob Toss – Instead of tossing the bola straight at the ladder, you can try a lob toss where the bola falls toward the ladder at an angle of about 45 degrees. This helps you avoid a scenario where you toss the bola too strongly and it misses the ladder.

Ladderball Setup

Ladderball Setup

Ladder golf has a few regulations, which players must adhere to when setting up the game. These include:

  1. There should be a space of 15 ft (4.5 m) between the two ladders.
  2. The ladder’s bottom rung should be 13 inches (33 cm) off the ground and each rung should be spaced apart by 13 inches.
  3. Each rung must be 24 inches (60 cm) wide and can be made from either PVC pipe or wood.

Note: Measurements don’t have to be accurate for backyard games. You can space the ladders five paces apart.

Ladderball Rules

Ladderball Game Rules

There are a few rules that you must adhere to when playing ladder ball with friends:

  • Your feet must be behind the toss line when throwing your bolas. However, you may lean forward with your arms stretched over the line.
  • You must toss the bolas one after the other. You also have to make underarm throws, as sidearm and overhand throws are illegal in competitive games.
  • No player may move close to the scoring ladder until both players have tossed all their bolas for that round.
  • The official ladder ball rules permit you to distract your opponents when it’s their turn to toss.

Take a look at our comprehensive guide to the ladder ball rules.

Ladderball Scoring

Ladderball Game Scoring

So far, we have revealed universally applicable rules for ladder golf. However, there are several other variations of scoring rules. So we have made a table to show you the official ladder ball rules and rules you can use for friendly games.

Ladderball Game
Competitive Game
Friendly Game
Who goes first at the start of the game
Play a quick shootout round of ladderball to decide who starts the game.
A coin toss helps you decide or the youngest person goes first.
Toss order within a round
You toss all three of your bolas before the opponent takes their turn.
You and the opponent alternate tosses.
Who tosses first for the next round
The player who scored the most points in the previous round tosses first.
Players alternate who goes first.
Scoring points
The point cancellation scoring method is applicable, allowing you to cancel your opponent’s toss.
You count all the bolas hanging on the rungs at the end of the round.
What happens when a player goes over 21 points
The player’s point resets to 13.
Points from the round don’t count.
Both players reach 21 in the same round
Continue into overtime rounds until a player takes a 2-point lead.
Continue into overtime rounds until a player takes a 2-point lead.
Bonus points
In competitive games, only the Hat-Trick bonus is applicable.
All bonus rules apply.

Note: For your toss to count as a point, the bola has to remain hanging on the ladder at the end of the round.

Point Cancellation Scoring Method

Point Cancellation Scoring Method

You can play ladder ball using a point cancellation scoring method whereby you can cancel your opponent’s point by hanging your bola on the rung that already has their bola. For example, if you have two bolas on the middle rung and your opponent has just one, you score two points while they score zero.

Bonus Points

There are three major bonus points in ladder toss. They include:

Hat-Trick Bonus – You score an extra point if you hang all three of your bolas on the same rung.

Bounce-Back – You score a bonus point if the bola bounces off the ladder and comes back to you during a toss.

Tight-Wrap – You gain extra points by getting the bola to wrap so tightly around the rung that another wrap is impossible.

For details about how far apart for ladder toss, click here.

How To Play Ladderball With Teams

Playing Ladderball With Teams

The same rules apply when you play ladder golf with teams. Four people can use a ladder golf set, which consists of two ladders and six bolas.

Check out the best ladder ball sets ahead of your next team game.

Safety tip: When playing in teams, ensure that nobody stands next to a ladder during a throw to avoid getting hit by a bola.

Special Circumstances

These are rare situations or details that you can include to make the game extra competitive.


A birdie occurs when you land your three bolas on each rung and your opponent doesn’t land any. You get an additional point for this feat.

Hat Trick

A hat trick is when you land all three bolas on the same rung without your opponent landing a toss on the same one.


A Zelda is a victory where the other player doesn’t score a point throughout the game. The game ends 21 – 0.

Ladder Ball Tips And Warnings

Ladder Ball Tips And Warnings

Here are tips and warnings to help you win and stay safe when playing ladder toss.

  • Since there are several variations of the game rules, ensure that everyone knows the rules that you’re playing by.
  • Keep kids away from the game area so that they don’t get hit by bolas.
  • Do not stand on the steps of game ladders, as they are not as strong as regular ladders.

Visit our blog to read a full guide on how to play ladder toss.

Frequently Asked Questions

You throw a ladder ball by holding one of the golf balls and tossing it toward the ladder rung. Avoid holding the ball rope because it restricts the bola’s width and makes it more difficult to aim for the rung. Also, try for lob tosses, as tossing too strongly may cause you to miss.

You can alternate throws in ladder ball friendly games if you and your friends decide to do so. In this case, players make one toss each until they have thrown all their bolas for that round. In official games, however, you must toss all three of your bolas before the next person does.

Scoring in ladder ball is based on toss accuracy. You win points by getting your bolas to wrap around the ladder’s rungs. The top rung is worth three points, the middle one is worth two points and the bottom one is worth one point. The first player to score 21 points at the end of a round wins.


Ladder ball is one of the best outdoor games to play if you want to keep you and your friends entertained during a hangout. With the ladder ball throwing technique described in this article, you can easily dominate upcoming games and win. Having said that, don’t forget to have fun while playing, as this is the primary goal of a friendly game.

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