How to Play Hacky Sack

Footbag, more commonly known as hacky sack, is a sport that can be played individually or with a group of people by kicking a bag with your feet. It’s a pretty simple concept, but if you’ve never played it before, you may be a little intimidated about trying it for the first time. But don’t worry! Once you’ve mastered the basic kicks, it can be very easy (and fun) to play hacky sack with other people.

EditPerforming Basic Kicks
Kick the sack with the inside of your foot to perform an inside kick. Gently drop the sack in front of you. Use the inside of the foot, almost directly in the center of your shoe where the arch of your foot is, to kick the bag directly straight up. Be sure to angle your ankle so that the inside of your foot is parallel to the ceiling in order to kick the sack straight up.[1]
After the first kick, catch the sack in your hand. Then, practice dropping, kicking, and catching the sack until you can consistently kick the bag straight up.

If you’re having trouble kicking straight up, try slightly bending your other leg while you’re standing.

Once you feel comfortable performing an inside kick with 1 foot, be sure to practice this kick with your other foot.

Use the outside of your foot to perform an outside kick. Gently drop the sack with your arm outstretched to the side and use the middle of the outside of your foot to kick the bag upwards. Just like with an inside kick, angle your ankle to keep your foot parallel to the ceiling in order to kick the hacky sack straight up.[2]
You may have a little bit of trouble at first bending your leg “outward” instead of toward the center of your body. This is ok! It will get easier with practice.

Drop the sack and kick it with your toes to do a toe kick. Make sure to drop the sack a little bit further in front of you than you would when performing an inside kick. Use your toes to kick the bag straight up in the air. Be sure to kick your toes up instead of toward your head to avoid getting hit with the hacky sack![3]
This kick is very similar to the one that people usually use to juggle a soccer ball.

You may hear this kick be referred to as “the whip” among some hacky sack players.

Be sure to keep your feet low and kick with the center of your foot. Unless you’re performing a toe kick, you should always try to hit the hacky sack with the center of your foot to maintain the most control. You’ll also have better control over the hacky sack’s speed and direction by keeping your feet low when you kick.[4]

Practice performing stalls if you want to be able to perform tricks. A stall is when you drop the hacky sack and catch it with your foot instead of kicking it. To perform a stall, catch the sack with your foot by gently lowering your foot in a cradling motion when the hacky sack hits it. This will help absorb the impact of the bag on the foot and keep it from bouncing off the side.[5]
Stalls won’t actually help you much in a game of hacky sack where the goal is to pass the sack to another player. However, they’re a neat trick you can use to impress your friends!

Just like with kicks, you can perform inside stalls, outside stalls, and toe stalls by changing the location on your foot where you catch the sack.

Do various combinations of kicks and stalls to perform advanced tricks. Try doing patterns, such as outside left, inside left, inside right, outside right, or whatever you want to make up. This will also help you learn to control where you want the bag to go, which is good for both performing tricks and for playing actual games.[6]
For example, to perform the Helicopter, do an inside kick, a toe kick, an outside kick, a toe kick, and another inside kick, moving the hacky sack back and forth from the front of your body to the outside.

To do the Rainbow, use outside kicks to move the hacky sack from 1 side of your body to the other over your head.

EditPlaying with a Group
Start by gathering at least 2 people in a circle. You can technically play a hacky sack game with only 2 people, but the game will be a lot more fun if you have 3 or more players. Keep the circle about across.[7]
You can have more than 3 players too, but be aware that if you have too many people playing at once, it may be hard to move the hacky sack around the circle.

Have 1 person use their hands to serve the sack to someone else. Serving the sack just involves that person throwing it to another player so that the second player can kick it to another player. This is the only time in the game that a person is allowed to use their hands.[8]
Make sure the person serving the hacky sack tosses it about waist high for the person kicking it.

Pass the sack between each other for as long as possible. The goal of the game is to use your feet, legs, and forehead to avoid letting the sack hit the ground. Whenever the sack is kicked toward you, kick it back to a different player to keep the game going.[9]
This is the most common variation of hacky sack and is often referred to as “Circle kicking.”

