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[edit] Introduction

Shuffleboard is a leisurely, low-intensity sport played in a relaxed environment involving little cardiovascular exercise. Usually played for recreational purposes as opposed to competitive purposes, shuffleboard represents the more relaxing and social aspects of sport and can be played on teams or individually[1]. In this sense, the slow paced action during the game allows many opportunities for friendly conversation between opposing players. These social implications involving the sport of shuffleboard are very prominent in mostly every match, and it is this recreational aspect that attracts many individuals considering participating in shuffleboard.

Although shuffleboard is an inviting sport for individuals of all ages, its leisurely and recreational stigma attracts many individuals who are over the age of 65. Coincidently, there are many physical and mental benefits towards older individuals who participate in shuffleboard which may go unnoticed to the average onlooker. For older individuals, the act of participating in a shuffleboard match could possibly assist in the flexibility of particular muscles such as: the hamstring muscles, erector spinae group, as well as the abdominals and obliques[1]. Also for individuals over the age of 65, it is recommended that they participate in shuffleboard 30-60 minutes 3-4 times a week in order to suitably stimulate these muscle groups enough to keep these muscle groups in an active state[2].

The sport also has positive mental benefits which are especially important for elderly participants. As one elderly lady describes, “There is so much strategy and challenge to the game”[3]. This is quite important to elderly participants as it rejuvenates the cognitive aspects of daily life. Although the positive health implications of shuffleboard are more so linked with the elderly generation because of the benefits of strengthening core muscle groups and cognitive aspects, the game can be really be played by anyone at any level. In this sense, many modifications of shuffleboard are available to accommodate the needs of more skilled players, less skilled players, as well as specific age groups of individuals in order to make the game inclusive for all. These modifications will be discussed later in the modification section.

As stated earlier, the leisurely stigma of shuffleboard has attracted many individuals over the age of 65 to participate in the sport within North America. In the United States alone, it is quite clear that the social aspects of shuffleboard are equally as important as the actual playing of the game itself. In Florida, there are approximately 60,000 people are registered members of shuffleboard clubs (approximately 56,000 of which are over the age of 65)[3]. Many of these senior citizens state that Shuffleboard is meaningful and a central part of their daily lives. Elsewhere, there are currently 11,000 members representing 220 clubs in the California Shuffleboard Association[3]. Local clubs also seem to be flourishing in several other retirement communities in states such as: Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Ohio[3]. Furthermore, there is an annual competition which is promoted by the International Shuffleboard Association played every year in Florida which includes players from Canada, Japan, and the United States[3].

[edit] Terminology[6]

Alley: the area between the courts is referred to as the “alley.” Players retrieve their pucks by walking in the alley after each frame is completed.

Backstop: a board/barrier that is used at the end of each court to stop the pucks from travelling too far and keeping them within close distance of the court. It can also be used to describe a biscuit stopping another biscuit within the scoring area.

Bait: a series of scoring biscuits in the 7 and 8 point areas to try and catch up to the opponents score. It is termed “bait” because it often results in the opponents trying to take-out the biscuits in those scoring areas but end up drawing their own biscuits into the “kitchen” (10 off area).

Baseline: the furthest horizontal line on the 10 off area.

Biscuit: the object that is propelled using the tang. It is also referred to as a “disk”

Call: to “call” as biscuit is the process of deciding with the opponents if the biscuit is in the scoring area or not.

Carom: The combination process of when one biscuit is driven into another, then the 2nd biscuits is driven into another biscuit after that. The intention of a “carom” is to try and knock a multiple of biscuits off the court.

Clear: is the attempt to take-out a biscuit or draw a biscuit into scoring position but missing the target and the biscuit clears the court entirely.

Clear the Board: the attempt to take-out your opponents’ biscuits off the court, but also clearing your biscuit off the court as well in the same shot.

Coach: to give advice to your partner on how to approach a shot; to provide strategies, tactics, and feedback.

Cold: a player is “cold” when they have consecutive misses in a row

Control: this refers to “controlling the board.” A player is controlling the board when they are continually making successful shots and is controlling the game entirely.

Correct Shot: a successful shot that gives their team a great advantage to scoring more points than the opponents’.

Court: the surface that the game of shuffleboard takes place on. It is also referred to as a “board.”

Cue: the stick used to launch the biscuits to the other side of the court. It is also referred to as a “tang.”

Dead: when a biscuit is out of play it is “dead.”

Desperation shot: an extremely difficult shot taken at the end of a frame to try and make an effort of saving your teams chances of losing the frame. It is also referred to as a “pot shot.”

Distance: this deals with the effort concept of launching the biscuit. When a player has the ability to successfully launch a biscuit to the attended scoring area several times throughout the match, they are said to have “distance control”.

Drift: the path of direction in which the biscuit travels once launched.

