How Do You Play Ladder Ball?

 If you search for an outdoor game with easy set-up, rules, and skill requirements, then “ladder Ball” is exactly what you are looking for. But how do you play ladder ball? If you’re curious, this article will tell you what you need to know about the game.

Ladder ball is a game where the player is required to throw a bola (Two balls tied to a string) across the yard towards a ladder ball goal post. Your goal is to wrap the bola around the rungs of the ladder ball post. You can play this game with 2 opposing players or groups. You will get a different point for each of the rung your bola catches.

The rules can seem very easy and convenient to grasp. But it would be best to be aware of all of them with a bit more details. You might also be curious to find out if you can make your own DIY ladder ball game or if it’s better to buy a set. I will discuss all these details about this addicting backyard game in this article.

How to Play Ladder Ball?

One of the reasons why ladder ball is a favourite backyard game is the simple yet addicting nature. Since the game is simple, the rules are easy to understand for anyone of all ages. So anyone can join in on the game and have a wonderful time.

The Equipment You Will Need

You can buy Ladder Ball equipment online or make them yourself. Either way, everything you need includes:

  • Two Ladders with three steps or rungs. Each rung will be of a different colour.
  • Two sets of Bolas (Blue and Red). Each set will have 3 pairs of Bolas.

Setting Up the Game

To set up the game, you will place the ladders across from each other on the lawn. This way, each ladder can serve as the toss line for the other. The active player will stand behind this line and switch sides after their turn. But if it’s a 2 vs. 2 games, the teammates will stand across each other behind each of the toss lines.

The ladders should be placed 15 feet or 5 paces apart from each other. But you can change the distance according to the players’ abilities.

Then you will give each team or person a set consisting of 3 pieces of the Bolas. Now, you can start your fun game of Ladder Ball.

How the Scoring works

The goal of each team or player is to score 21 players in total. A player will have to get their bolas to catch any of the rungs on the ladder to score. The scoring of the rungs is different according to the difficulty to catch them. The scoring of the rungs are:

  • The top rung is for 3 points.
  • The middle rung is for 2 points.
  • The lowest rung is for 1 point.
  • Rules of Ladder Ball

  1. When throwing a bola, the player’s feet should not cross the toss line or the front of the ladder.
  2. The points will be counted only for the bolas that are still on the rung.
  3. You can knock off another person’s bola.
  4. There is a bonus point of 1 for catching all three bolas on the same rung or three different rungs in the same round.
  5. The first player or team to score 21 points will win.
  6. If there is a tie, the game will continue in overtime mode. During overtime, the team or player that leads with 2 points will be crowned the winner.

 Why is Ladder Ball Worth A Try?

The history of ladder ball, like most other games, can’t really be traced accurately. But there are some stories and speculations on where it could have come from. According to some, in the 1990s, Harold Furry invented the ladder ball game. Others say cowboys came up with the game by throwing snakes at fences and tree branches.

Whatever the origin might be, there is no denying that ladder ball is a widely popular outdoor game. What makes this game so popular is its simple rules and ability to pack much fun.

The game has rather laid-back rules and doesn’t require too much from the players. The game is quite easy to assemble as well. The whole set of the game is quite portable, which makes it a great picnic or travel game. All of these qualities make ladder ball the perfect game to play in your backyard or while travelling and spend some quality time with your family and friends.

You can have a drink or snack and still play and have a great time with everyone. The game is easy to make and cheap if you wish to buy all the equipment to top it all off. So be it a BBQ party or camping trip or just a way to spend time with your family or friends in the backyard, the ladder ball is worth a try.

How to Make a DIY Ladder Ball?

When you’re putting together a DIY ladder ball, the most common material used is PVC. It’s easily available in any of the nearest home depot stores. The following supplies are enough to make one ladder ball and 6 bolas; if you want to make 2 ladders, double the instructions for making the ladder.

Supplies Required:

  • 6 PVC T connectors.
  • 2 90 degree connectors.
  • 19’ of 1’’ PVC pipe.
  • 12 golf balls.
  • Nylon rope.
  • PVC glue.
  • A lighter.
  • Spray paints seven colours- Blue, orange, yellow for the rungs, and blue and red for bolas.

Instructions for Making the Ladder:

  1. First, cut the 19’ of PVC pipe into the following pieces:
  • 6 of 18” pieces
  • 4 of 12” pieces
  • 3 of 24” pieces
  1. Now it’s time to assemble the cut-out pieces into the PVC T connectors. Add 3 of the 18” pieces into a T connector. Repeat with the other three pieces as well.
  2. For each T structure on each piece, add a T connector. Add the 24” piece as the 1st ladder rung in the open end of the t connectors.
  3. Add another 24” piece as the 2nd ladder rung.
  4. Add the last 18” piece into the last empty t-fitting and add 90-degree connectors to the top.
  5. Finish the assembly by adding the 3rd and last ladder rung.
  6. As the last step, colour each rung’s rungs with blue, orange, and yellow paint, respectively, with spray paint.

Instructions for Making the Bolas:

  • Carefully drill a 3/8” hole through each of the 12 golf balls.
  • Paint each set of golf balls with red or blue colours.
  • Cut your nylon rope into 20” pieces and tie a knot at one end. Melt the knot a bit so it won’t come off.
  • String two of the golf ball onto one rope. Tie the other end and burn that end as well.

However, it is understandable if going through all of these steps to make a game seems too much work. In that case, you can consider just buying a set of the game.


Ladder ball is one of the most entertaining outdoor games that everyone can enjoy in their backyard, lawn, or parks. You can connect with your precious family and friends through this game even as you chat away or share a drink. If you were unsure of the rules of the game, this article should have given you all the headers for “How do you play ladder ball?”.

Now that you’ve read the article, I hope you are more inclined to try out this activity with your loved ones, but if you are interested in some other fun and exciting games perfect for a backyard gathering, such as Kan-Jam, in which you can haul back those old frisbee talents from back in the day, or Spike Ball, where those old volleyball skills can undoubtedly impress, just click the respective tabs to take you to these blogs.

Best wishes in your Ladder Ball pursuit, and to enlighten you further, follow this YouTube link to see a Ladder Ball tutorial video. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, it is much appreciated.

4 thoughts on “How Do You Play Ladder Ball?”

  1. I must say it’s the first time I have heard about this game.  It looks fun.  I guess you would also need to be careful when throwing the balls at the ladder right to make sure no one standing too close to the ladder.  I would love to give this game a go this summer.  I looked on amazon and they do actually sell the ladder and the bola so something new to add to my family time thanks. 

    • Yes, Jamila. You are right on, Ladder ball challenging fun and worth a go for the fun it brings great joy throwing the balls and yes it can be a bit of a hazard depending on where you standing or where a window is.

      Many Thanks 



  2. I LOVE LADDER-BALL!!! During my time working on the cruise ships, I played ladder-ball with guests as one of our entertainment activities. I loved it! It’s a fun activity from the moment you start building your ladder (I point this as when I saw it for the first time didn’t know what to do with the pieces lol). 

    We played ladder-ball indoors and I can only imagine how fun is playing it outdoors. 

    Thanks for the reminder! 

    • Thank you, Sunny. So glad to hear from someone with experience playing Ladder ball.

      Many Thanks 



Leave a Comment