You can incorporate more specific rules and goals into your game to make it interesting. For example, try requiring each player to kick the sack to themselves a certain number of times before they can pass it to someone else.

Restart the game whenever someone lets the sack hit the ground. This person now has to serve the hacky sack to another player. You should also restart the sack if someone hits the hacky sack with their arm or hands.[10]

EditPlaying Hacky Sack Variations
Make eliminating other players the main objective to play Knockout. You can have players be eliminated by either failing to hit the hacky sack or by being “pegged” by other players. In most Knockout variations, any player can catch the sack after a set number of kicks. Then, that player has the chance to throw the sack at another player and thereby eliminate that player.[11]
In many of these same variations, if the person who caught the sack fails to hit another player, the thrower is then eliminated.

Be sure to throw the hacky sack gently if you add pegging to your game. Being hit with a hacky sack can hurt!

Kick the hacky sack across a net to play Footbag Net. This game variation is very similar to other games played over a net, such as badminton or tennis. In Footbag Net, players arrange themselves on different sides of a short net and kick the hacky sack back and forth. If a player or team on 1 side of the net fails to kick the sack back over, the team on the opposite side gets a point.[12]
To win the game, a team has to score a certain number of points. This number can be as high or low as you want.

For best results, don’t play this game with a net higher than .

Play 21 if you’re only playing with 1 other person. In 21, 2 players take turns trying to kick the hacky sack 21 consecutive times. When you get to 21 kicks, stop the hacky sack by stalling it in order to get a point. The first player to get to a certain number of points wins.[13]
This is a good, low-pressure game for beginners to play. It also helps you to improve your ability to keep the hacky sack in the air for as long as possible.

If you want to make the game even more challenging, try having each player pass the sack to the other player after they get to 21 instead of stalling it.

When hacking with a group, you may need to learn some special etiquette. For example, you shouldn’t serve to yourself.

Be patient. It can take a lot of practice to learn the fundamentals, but once you have these down, you’ll probably get much better very quickly.

Although many people may be familiar with the term “Hacky Sack,” “Footbag” is the true name of the sport; “Hacky Sack” comes from the brand name given to one type of footbag.

Wear lightweight shoes with a thickly cushioned sole. Tennis shoes and skate shoes are common choices for people who play Hacky Sack regularly.

Buy a hacky sack made with sand or plastic beads if you’re a beginner. Sacks made of these materials tend to be softer and easier to control. The larger the beads, the harder it will be to stall the sack.

Stay relaxed and keep your breathing steady while kicking. This will increase the length of your kicking sessions and cause less strain on your muscles.

Playing Hacky Sack involves a lot of repetitive leg movements, so be sure to stretch out your legs before you begin to play. This will make it less likely for you to suffer a strained or pulled muscle.

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Today in History for 9th May 2019

Historical Events

1904 – The steam locomotive City of Truro becomes the first steam engine to exceed 100mph.
1941 – Louis Buchalter is arraigned in New York state court on the 1936 Joseph Rosen murder along with three other murders
1943 – 5th German Panzer army surrenders in Tunisia
1945 – Czechoslovakia liberated from Nazi occupation (National Day)
1964 – Khrushchev visits Egypt
1980 – 35 motorists die as a Liberian freighter rams a Tampa Bay Bridge

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1927 – John McDermott, Lord Justice of Appeal (Northern Ireland)
1936 – Floyd Robinson, baseball player (White Sox, Reds, A’s), born in Prescott, Arkansas
1953 – Gregory Beecroft, Chorpus Christi TX, actor (Guiding Light)
1972 – Dan Hollander, figure skater (1996 Great Lakes champ), born in Royal Oak, Michigan
1979 – Andrew W.K., American musician
1983 – Tyler Lumsden, American baseball player

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1707 – Dietrich Buxtehude, German organist/composer, dies at about 69
1927 – Tommy Routledge, cricketer (4 Tests for South Africa 1892-96), dies
1928 – Constantin Dimitrescu, composer, dies at 81
1970 – Percy Brier, Australian composer, dies at 84
1995 – Marshall Royal, jazz Sax/Clarinet, dies at 82
2010 – Otakar Motejl, Czechoslvakian politician (b. 1932)

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How to Prevent Birds From Flying Into Windows

Many small birds, such as cardinals and robins, are so territorial that they will fly straight into a glass window, thinking they’re driving their own reflection away. This is a particular problem during breeding season, but birds may also fly into windows throughout the year. You can prevent birds from flying into the windows of your home or office by putting in a few safety measures. There are also several ornithologist-tested and approved products on the market that are highly effective for preventing window collisions.

