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Tips for a Hacky Sack Beginner

author image Emily Beach
Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.
Tips for a Hacky Sack Beginner
Boy with hacky sack resting on his foot. Photo Credit Ezekiel11/iStock/Getty Images


The hacky sack, or footbag, is a small sand- or bead-filled bag roughly the size of a small orange. Players bounce the footbag off of different parts of the feet and knees to keep it in the air and pass it to other players. While this activity is popular on many school campuses, it is also a competitive sport in many parts of the world. If you'd like to get started in this sport, take the time to choose the correct equipment and practice basic skills.

Choose the Right Bag

The outer covering and fill material used in your hacky sack can have a big impact on your ability to keep the footbag in the air. If you are a beginner, look for bags made with a soft material because you'll have the most control with the least amount of effort, suggests World Footbag. Look for bags filled with sand, which are easiest to stall on your foot as you prepare to kick or pass. If sand is unavailable, stick to bags filled with plastic beads.

Before you play, take the time to break in your hacky sack and make it easier to use. Wash fabric-covered footbags with a gentle detergent a few times to soften the fabric. Knead the ball and roll it under your foot to make it soft and supple.

Wear the Right Shoes

According to the International Footbag Players Association, the Adidas Rod Laver is the best shoe for playing hacky sack, though some players prefer simple sandals that keep the foot exposed. If you're not ready to invest in new shoes for this sport, stick to lightweight shoes with a thickly cushioned sole. Wear shoes that are relatively flat along the instep area on the side of the shoe, which makes it easier to catch and pass the footbag. Open-toed or mesh shoes also make it easier to perform toe kicks and catches.

Stance and Technique

When you're learning to play hacky sac, Freestyle Footbag recommends keeping your eyes on the bag at all times. This way, you're ready to catch the bag if it comes your way. Keep your energy in your feet and practice steady breathing to stay focused on the game.

It's also helpful to understand a few basic rules of the game. Once the hacky sack has been served, keep arms, hands and shoulders out of the game. Avoid hogging the footbag, and work on passing it to others instead of trying to keep it in the air. Try not to use knee passes, as they are difficult to catch.

Practice Basic Skills

Most hacky sack tricks require only four basic skills. By practicing these four skills on your own, you'll build confidence so you can keep up with other players. Start by bouncing the bag off the inside edge of your shoe. Keep the bag centered on the instep, and work to create a flat surface with the side of your foot. Once you are able to bounce the ball up and down a few times on the instep, switch to the outside edge of your foot. Next, try bouncing and catching the bag on your toes, then switch to your knees. Master these basic skills on both feet to improve your game and keep up with your friends.

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