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Cornhole Throwing Technique – How to Throw Cornhole Bags

When I first started playing cornhole, I never thought there was a “technique” to throwing a cornhole bag properly. I just grabbed a cornhole bag and held it comfortably in my hand, and started tossing them. I thought I got pretty good at my style of throwing, until I started playing with a couple of people that had the proper cornhole throwing technique, and I realized the difference in their consistency. Their cornhole bags never took weird bounces when they hit the board or fumbled off of the rim of the hole.

 

Trust The Process

Over the years I have perfected the proper technique and I can personally tell you, that there is a massive difference in my skill level now. The proper way to throw a cornhole bag feels a bit awkward at first, especially if you were like me and spent the first year or two throwing cornhole bags with your own style that felt comfortable. That awkwardness will go away fast and you will be rewarded with success for changing your style. If you are someone who is just starting to play cornhole, then this is the perfect time to learn proper technique. Thankfully you haven’t built up bad throwing habits yet, and don’t have muscle memory flaws linked to your throw that need to be broken.

Common Mistakes – How NOT to Throw

The 3 most common cornhole throwing styles that people use that aren’t proper technique:

The Flat Palm Floater- This style is pretty self-explanatory. The player holds the cornhole bag flat in their hand, and swings their arm back and then forward, letting the bag release itself with your arms momentum. This throwing technique is usually done from a “standing still” position, which I don’t recommend and will get into more later. This technique puts all of your weight control in your arm and shoulder joint, and nobody has accurate weight control throwing 100% from there. This technique will give you inconsistencies with weight control and your cornhole bag won’t slide when it lands on the cornhole board, making 3 point sinkers a struggle.

Bowling Grip- This style is when the player grips the whole cornhole bag in their hand, wrapping their fingers around the cornhole bag. Bowling grip has a bit more wrist movement in the release, along with the shoulder and the arm. This technique mimics the grip and body mechanics of throwing a bowling ball, only with the release point being higher to get the cornhole bag airborne. The biggest problem with this throw is the inability to control what spin and rotation your cornhole bag has, and it will have unpredictable reactions upon contact with the board. If you use this throwing style, you will notice that your cornhole bag will always be kicking off sideways or rolling off the back of the board, which makes even getting a single point difficult.

The Frisbee Toss- I see this technique most often being attempted from players who are watching proper throwing technique being used, but can’t quite figure out how it’s done. It allows you to get flat spin (like a Frisbee looks like when it is thrown) on your cornhole bag, which is what we want, but your arm movement is straight sideways, which will take away your ability to throw consistently accurate.

The Proper Technique – Accuracy and Control

As cornhole has evolved and grown over the years, there is one style and technique for throwing cornhole bags, that leads to success and consistency. With that being said, there are very minor adjustments that players do that feels more natural to them, but does not change the body mechanics of a player, or the spin and rotation that a properly thrown cornhole bag should have.

The two main components of properly throwing or pitching a cornhole bag are body mechanics, and cornhole bag grip. The reason this throwing technique is so successful is because it allows you to put a sideways rotation on the cornhole bag, which allows the bag to land flat and slide straight on the cornhole board. This technique also allows you to use your shoulder, wrist and knees, to throw straight and accurate, while properly judging your distance. It is a whole body movement, that allows you to repeat the motion with a high rate of consistency and success.

 

How to Grip a Cornhole Bag

The proper way to grip the cornhole bag when throwing, is to put your four fingers and about half or your palm, on the bottom side of the bag, with your thumb being used from the top to lightly pinch and secure the cornhole bag.

 

Throwing Technique – The Body Mechanics

For any beginners I would like to point out this is an under-hand throw, similar to horseshoes or slow-pitch baseball. I will break it down into segments with descriptions and pictures.

Starting Stance- Your feet should be side-by-side and close together. Have your throwing arm raised in front of your body with your elbow bent, holding the cornhole bag roughly at the height of your chest. Your wrist should be twisted so your palm and the top side of the cornhole bag are facing you with your fingers pointing towards the sky. Your knees should be slightly bent so you are balanced and strong, but not stiff or tense. I personally like having my other arm and hand in a similar position to stay balanced to start my throw.

Back Swing- As you bring your arm and the cornhole bag downwards beside your knee into your back swing, you will slowly turn your wrist so that when you get about half-way into back swing, your palm and what was “top side” of the bag is now facing your leg. The cornhole bag should face that direction for the last half of your back swing with your hand and cornhole bag ending up about 8-12 inches behind your body before coming forward. As your arm gets to its full back swing position, you should be starting to bring the momentum of your body slowly forward, using your leg that is opposite to your throwing arm to take a step forward.

Forward Swing- When you start your forward swing, you will keep the cornhole bag and the palm of your hand facing your leg, until right before the point of release. Keeping your elbow slightly bent, you will use your shoulder and not your elbow, to swing your hand and cornhole bag forward into the release point. As momentum of your arm swing takes you forward, you will complete your step, (with your opposite leg as throwing arm) and right before you release, you will use your knees (that should be still bent from your stance position) to spring in rhythm with your arm going up and forwards to get your desired power.

Release- Timing is everything with your cornhole bag release. The most important thing on your release is to twist your wrist so that your palm (that is still facing your body) will be facing almost skyward when you release the cornhole bag. This will be a split-second twist and release, that when timed properly, is what puts a flat rotation on the cornhole bag. (how a Frisbee flies through the air) Your release point should be between hip and chest height, and about 3/4 of your arms length out in front of your body. I don’t like being to specific on release point because everyone’s body and arms are different, so you will have to figure this part out with practice. Plus as I discuss in the next section, there are different throws and pitches that require different release points.

 

The Flight of Your Cornhole Bag

A popular question I usually get is how high your cornhole bag should fly with your throw or pitch. The easy answer is about 12 feet. That is roughly the maximum height my cornhole bag gets off the ground at its highest point, during a throw or pitch.

The hard answer is that there are a lot of situations during game play that require different shot. Sometimes I want to a cornhole bag that is already on the board, forward towards the hole and I use a low and hard throw, where my cornhole bag stays under 8 feet. Sometimes there is multiple cornhole bags stacked on top of one another, blocking the hole. In this situation I might throw my cornhole bag 18 ft high to give it an ark that allows it to clear that pile of cornhole bags, and give it a chance to go in the hole.

With all that being said, my advice to you is to practice a normal throw until you are landing the cornhole bags on the board with regularity, and then put some time and creativity into some trickier approaches to take your game to the next level.

 

I hope this article will help teach you, that a few tips to get your cornhole throw dialed in, and always remember, BE PATIENT. Every player I have shown needs a month or two of playing cornhole to figure it out, and then years to perfect it. I promise it will come for you, that.

If you have any questions please leave them below, and I will be happy to help you out.

 

 

 

 

 

James

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