EditAdjusting Your Windows
Apply strips of tape to the windows on the outside surface. Use white tape that can withstand wind and rain. Place the tape apart vertically on your windows. This will signal to birds that the glass is there and prevent them from flying into it.[1]
You can also use black tape. If you use black tape, space the strips apart.

There is specialty tape available at pet stores to prevent birds from hitting windows.[2]

Put bird decals on the outside surface of window glass. Bird decals or bird stickers can be a quick and easy way to bird-proof your windows. Always place decals very close together, about 1 hand’s distance away from each other. You will need to cover the windows with a pattern of decals, as 1 to 2 bird decals on the window will not deter birds.[3]
You can find bird decals at bird-feeding stores and pet stores. You can often find bird decals in different bird silhouettes, such as hawk or robin silhouettes. Look for decals that are colored in an ultraviolet spectrum, as they will be transparent to our eyes but visible to birds.

Apply soap or window paint to the outside of the windows. Another way to deter birds from hitting your windows is to put a layer of soap on the outside of windows, creating a film that will be visible to birds. Keep in mind that with this method, you may have to soap the windows several times a week to maintain the film.[4]
Another option is to apply window paint or tempera paints to the windows. You can make this a fun art project and create bold, bright patterns with the window paint. Make sure you cover most to all of the surface area of the windows with paint so there are no clear or transparent areas that birds can fly into.

Put a film on the outside of your windows. There are window films available that are transparent on the inside but opaque on the outside. Use a film that covers the entire surface of the glass on the outside. Most window films are made to allow light inside while still appearing opaque and reflective to birds.[5]
Some films also come in patterns, such as stripes or blocks, that can help to deter birds from flying into the glass. Applying patterned films can create an interesting look for your windows while also safeguarding them for birds.

Add window screens or a net. There are several bird screens and nets available that can help to prevent birds from flying into your windows. Look for a bird screen that is made of dark mesh that you can hang over your windows. You can customize the mesh so it covers your windows properly.[6]
You can buy bird netting to hang from your windows. Look for netting that is made of durable, lightweight polypropylene.

Install exterior shutters or sun shades. If you do not already have exterior shutters on your windows, consider installing them. You can then close the shutters when you are out for the day to prevent birds from hitting the glass. Exterior shutters can also be a good way to conserve energy and keep your house warm without turning up the heat.[7]
You can also install sun shades or awnings. They will block the reflection of sunlight and create shade over the windows, making it easier for birds to spot the glass and avoid flying into it.

Switch out the glass for ultraviolet, patterned glass. For a permanent solution, you can switch out your window glass for ultraviolet, patterned glass. This glass has crisscross patterns that are not noticeable to humans but are visible to birds from the outside. Though this may be the most expensive option, it is also the most permanent one.[8]
You can find ultraviolet, patterned window glass online or in specialty home and furniture stores.

If you are planning to install windows in your home, you should go for slightly tilted windows. Ask the contractor to position the windows so they are slightly vertical, facing downward. This will allow the window surface to reflect the ground rather than the sky and the trees. Positioning your windows this way will help to deter birds from hitting the glass without obstructing your view.[9]

EditAdapting Your Home
Move indoor plants away from the windows. If your home contains a lot of houseplants close to your windows, move them several feet away from the windows. Birds may spot them through the windows and view them as refuges. They may then fly into the window in an attempt to perch on the plants.[10]

Close curtains and blinds as often as possible. Try to keep your curtains and blinds closed throughout the day, as this will help to deter birds from flying into the windows. Closed curtains or blinds will help to indicate that the windows are there.[11]
If you have vertical blinds in your home, you should try to keep them halfway closed or completely closed during the day.

