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A footbag is a small bean bag or sand bag used as a ball in a number of sports and games. It is typically controlled by the feet, but in some sports every part of the body except the hands and arms may be used. The term footbag is also the generic name for the sports which use the footbag. The main varieties are footbag freestyle, footbag net, and circle kick. Both the footbag and the sports that use it are sometimes referred to as hacky sack, hacky-sack, hackysack, or hackey sack.
History of footbag
Footbag was invented in 1972 in Oregon City, Oregon, when John Stalberger met Mike Marshall, who had been kicking around a hand-made bean bag. John had recently had knee surgery and was looking for a way to work on his flexibility. He instantly took to the game and became good friends with Marshall. They called the game "Hack the Sack."
Stalberger and Marshall soon became enthralled with the game, which Marshall had been hoping to promote with the general public. The two designed a product, which they trademarked the "Hacky Sack", and began putting together a plan to market the product and the sport. At the same time, they decided to create a "generic" term for the sport itself, as opposed to their product, and they named the sport "footbag".
Tragically, Mike Marshall died of a heart attack in 1975, at only 28 years of age. Stalberger, determined to realize their vision of footbag as a sport, continued to promote the product and the game. He formed the National Hacky Sack Association along with the help of many others. He ultimately sold the rights for the Hacky Sack footbag to Kransco (operating under the Wham-O label), which also manufactered the Frisbee flying disc.
In the years following the creation of the Hacky Sack product, many footbag enthusiasts began sprouting up around the world, and a sport was born. Following the model of volleyball and tennis, players began volleying a footbag over a 5-foot-high net (on a Badminton court) and "footbag net" became an attractive alternative sport. Freestyle footbag (where players stand in a circle, do tricks with the footbag, and pass it around the circle) has become the most popular form of the game because of its cooperative nature. Advanced freestylers choreograph routines to music, much like rhythmic gymnastics or figure skating.
Footbag sports now have a rules body that governs the various aspects of competitive footbag play: the International Footbag Committee (IFC).
Although some argue that certain types of shoes are necessary, the only piece of equipment that is really required in order to play footbag is a footbag. These come in many styles, colors, and varieties. Some footbags have simple cotton exteriors, while others are made of 2 to 120 panels of suede. Some are filled with sand; others, plastic pellets. Many footbags have designs on them, either geometric or pictorial (a happy face, for example). Some footbags are specialized for footbag net; these are generally not good for playing freestyle footbag.
Part of the appeal and popularity of footbag is due to this simplicity of equipment. A footbag can be bought for under $5, easily stored in a pocket, and later retrieved for a quick game of freestyle. Most other sports, by comparison, are not nearly as portable or affordable.
Of course, advanced equipment is available for those who want or need it. 32-panel footbags usually contain a mixed filler. Most professional stitchers use some form of a combination of Plastic Poly Pellets, bb's, steel shot, or lead shot. 32 panel bags are a little more difficult to stall, but are often truer when set for more complex tricks; these usually range from 25-35 USD. Additionally, many Open-level players wear Adidas Rod Laver tennis shoes, Adidas Clima Cool 1s, or Reebok G-Unit G6 I (lowtop) shoes while playing. Players who are serious improve their shoes with modifications because there is yet to be a shoe designed specifically for freestyle footbag, however one is currently being designed by Tom Mosher as an Engineering thesis project.
Footbag freestyle is a footbag sport where players demonstrate their abilities by performing sequences of difficult moves. In competition, there are 3 main freestyle events. The main event is where a player choreographs and executes a 2 minute routine to music. Much like figure skating, players are given scores for technical and artistic merit. These scores take into account choreography, difficulty, variety, and execution.
The second major event offered at footbag tournaments is Shred30. This event is purely technical. Competitors have 30 seconds to execute as many unique, difficult tricks in a 30 second period. Their score is calculated with a mathematical formula, which takes into account the average difficulty of the run, and penalizes the players for drops.
A third event is Sick Three. While not always an official offering, this event is usually held and judged informally at several events, including World Championships. The objective of this event, is for players to link three hard tricks together in the most impressive way possible. Players are usually given between 5-7 attempts to land a combo, within a maximum time frame of 2 minutes. This event is often judged by a panel of judges, who sometimes use videocameras to verify that moves were hit cleanly within the combo. Judging is purely subjective.
Tricks performed while playing freestyle are made up different add categories. ADD stands for "Additional Degree of Difficulty". There are 5 add types:
*DELAY [del] This Add is awarded to any move in which you catch (stall/delay) the footbag on either your foot or part of your leg.
*DEXTERITY [dex] This Add is awarded when you circle around the footbag with your leg.
*UNUSUAL SURFACE [uns] You get this Add when you use any surface of the body besides the toes, insteps, outsteps and knees.
*BODY [bod] This Add is awarded to any move which involves a spin, jump, or twist of your body.
*CROSS BODY [xbd] This Add is awarded to any move which involves a kick or delay done on the opposite side of your body.
So a toe stall would be a 1-add trick. TOE [DEL]. A "clipper" is a cross body inside delay CLIP [XBD][DEL] and is worth 2-adds. A cross-body sole delay XBD_SOLE [XBD][UNS][DEL] is worth 3-adds. The more adds, the more possible permutations there are for tricks. Moves have been performed up to 9-adds (Chilly-Philly Sauce).
In footbag net, players (either playing for themselves, or with a partner) move a footbag back and forth across a five-foot-high net. This game combines elements of tennis, badminton, and volleyball. Specifically, the court dimensions and layout are similar to those of badminton; the scoring is similar to old scoring system in volleyball (you must be serving to score); and serves must be diagonal, as in tennis. Footbag net games can be played to eleven or fifteen points, although the winners must win by at least two points.
"Circle kick" is the most common game played with a footbag, and it is the game people usually refer to when they talk about "hacking." Players stand in a circle and keep it moving around the circle, without having it touch the ground or hitting it with their hands. A "hack" is achieved when every person in the circle contributes a kick.
Flags: Very Short (0-60 mins), Short (1-3 hours), Solo, With a Friend, With a Group, Children, Teens, Adults, Outdoors, Morning, Day, Sunny