How to Throw a Cornhole Bag (Best Throwing Technique)

Last updated: June 16, 2024

Learn how to throw a cornhole bag with these six distinctive steps and master the perfect throwing technique.

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 right takes a little practice. Learning how to throw a flat cornhole bag will make you a more competitive player, 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 recommended cornhole board sets you can buy today.

The Basic Cornhole Throwing Technique (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. The process of throwing a flat bag 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 throw a cornhole bag properly.

1. Analyze and Focus

First, you must analyze the playing field and focus your mind.

If you’re not taking a few moments to gather yourself, visualize your upcoming throw, and focus on your motion, you’re much more likely going to miss that board.

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

2. Stance

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

Before you toss your first flat bag, you’ll want to double-check your stance and ensure that you’re prepared to make your toss.

Throwing a cornhole bag

A proper stance is to have one foot (the leading foot) aligned with the front of the cornhole board, one step ahead of the other foot. Some people prefer the leading foot on the same side as the throwing arm, whereas others prefer it the other way around.

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 making your swing.

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

3. Grip

Like other sports and outdoor activities, paying attention to your grip is crucial. Squeezing the cornhole bag too hard while you go for a throw could cause your toss to go in the wrong direction.

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 veer to the left if the inside is stuffed into one side of the bag.

You want an 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 grip provides a nice 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 allow your shoulders and knees to help you gain and lose height and momentum.

Cornhole bag throwing in the yard

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 your hand reaches just below shoulder height.

Without putting too much pressure on your shoulders, swing your arm back toward your front, ensuring it remains unbent. You can release the bag when your arm rises to about shoulder height. But 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 slightly in the direction of the cornhole board. You should keep this positioning constant when bringing your arm back toward your front.

5. Release

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

However, a poor release can spoil an otherwise great 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, and then immediately freeze, your bag’s velocity might follow a slightly more downward path.

Cornhole game

If you continue moving your arm forward and upward as you release your bag, the extended motion can impact your bag’s final landing spot.

Be sure to continue moving your arm along its natural path of motion as you release your cornhole bag. Otherwise, you could miss that ideal shot due to last-second frictional impacts from fingers or wrists.

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.

To conclude, 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 or to simply relax with a bit of sunshine and some fresh air. I've been passionate about the backyard lifestyle ever since my childhood, and with this website, I hope to share that passion with you.

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