Turn off any lights inside when they are not in use. Keep your house dark at night by turning off any lights in rooms you are not using. This will prevent birds from being drawn to the lights in your home and flying into the windows.[12]

EditUsing Bird Feeders and Other Objects
Place bird feeders and baths no more than from the windows. While it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s actually safer for birds if you place feeders and bird baths close to your windows. Keeping them too far away from the windows will allow birds to accelerate more if they decide to fly into a window, creating a more dangerous impact.[13]
To minimize deadly impacts as much as possible, look for feeders that you can attach directly to the glass.

You can also reduce the changes of window impacts by placing feeders and baths more than away from your window. That way, birds will be less likely to notice your windows and fly into them.

Hang wind chimes in front of the window. Break out the wind chimes and place them outside above your windows. Look for wind chimes that contain shiny objects and make noise when they are hit by the wind.[14]
You can also make a wind chime by hanging compact discs or long strips of shiny, reflective plastic in front of windows. Another option is to hang old aluminum pie plates in front of the windows to deter birds.

Suspend tree branches in front of the window. For a more natural look, you can suspend tree branches in front of the windows. Tie the branches to string and dangle them a few inches in front of your window in rows. This will allow you to still have a view out your window and deter birds from flying into the windows.[15]

EditInstalling Ornithologist-Approved Commercial Systems
Add Acopian BirdSavers for a simple, easy-to-install solution. Acopian BirdSavers are simple paracord curtains that you can install quickly and easily outside your windows to deter bird crashes. They consist of a series of evenly spaced vertical cords that hang in front of the window.[16] Order BirdSavers in the right sizes for your windows and follow the included installation instructions.
Acopian BirdSavers are highly effective bird deterrents, and are recommended by the American Bird Conservancy based on extensive testing.

You can purchase BirdSavers made to order of your windows here:

Make your own BirdSavers if you prefer a DIY approach. If you’d rather make your own BirdSavers, you can easily do so with a little dark-colored paracord and some vinyl j-channel. Measure the width of your window frame and cut the j-channel to the right width. Next, drill enough holes in the j-channel that you can hang the cords vertically across your entire window with about of space between each one. Insert the cords through the holes and knot them at the top so they hang at the desired length.[17]
You can mount the j-channel to the top of your window using screws or adhesive Velcro strips.

As an alternative to j-channel, try using a piece of PVC pipe or a strip of wood molding.

You can also use another piece of paracord as the top horizontal piece.[18]

Try Bird Crash Preventers if you want less visible protection. Bird Crash Preventers are another system tested and approved by the American Bird Conservancy.[19] These consist of a simple nylon grid that is highly visible to birds but nearly invisible to humans. Purchase Bird Crash Preventers in the right size for your windows and install them using the included screws and brackets.
You can order Bird Crash Preventers here:

Get Feather Friendly adhesive window dots for easy installation. These American Bird Conservancy-approved decals consist of a series of white adhesive dots that you can apply to your windows in a simple grid pattern.[20] Install the Feather Friendly adhesives yourself or request a professional installation.
These adhesives are designed to stick well in all weather conditions without damaging your window glass or any exterior coatings on the glass.

Purchase Feather Friendly window markers here:

Use Solyx Bird-Safety Film if you want more decorative options. Solyx Bird-Safety Film is an adhesive film that comes in a variety of patterns, from simple horizontal or vertical lines to decorative trellises and even colorful, nature-inspired designs. Order the film and install it yourself, or request a professional installation if you prefer.[21]
Solyx Bird-Safety Film is tested and approved by the American Bird Conservancy.

You can order this product in a variety of designs here:

Don’t try to scare off birds by placing a hawk sculpture near your window. The birds will quickly figure out that the hawk is not real, and it will not deter them from flying into your windows.

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Care For a Bird That Has Hit a Window

EditQuick Summary
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