Tetherball is a simple sport to set up in your backyard. It requires less space than tennis, volleyball, badminton, baseball or most other playground sports. All you need is a clear flat circle 16 to 20 feet across with a pole at the centre. Tetherball is a great way for your kids to burn off a lot of adolescent energy in your own backyard. Here’s all you need to set the game up.
Clear a circle on a flat spot with 10 feet of clearance from the pole in all directions, including overhead. Make sure the ball won’t get tangled with antennas, electric lines or nearby structures. A grassy surface works fine, but if the ground is hard or rough, you should dig up the area and put in some sand or pea gravel to act as a cushion to protect against falls.
Make your pole in two parts so it can be maintained or replaced. You’ll need a three-foot-long, two-inch metal pipe to put into the ground as a sleeve and a 12-foot-8-inch-long pole with a 1 7/8-inch circumference that will fit snugly inside the two-inch sleeve. Check the fit before purchasing the poles. Next dig a generous 2 1/2-foot post hole at least six or eight inches in diameter -- more if the ground is soft. Mix up bags of ready-to-mix concrete. Do it one bag at a time so you don’t waste any. Put the ground sleeve into the centre of the hole and pour wet concrete around it till you fill the hole to three inches below ground level. Use a level to make sure the ground sleeve pipe is exactly vertical, or your pole may lean. Allow the concrete to set overnight and cure for 24 hours before inserting the centre pole. Fill in with dirt over the top of the concrete.
You can make a movable pole using a large car or truck tire and a 10-foot-long, two-inch pole. Simply stand the pole in the centre of the tire lying flat on the ground. Pour concrete into the centre of the tire so that it fills the centre, the inside of the tire and up to the top edge of the inside rim of the tire. Prop the pole so that it stands vertically and pack the concrete around it. Allow it to cure for 24 hours. The pole will be heavy enough to handle the tetherball and can be rolled around the yard so you don’t wear out the grass by playing in one place too long. If you use a portable pole such as this, you should pad the base with a foam tumbling mat or similar padding such as the kind used around football goalposts to protect the head should someone fall onto the tire.
Attaching the Ball
You can buy a tetherball at most any sporting goods store. To attach it, drill a hole in the top of the pipe and put an eyebolt through it. Tie the end of the tetherball to the eyebolt so the ball hangs two feet from the ground. Wrap any loose end around the pole and tie it off.