When planning to set up a tetherball set, you need to get the dimensions of the pole right before you start. The game won’t play the same with the wrong pole installed. Here’s everything you need to know about tetherball pole dimensions.
The correct dimensions for a tetherball pole is 12 feet long with a diameter of 2 and 3/8 inches. The tetherball pole is to be installed 2 feet into the ground with 10 feet of pole above ground for play. Some youth model poles will be set at 8 feet above ground for play with a shortened rope.
There are different tetherball sets that may not meet these requirements, but could still work. For example, installing in a tire or bucket instead of in the ground.
Tetherball Pole Length
When you buy a tetherball pole, they typically come in either 10 or 12 feet. An official adult size tetherball pole will be 12 feet with the expectation that you will bury 2 feet in the ground to secure the pole, leaving 10 feet of the pole above ground to play on.
Most tetherball poles will come in either 2 or 3 pieces. I suggest the 2 piece option as they tend to be a lot more stable and last a long time. For example, this BSN Outdoor Tetherball Set (link to Amazon) comes in two 6′ sections that bolt together, and is the best permanent tetherball set out there.
The smaller 8 foot poles are typically seen on portable sets like this Lifetime Portable Tetherball System (link to Amazon). If you plan on using a 10 foot pole and making a portable set yourself, you’ll probably want to use concrete at the base or the tetherball pole will tip too easily.
The only problem is, using a concrete base makes it not so easily portable anymore. For that reason, most portable tetherball sets will be 8 feet tall or less.
Tetherball Pole Height
The height of a tetherball pole is typically 12 feet, with 2 feet buried in the ground, which leaves a 10 foot pole to play on. Some tetherball poles are only 10 feet long and are designed to be installed above ground so the playing height is still 10 feet, or buried 2 feet in the ground for a playing height of 8 feet.
The 8 foot playing height is usually reserved for younger players around middle school age. You may even see some tetherball poles set to 7 feet for even younger children to play tetherball on. In either case, the rope is usually cut so the ball will hang 2 feet above the ground on any pole.
Tetherball Pole Diameter
A typical permanent tetherball pole will be 2 and 3/8 inches in diameter. A heavy duty permanent set may even be up to 3 inches in diameter, mostly used in parks or playgrounds. Most portable tetherball poles are 2 inches in diameter and made of thinner material. The portable sets are known to tip easily so they’re made to be lighter.
You’ll notice the better quality tetherball poles will have a wider diameter and be made of thicker, more durable material, such as steel. In my experience, the portable sets don’t hold up very well. You can find them for a cheaper price, but they won’t last as long.
Tetherball Pole Ground Sleeve
Some tetherball sets come with a ground sleeve. The idea is that you install the ground sleeve in the ground with cement, and can then remove the tetherball pole, put it away when not in use, and the ground sleeve stays in the ground. An example of this type of set up is this Park & Sun Sports Outdoor Tetherball Set (link to Amazon).
The only thing I don’t like about that set, is that it comes in three pieces and metal is thin. This may be great for kids, but you let some teenagers or adults play an intense tetherball match, and you could easily damage something of that quality.
Instead, I recommend something like what this video shows. Allowing you to remove the pole. but still gives you the option to use a quality tetherball set.
How To Install A Tetherball Pole In The Ground
To install a tetherball pole in the ground:
- You will need to dig a 2 foot deep hole in the ground about a foot wide in diameter.
- Set the tetherball pole in the ground, and mix up a bag of concrete.
- Pour in the concrete and hold the pole level until the concrete sets enough to keep the pole upright.
- Let the concrete set overnight
You’ve already seen in the video above how to do this with a quality tetherball pole. Some tetherball poles come with a ground stake that you push into the ground and the rest of the pole attaches to it. These may work in some cases, but it tends to be a flismy set up with the pole becoming wobbly shortly after using it.
If you ever feel like you need help with any of these steps, you could always look into HomeAdvisor Handyman Services to find a local handyman to help you out.
Here’s a video of someone who got a stake type tetherball pole, and ended up using concrete to secure it in the ground anyway.
How To Install Tetherball Pole In A Tire
To install a tetherball pole in a tire:
- Put the tire on a sheet of plastic.
- Mix the concrete in a bucket, or something similar.
- Fill the inner edge of tire with concrete.
- Fill the rest of the tire with concrete.
- Drill holes in pole (if pole doesnt already have them) 2 holes at the bottom for rebar and 1 at top for rope.
- Insert eye bolt on top and rebar on bottom.
- Tie the rebar in place.
- Place tetherball pole into concrete in tire.
- Hold pole level until concrete sets enough to hold up the pole.
If you plan on using this approach, keep in mind that the concrete creates a heavy set up. Technically it’s portable, but to me, it was a major pain and I didn’t like this tetherball set up.
Here’s a quick video showing these steps to give you a visual of the process.
How To Attach Rope To A Tetherball Pole
To attach a rope to a tetherball pole, you will need to first drill a hole in the top of the pole if there isn’t one there already. Install an eye bolt through the hole in the top of the pole and tie the tetherball rope to the eyelet on the bolt. Tie a knot near the top of the rope to adjust it’s length if you need to.
Most tetherball pole will come with an eye bolt and the hole already drilled out for you. Some even come with a recessed type of hooking point for the rope to attach too. Another option is to use a carabiner to attach the rope to the eyelet. Doing that makes it easier to remove the rope and ball if you need to.
How Long Is A Tetherball Rope?
The tetherball rope needs to be long enough so that the tetherball hangs two feet above the ground when left to hang on its own naturally. Since the tetherball rope length relies on the length of the tetherball pole, many people will tie a knot in the rope allowing them to adjust the length as needed.
Most tetherball sets come with a pole and rope of lengths that work together. If you’re piecing a set together yourself, you’ll want to set the pole up first. Then, let the ball hang on its own and make adjustments to the rope length from there. Once you have your tetherball set up, check out this How To Play Tetherball article for a step by step guide to playing the game.