When setting up a new tetherball court, getting the layout wrong could affect the game-play. The court has boundary lines and markings that players must stay within. Here’s everything you need to know about setting up a tetherball court the right way.
The official tetherball court has a 20-foot diameter circle drawn around a 10′ pole in the direct center. The court is divided into four sections, two play areas for the players to stand in, and two neutral zones separating them. The widest part of the play area should measure 17 feet 4 inches.
I’ve made setting up the court easier by providing a diagram you can follow and the exact measurements below.
Tetherball Court Dimensions
Before getting into actual dimensions and measurements, I wanted to quickly cover the areas of a tetherball court so you’d know what I’m talking about when I give the measurements. There are five main areas of the tetherball court.
The main court, the pole, play zones, neutral zones, and the foul circle. The tetherball pole is centered on the main court, and subsequently in the foul circle. Here are those areas and their functions.
- Main Court – The entire tetherball court is a large circle 20 feet in diameter
- Play Zone – The area where the players will play the game from, usually drawn as two sections that are 180 degrees of the whole court
- Neutral Zone – The area of the court that no players are allowed, or both players are allowed to play in (depending on the rules you use), usually drawn as two sections that are 60 degrees of the whole court
- Foul Circle – A circle drawn at the center of the court that no player may play from, usually 6 feet in diameter, the outside of the circle will be 3 feet from the tetherball pole
- The Pole – The tetherball pole is 10 feet tall with a foul marker at the 6 foot mark (on an 8 foot pole the foul mark will be at 5 feet), the ball should rest about 2 feet from the ground
Tetherball has no official regulating body, and is not technically a sport. But these measurements are generally the standard for tetherball. On courts that use an 8 foot pole, the court dimensions may be smaller, but the layout will remain the same.
Some tetherball courts don’t have play zones or neutral zones. Instead, they just split the court directly down the middle, and players are not allowed to cross the center line or they incur a foul.
The neutral zones are sometimes used by both players. The players will rarely be using the same neutral zone at the same time. To make the game harder and speed up the outcome, we’ve sometimes set a rule where no players can use the neutral zones.
Tetherball Court Diagram
I decided it was easier to just show you the court layout, so I created this diagram for you. I added a downloadable .pdf of the diagram in case you wanted to have a copy for yourself. Keep in mind this is for a full court measuring 20 feet in diameter.
A smaller court may only have an 8 foot pole. In that case, the ball should still be 2 feet from the ground, but the rope will be only 5 feet, and the foul band marking will be 5 feet from the ground.
The court can also be smaller with a smaller pole. But typically, a 20 foot diameter court is still used. A tetherball pole can be as small as 7 feet, depending on the size of the players. Typically adults will play on a 10 foot pole, and you’d see the 7 or 8 foot poles on school playgrounds.
Tetherball Court Set Up
You’ll need to have a quality tetherball set for this. If you don’t have one already, I suggest checking out this BSN Outdoor Tetherball Set (link to Amazon). Or visiting out Tetherball Cost and Compare article to find the perfect set for you.
To set up the tetherball court, start by finding an open, flat area that a 20′ diameter circle will fit into. I suggest picking a spot at least 30′ by 30′ because you’ll want some space outside the actual tetherball court as well.
A tetherball court can be set up on these terrains, as long as the area is flat and there are no tripping hazards.
- Artificial Turf
- Rubber Mats
Once the area is selected, I like to install the pole first, before drawing the court lines. Get an initial measurement at first, but the court is easier to mark when the pole is already installed.
I go into a lot more detail about the tetherball pole dimensions and how to install the pole in this article: Tetherball Pole Dimensions and Installation.
I like using the method shown in this video. This way you can remove the pole when needed, but while it’s in the ground, it won’t shake or wobble.
Mark Outer Boundary
Tie a rope to the pole so that you can mark 10 feet away from the pole easily. Simply walk around the tetherball pole at a distance 10 feet away, to mark the outside boundary of the court. You can use field marking paint or spray chalk, or a more permanent paint on concrete or asphalt.
I like this Marking Spray Paint (link to Amazon) because you can spray while holding the can upside down, and it’s inexpensive.
Mark Play and Neutral Zones
This part can be a bit of pain since the markings are set by degrees. I start by marking the center line, which is easy to do by pulling a string across the court. The string should be 20 feet long and touch each side of the outer boundary.
To mark the play zone, tie two stings to the pole, and pull them to the outer boundary line. The longest part of the play zone should be 17 feet 4 inches long. Center the play zone on one half of the court, line the strings up adjusting to 17′ 4″ between the strings where they touch the outer boundary, and mark the play zone.
Once both play zones are marked properly, the neutral zones will be too.
Mark Inner Foul Circle
The inner foul circle is marked just the same as the outer boundary circle, except you’ll use a 3 foot section of rope. The foul circle is 6 feet in diameter, which is 3 feet from the pole in all directions.
Set Up Rope and Tetherball
The hard part’s done now. Just hook the tetherball rope onto the top of the pole, and make sure the tetherball hangs 2 feet above the ground. This is the same for all lengths of tetherball pole. The tetherball should always be 2 feet from the ground.
Alternative Tetherball Courts
Some tetherball courts will only have an outer boundary and a center line. On those types of courts, the players will just stay on their half during the game. Crossing the center line will result in a penalty.
Portable tetherball sets, may not even use a court. This can lead to some arguments about fouls, penalties, and who crossed the imaginary line or boundary. But without an actual court layout, those types of games are typically more laid back and there aren’t any set rules in place.
There are no official tetherball rules or court measurements set in place, because there aren’t any governing or professional groups for tetherball.
Feel free to make up your own house rules, or design your court in a way that will be most fun for you. The dimensions I’ve given here, are simply the most commonly agreed upon court layout measurements for tetherball, nothing’s set in stone.