Fast: the court is fast when the biscuits are moving more quickly on the court surface than usual.

Follow through: to follow through is the last stage of launching the biscuit with the tang. The point is to extend your arm and point in the direction that you want the biscuit to travel in.

Foul line: the lines that you must be behind when shooting the biscuits. If the player’s foot crosses the foul line then their shot will not count.

Frame: a frame is one set in which all the biscuits have been launched. There are usually 10 frames in a match of shuffleboard.

Game-Block: setting up a guard that will secure their team to obtain enough points to win the frame or match.

Game point: when the team that is winning only needs 7 points to win the game and can win the match by scoring 7 or more points.

Good: when a draw is shot and isn’t touching any of the lines it is called “good.”

Grip: the way that the player holds the cue/tang.

Guard: a biscuit that is shot to protect the teams own biscuit that is in scoring position. It is positioned as a defensive tactic to try and make it harder for the opposing team to hit their biscuit that’s in scoring position.

Hammer: the team that has the last shot of the round has the “hammer.” This team has the advantage to score points at the end of the frame.

Head: the end of the court that the game of shuffleboard begins at.

Hide: a hide is shooting a biscuit that into an area that is well protected and will be hard to take-out.

High Ten: successfully placing the biscuit in the top triangle scores 10 points if it remains in that triangle at the end of the frame.

Hot: when a player is consecutively making successful shots they are said to be “hot.”

In the Hole: when your team’s score is in the negatives (below 0) your team is termed to be “in the hole.”

Jockey: to slide the disk within the starting area just a couple feet to make sure there is nothing disrupting your biscuits ability to slide on the court.

Kill/Take-Out: to aim for an opponent’s biscuit and knock it off the court. This is used as a defensive tactic to make sure the other team doesn’t score as many points as your team.

Kitchen: this is the area at the end of the court. It is also referred to as the 10 off area, where if your pucks land in the “kitchen” you get 10 points taken off of your score.

Liner: this is when a biscuit lands on a line so it doesn’t score any points.

Live: a biscuit that is in play; meaning it is within the court boundaries and can be used to score points, as a guard, raise, or take-out

Match: a match of shuffleboard usually lasts about 10 frames.

Miss: when are unsuccessful in the shot that you attempted to make. Also, when you do not hit any of the biscuits it is referred to as a “miss.”

Nibble: causing the opposing team to lose a couple of points (2 or 3) rather than 10.

Nick: when your biscuit just nicks off your opponents biscuit; resulting in an unsuccessful attempt.

No Good: when a shot is unsuccessful or your shot ‘backfires’ on you and gives the other team an advantage.

Number: to score a number means to score a 7 or 8. To steal a number means to score points when the opposing team has the hammer in the frame.

Open: a biscuit is open when there is no guards set up in front of it; making it a lot easier to take it out.

Out: this refers to when it is your turn to shoot. Example: “You are out Bob; it’s your turn to shoot.”

Pigeon: this refers to when the biscuit is laying on the line dividing the 7 point and 10 off areas and the opponent has the ability to nudge your biscuit into the 10 off area.

Protected: Once a guard is set up in front of another biscuit then the biscuit is said to be “protected.”

Raise: when you bump one of your team’s biscuits into scoring position with another biscuit.

Rebound: when a biscuit is hit as a take-out and leaves the court, but hits a solid object and returns back into the scoring area.

Reverse: a scenario in which one of your biscuits are in the 10 off area and the opponents biscuit is in the 7 point area, but you shoot your next biscuit to hit their biscuit in the 7 point area into your biscuit in the 10 off area resulting in your team scoring 7 points and their team getting 10 points off their score.

Roll: when the biscuit slides sideways across the court resulting from an error that the person that is out shot.

Round: a round is when each person playing shoots one biscuit each.

Run: if the team is winning and has the hammer in this round then they will just try and clear the board so that the other team cannot score any points to catch up. This is referred to as a “run.”

Score: shooting a biscuit into a scoring area is said to be a score if it remains in the area by the end of the frame.

Separation Triangle: a small triangle in the 10 off area that separates the 10 off area to make it harder to get 10 points taken off from your score.

Shoot: when the person that is off launches their biscuit with their tang; they “shoot” the biscuit.

Sitting Duck: when a biscuit is unprotected and is open to be knocked into the 10 off area.

Snuggle: when you shoot a biscuit as close as possible to your opponent’s biscuit so they don’t try and hit your biscuit.

Stick: to hit another biscuit with the one you just shot, but when it hits the other biscuit yours stays exactly where it hit the other biscuit; making it look like it stuck to that spot on impact.

Strategy: a pre-game plan to the game to how you are going to beat the opponent’s during the match.

Stroke: the motion of the shot from the starting point to the follow through.

