How to Throw a Cornhole Bag (Basic Throwing Technique)

Please note that I may earn a small commission from purchases made through product links in this article. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

 

Last updated: April 30, 2021

Cornhole is one of the most popular outdoor backyard games in the United States, and it’s not challenging to understand why. Cornhole doesn’t require a ton of pricey equipment, it’s easy to learn, and almost anyone can play it!

However, getting that toss just right takes a little practice. Learning how to throw a cornhole bag can change your outdoor fun for the better, and there’s never been a better time to start practicing.

If you’d like to learn more about this fantastic game, check out my guide to the rules of cornhole so you have a better understanding of how the scoring works. Otherwise, if you’re ready to purchase a new cornhole set, check out my list of best cornhole board sets you can buy today.

The Basic Cornhole Throw (Step by Step)

Getting better at cornhole begins with practicing your tossing technique.

Learning the basic cornhole throw, and then mastering it, is key to becoming a top-notch cornhole player, and it can be summarized into six distinct steps:

  1. Analyze and Focus
  2. Stance
  3. Grip
  4. Swing
  5. Release
  6. Follow Through

Over the years, I have accustomed myself to these steps based on what I’ve learned from others and based on my own experience.

Let’s explore these steps one-by-one to shine a little light on how to properly throw a cornhole bag. The first thing you’ll need to do is analyze the situation and focus your mind.

1. Analyze and Focus

When it’s your time to shine, the last thing you want to do is throw away your shot. If you’re not taking a few moments to gather yourself, analyze the upcoming shot, and focus on your motions, you’re much more likely going to miss that board.

As you calm your mind and focus on the cornhole board before you and on your surroundings, you will be able to better concentrate and focus in on that magic throw that you are going to execute.

2. Stance

As you can imagine, a good stance before throwing is a key requirement for success. A poor stance and a poor posture can warp your throw, causing you to miss out on game-winning shots and opportunities.

According to the American Cornhole League, there is a right and wrong way to stand when playing cornhole. Before you toss your first bag, you’ll want to double-check your stance and ensure that you’re prepared to make your toss.

A proper stance is to have your leading foot against the front-side of your cornhole board, with the toes pointing forward. Your leading foot, the front foot, is on the same side as your throwing arm. Your other feet is one step behind.

Once your feet are locked into position, your throwing arm should be flush against the side of your body, with your elbow pointing away from the front of your body. It’s a good idea to briefly lock your arm into this position while adjusting your grip, and while making your swing.

Note that there are variations to this stance, but for a beginner, this is a good way to start. Some people actually step into their throw, rather than locking in their feet. This comes with experience.

3. Grip

Just as with other sports and outdoor activities, it’s crucial to keep track of your grip. Squeezing the cornhole bag too hard while you go for a throw could cause your toss to go all wrong. It can also cause the internal beads, beans, or corn kernels to split into different parts of the bag.

When this happens, your cornhole bag won’t have a balanced weight, causing it to favor one direction more than others. You could make a flawless pitch toward the right, but still see your bag plummet to the left if all the beads are bunched up in one tiny corner.

Cornhole bag throw in action

You want a nice, even distribution of pressure across the bag while gripping it. Try placing your thumb on the upper portion of the cornhole bag (with the seam to the top), and your remaining fingers on the backside of the bag. This claw-like yet smooth pose provides a near-perfect amount of pressure and traction for a solid swing and release.

4. Swing

After checking your stance and grip, it’s time to make your swing. To do this, you’ll need to keep your elbow and arm relatively straight. You want to minimize elbow action, and instead allowing your shoulders and knees to help you gain and lose height and momentum.

While gripping your cornhole bag somewhat loosely (just tight enough to keep it from slipping away), hold it before you, allowing your arm and elbow to become a straight line. Lock your arm into this non-flexible position, and carefully swing it back so that your hand reaches just below shoulder height.

Without putting too much pressure on your shoulders, swing your arm back toward your front, ensuring that it remains unbent. When your arm rises up to about shoulder height, you can release the bag. However, while mastering your swing is crucial, your wrist-action is also vital to making a great throw.

When you swing your arm backward to make your shot, you’ll want to curve your wrist in the direction of the cornhole board. While bringing your arm back toward your front, you’ll need to keep this positioning constant.

5. Release

If you’ve managed to keep your arm straight while tossing the bag, then you’ve already accomplished one of the most challenging aspects of making a perfect cornhole throw.

However, a poor release can spoil an otherwise fantastic toss, so you’ll need to practice your release technique as well. Once your arm has reached just below shoulder-height, you’ll want to gently release the bag by spreading your fingers outward. But you won’t want to put your arm down just yet!

6. Follow Through

The moment you release the bag is just as crucial as all the moments leading up to it. That’s because your full range of motion is still impacting the bag’s range of motion.

For example, if you perfect your stance, relax your grip a little, swing, release, then immediately freeze, your bag’s velocity might follow a slightly more downward path. If you continue moving your arm forward and upward as you release your bag, the extended motion can impact your bag’s final resting spot.

Be sure to continue moving your arm along its natural path of motion as you release your cornhole bag. Otherwise, you could be missing that ideal shot due to last-second frictional impacts from fingers or wrists. You might be surprised to find that a little extra motion makes a massive difference in your throws!

Another advantage of following through is that both your body and mind are getting used to doing a full swing. If you look at pro golfers and tennis players, they essentially do the same thing.

Here is a helpful video with some of these cornhole bag tossing techniques visualized:

 

How to throw a cornhole bag (beginners guide)

 
Thomas Dunnett

The backyard is the perfect place to bond with family and friends, to have a good time, or to simply relax with some fresh air and a bit of sunshine. With this website I am hoping to share my passion for the backyard with you.

Leave a Comment