Can You Throw Overhand in Bean Bag Toss?

Bean bag toss, also known as cornhole, is a very popular bag toss game. Although the game is often played in tailgating parties and backyards, there are also national tournaments in the United States.

However, there are many misunderstandings about the rules of the game.  For example, players often ask: can you throw overhand in bean bag toss? The short answer is: no. Throwing overhand is considered to be a foul. But there are exceptions.

In this post, we will go a bit deeper into the rules of the game. Keep reading!

General Rules of Bean Bag Toss

You can play this game in singles or doubles. Let’s see what the rules are.

Singles – There are two participants who compete against each other. They stand on the opposite sides of the board and pitch bags. When the next round comes, players maintain the same lane but walk to the opposite platform. Each player pitches four bags of the same color.

Doubles – There are two players on each team. The players are also referred to as team partners. Each player stands on the opposite side of the platform and pitches bags. On each side of the platform, there is a player from the opposite team. As in singles, each team has 4 bags of the same color.

In tournaments, this game is played according to strict rules. Each team must not change the lane in which they started their first round. Changing the lane is strictly prohibited.

Can you throw overhand in bean bag toss? No, you cannot. The overhand release is a foul. But you can throw your bean bag underhand.

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A coin flip is used to decide who will throw first. And the winner of the round will throw first in the next round. Until all 8 bags have been thrown, the players throw the bags alternately.

Rules are not different for single and double plays. A round ends once all the bags have been thrown. Then the players calculate the scores and write them on the scoring board.

During the entire game, a player has to use the same arm to throw the bags. Switching arms is allowed in case of a medical injury.

Scoring Rules

Once all cornhole bags have been thrown, a round ends. At the end of a round, scoring is calculated. According to the rules, a team has to reach 21 points to win. Here is the scoring breakdown:

  • If a bag directly enters into the hole you get 3 points.
  • If a bag resting on the surface is hit by another bag and ends in the hole, you get 3 points.
  • If a bag lands on the board surface and stays there, you get 1 point.
  • If a bag lands on the board, hangs in the hole but does not enter the hole, you get 1 point.
  • If a bag hangs on the edge of the hole but does not reach the ground, you get 1 point.

Foul Bags – if a player happens to break a rule, the scoring is canceled. So, you do not get any point for foul bags. You get 0 points if a bag does not enter the hole or hanging in the hole without touching the ground. If a foul bag is hit by a non-foul bag and pushed into a foul zone, the bag is put back to its original position.

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Different Tossing Styles

The bags can be tossed in a variety of ways, and it is almost impossible to make a complete list. However, it is important to discuss the basic tossing styles, because there are confusions about them. For example, can you throw overhand in bean bag toss? 

Even many experienced players do not know the rules thoroughly. Here are the most common tossing styles:

  • Sling Toss: Use your index finger and thumb to pinch a corner of the bag. Use an underhand throw, sending the bag on the board. This motion can add a backspin.
  • Frisbee Toss. Use your index finger and thumb to pinch a corner of the bag. Turn sideways and throw the bag the way you throw a Frisbee.
  • Overhand Toss: Throw the bag the way you throw a baseball. Your toss will be either sidearm or overhand. You may need some practice to master the technique.
  • Jump Toss: Hold the cornhole bag with one hand and line up your shot with the other. Throw the bag as if it were a basketball.

Bean Bag Toss Court Regulations

As long as you place the two boards 27 feet away from each other, you can play this game anywhere.  It is also important to find a flat surface. For kids, there can be a shorter distance of 15 feet between the boards. If you are playing the game indoors, make sure that the distance between the board and roof is at least 10 feet.

Can you throw overhand in bean bag toss? Usually not, but you can settle it with your opponents before a round begins. The same rules and regulations apply to indoor bean bag toss. If multiple games are played in the same yard, you have to make sure the bags do not reach the other courts. There must be at least 10 feet of distance between bean bag toss courts.

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The place has to be wide enough for two players. The place is referred to as a pitcher box. When pitching a bag, a player stands in the pitcher box.

During a match, no player is allowed to make changes to the bean bag toss board. It may distract the player from pitching bags.

Drink holders, scoreboards, and other accessories should be placed outside the court to ensure a distraction-free match.

Final Thoughts

Let’s address the question again: can you throw overhand in bean bag toss? No, you cannot because it is considered to be a foul. But if you are not playing in a tournament, you can tweak the rules. The rules are not set in stone. Having fun is the only thing that matters.