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How to Play Butts Up

A popular schoolyard staple, this game loosely adopts tennis and baseball rules. But, true to its name, beware the consequences of mishandling the ball.


  • Step 1: Break the ice Throw the ball against the wall. This is called breaking the ice. Throw it cleanly, and don't let it connect with the ground before hitting the wall.
  • Step 2: Start playing Catch the ball after the bounce back. If you mishandle or drop the ball, run immediately to tag the wall before another player gets the ball and hits the wall with it.
  • TIP: Game rules often call for savsies. A player can throw the ball to another player if they're too far away from the wall. The receiver can wait until the thrower has touched the wall, but savsies can backfire if the catcher betrays the thrower by throwing the ball before they touch the wall.
  • Step 3: Take your medicine Be unsuccessful in beating the thrown ball and you have to stand facing the wall with your butt sticking out. The thrower then gets to throw the ball at your backside, as the name implies.
  • Step 4: Get an out Catch a fellow player’s ball before it hits the pavement and the thrower is penalized with one out. If a player drops the ball after catching it they also receive one out. 3 outs, and you’re out of the game.
  • TIP: If the ball hits the wall and then bounces off another player, the player hit by the ball gets an out. More ways to get an out include dropping the ball and then touching it again before tagging the wall and being hit by the ball you’ve thrown.
  • Step 5: Winning the game Win the game by being the last player standing after all other players have been eliminated. Game rules and terminologies may vary by region, but all share the common Butts Up bond of brutal ball throws.
  • FACT: Tennis star Andy Roddick was filmed playing a variation of Butts Up during the 2010 Australian Open.

You Will Need

  • 3 or more players
  • Tennis ball or racquetball
  • Paved surface
  • Wall

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