Whirlyball Rules - How to Play
Whirlyball combines the fun of bumper cars with the skill of basketball and lacrosse. The origins of this sport come out of Salt Lake City, Utah in 1962 when an automotive shop owner noticed his son riding around on a golf cart while striking a ball into a tin can with his hockey stick. Now many of us would have seen this as odd, this man saw this as an opportunity to create a new sport.
How to play Whirlyball
Whirlyball is a half-human, half-machine type of sport. Drivers will navigate the playing field in their motorized cars while trying to toss the ball with their scooper at their opponent’s goal. The team with the most points at the end of regulation is the winner.
Whirlyball cars, referred to as WhirlyBugs, aren’t just regular bumper cars; they’re actually much faster and easier to control. While a WhirlyBug is the main piece of equipment a driver will use, they’ll also need to have good control of their scooper.
Rules of Whirlyball
- Each team will field five players in no particular position. The game will start with each team on their end of the court while the ball is tossed in the middle by the referee. This is the initial charge.
- The playing field is made of electrical conducting boards that allow the WhirlyBugs to glide quickly over them. The court is 80 feet long by 50 feet wide.
- To score, a player must scoop the ball and throw it at the opponent's goal. If this is done correctly, a buzzer will sound off and that counts for two points. If this is done at the half court line, this counts as three points.
- Play time is relative, but games are most commonly split into three, 15 minute periods.
- There is a one minute shot clock on each possession. Inside two minutes of the period, this gets reduced to 30 seconds. Failure to shoot results in a turnover.
- Players cannot use their scoops to obstruct other players. They cannot damage their scoops out of anger, throw them, or use them for any other activity other than play.
- Players cannot exit their WhirlyBugs for any reason. Failure to comply results in two points for the opposing team.
- Excessive ramming and/or pinning results in two points for the opposing team.
- In the event of a tie, a five minute overtime period will be added. If the game is still tied after that, each team member will take a penalty shot.
Interestingly enough, WhirlyBugs are actually a proprietary type of bumper car that is unique to the sport of Whirlyball. And it wasn’t just the golf cart that sparked inspiration for the sport, but the fact that “hockey-type” sports have been played before on skates, horses, and elephants. The creator asked himself, “why not machines?”
Written by: Devin Pickell