Tickle: when your shot of the biscuit only ‘nudges’ the other biscuit you were aiming for; only moving it a couple centimetres

Waste: to purposely make your biscuit dead that your are shooting to prevent the other team to use it for any purpose.

Winning Block: a biscuit that is shot that will give the team enough points to win the match.

[edit] History

Shuffleboard, also known as shovel-board and shove-board, has an unknown specific origin, but there is evidence of the game being played as early as 1532 in England, dating back more than 500 years[7,8]. The eldest form of the game made use of shoving/sliding coins across a table top that was then identified as shove-groat and/or slide-groat[9]. Even though today shuffleboard is primarily regarded as an elderly sport due to its minimal physical demand, the original form of the game was played by people of all ages and quickly became a favoured pastime time in England[9]. Since there is a very vague history of how shuffleboard came to be, it is unknown when the game progressed from a table top activity to deck/floor based, with the use of the biscuits and tangs that are in play today. However, shuffleboard had its largest boom in American sport from the late 1800’s to mid 1900’s[8]. The increasing demand for the game caused suppliers and manufacturers to change the original length of the board from 32feet down to 22feet to allow for better shipping and distribution[8]. Even though shuffleboard started to gain a great amount of interest and peaked in popularity during the 1950’s having been established in, 'military bases, in fraternal clubs, rehabilitation hospitals, youth clubs, town centers, seniors centers and taverns everywhere'[8], the game lacked universal rules that led to disputes and fights during amateur events, which is believed to have conducted the downfall of the game in the 1960’s and 70’s[9]. Even after such a downward spiral half way through the 20th century, the National Shuffleboard Hall of Fame was established in 1995 by a group of volunteers. Today shuffleboard has national rules, clubs, sponsors, professional players, and there are many that hope the game will gain the same momentum it once had in the past.

[edit] Rules & Equipment

Rules: The rules of shuffleboard are very straightforward and are easy to understand. The court is 52ft in total length with large triangles at opposite ends facing one another. There is a line drawn at either side of the court, 6 and ½ feet from the end of the courts, just in front of the triangles. This line is called the baseline, creating the shooting area between the end of the court and the baseline. [10] Players are not allowed to shoot their biscuit past the baseline. There is a deadline that is 3ft from the tip of the triangle in which the biscuit must pass over. [10] Teams will flip a coin to determine who goes first. Each team must take turns shooting their biscuits until they are all gone. After switching sides, teams will switch who shoots first and who receives the hammer. The objective of the game is mainly to have fun, but there are scoring zones to determine the winner.

The triangle is split into 5 scoring areas and the bottom of the triangle being a minus scoring zone. There is a line drawn directly down the middle of the triangle, splitting the 2 middle scoring zones into pairs. The tip of the triangle is worth 10 points. The upper-middle of the triangle is worth 8 points. The lower-middle of the triangle is worth 7 points. The end of the triangle is worth -10 points. [10]

Shuffleboard can be played in groups or individually, with the same amount of biscuits per side. Each team is given 4 biscuits per side and are to shoot each shot from the opposite 10-off section. Each player must push the biscuit with their tang and make it past the deadline in order for the biscuit to be counted in the play. [11] Each team takes turns shooting their biscuits until they have run out and the teams tally up their points and then the game play will switch to the other side and teams will shoot towards the opposite triangle. A typical shuffleboard game consists of 10 frames (both teams taking their turns) and the team with the most points at the end of the 10th frame will be declared the winner.[11] However, shuffleboard is a game in which people play to enjoy and the competition level should remain low in order to ensure that each participant has fun. Opponents should encourage one another and be positive throughout the game as the main objective of shuffleboard is participation and entertainment. Proper etiquette is stressed so that each individual is ensured a fun and entertaining environment of play.


1 court per game

1 tang per player

4 weighted biscuits per team

1 scoring sheet per game

1 pencil/pen to keep score on the scoring sheet.

[edit] Skills & Techniques

Skills: The skills involved regarding the sport of Shuffleboard are very few in nature. However, there are particular skills which are essential for playing shuffleboard in order to become successful during the game. Some of these skills such as: raises, guards, and take-outs used in shuffleboard are similar to those used in curling, but nevertheless these involve particular actions in order to be successful. A raise in shuffleboard is similar to a raise in curling in the sense that they are both used as an offensive tactic to score points. During a raise, one places their biscuit to hit another one of their own biscuits (not in scoring position), into scoring position[3]. This will essentially give your team an opportunity to score points if executed properly. Regarding defensive skills, guards are used in order to keep your opponents from scoring. In order to execute a guard properly, you must place a biscuit in front of another biscuit on your team which is already in scoring position in order to guard that biscuit from possibly getting knocked out of scoring position[3]. This leads to the second defensive skill called a take-out. A take-out is used to knock the opponents’ biscuit out of scoring position. In order to execute a take-out properly, simply guide the biscuit into your opponent’s biscuit with enough force so that your opponent’s biscuit is knocked out of scoring position[3].

Techniques: There are furthermore certain techniques involved in shuffleboard which are very unique and specific to the sport. The technique of holding properly the tang and using the proper amount of force to push the biscuit is quite important regarding offensive tactics when scoring. There is a specific follow-through technique used when pushing the biscuit in which you must extend your arm and follow-through with your shot with your knees flexed[3]. Another important technique when regarding shuffleboard is the fact that you must read the play on the surface and decide what your next shot would be appropriate to the situation[2]. This is extremely important shuffleboard players since the one must choose their play based on the other biscuits are on the court.

[edit] Progressions Based on LTAD (Long Term Athlete Developmnent Program)

As stated earlier, shuffleboard is a leisurely sport which does not include much aerobic exercise. Although it is mostly popular amongst the elderly generation, it does seem to have some popularity with the younger generation. The following is a progression of skills in shuffleboard regarding the Long Term Athlete Development Program. In the Active Start Stage in which males and females are ages 0-6, children should begin their development of shuffleboard by playing simple target games to introduce them to the sport category. These games do not have to be complicated by any means, and should emphasize simplicity and learning aspects. Games such as: lawn bowling and throwing a ball through a hoop are both acceptable for children at this age in order to prepare for shuffleboard later in life.

The FUNdementals Stage in which males are 6-9 years of age and females are 6-8 years of age, target games should be centered on the aspect of having fun. At this age for both genders, it is essential for children to have fun while playing in these games rather than focusing on the competitive aspects some games may hold. This fun aspect can be reinforced by the inclusiveness of all players during these simple target games.

Regarding the Learning to Train Stage, males aged 9-12 and females aged 8-11 that are willing to pursue shuffleboard in their future should begin to be learn the importance of strategies and techniques (as discussed earlier) regarding shuffleboard. This educational information should be taught to children in demonstration as well as through written examples in order for the information to be helpful to children later in their Shuffleboard careers.

The Training to Train Stage in which males are aged 12-16 and females are aged 11-15 should be concerned about working on the skills and techniques which they were introduced verbally and by demonstration in the previous stage. These individuals should become familiar with executing the skills and techniques of raises, take-outs, and guards by practicing on an actual Shuffleboard playing surface.

During the Training to Compete Stage, males aged 16-23 and females aged 15-21 should be concerned with using these skills and techniques to their advantage during actual competition within a shuffleboard game against others. When playing friendly competitions with others, one must use the skills he/she has learned to execute in the previous stage in order to compete against others who are of the same skill level. This competition will become important in the improvement of skills and techniques when playing others in shuffleboard in the later stages of the progression.

For the Training to Win Stage, males aged 19 and older and females aged 18 and older should concern themselves with knowing what it takes to win from the skills and techniques they have learned which were discussed earlier. These adults should concern themselves with others strategies, and be knowledgeable enough to know what to do in certain situations within the game.

In the Active for life Stage any age group of individuals should continue to play shuffleboard on a leisurely basis with friends and others who enjoy the sport as well. Individuals who participate in shuffleboard at the later stages of their careers will have the advantage of staying active for life because there are many other older individuals who participate in shuffleboard at a later age as well.

[edit] Training Principles

For shuffleboard, it is essential to maintain upper body strength in order to push the weighted biscuit far enough to reach the opposite end. It is also essential to be mentally fit because there are many strategies that are involved in shuffleboard and takes a great deal of planning your shots. A good way to keep mentally fit is to play chess and also to play similar aim and accuracy games to shuffleboard, such as curling and bowling. Before playing, players should stretch out their arms and legs because these muscles are used constantly when playing shuffleboard in order to prevent any injuries.

[edit] Tactical Problems and Solutions

Shuffleboard is a game meant for people of all skill sets and ages and therefore there is no definate progression through the LTAD for the tactical problems and solutions. For example, even during the active start stage the children can grasp the concept of taking out an opponent’s biscuit to enhance their chances of winning the game, however for the purpose of this assignment the tactical solutions are listed in order from the most simplistic to the most complex.

The tactical problems for the game of shuffleboard are as follows:

Offensive: How can a team increase their success and therefore score more points?

Defensive: How can a team decrease their opponent’s chance of success and therefore limit the amount of points the opposition scores?

The tactical solutions for these problems in the game of shuffleboard are as follows:


1. Missing your shots short rather than long so your teammates have the chance to perform a raise and knock the biscuit into scoring position.

2. Utilizing the technique of blocking, by placing your biscuits in front of your teammate’s biscuits which would already be in scoring position.

3. Using the skills of aim and accuracy to ensure good shots are taken. Aim and accuracy can be improved upon through the use of the proper technical shooting form.

4. Controlling the amount of weight (fine/firm) or force you put behind the biscuit.


1. Utilizing the skill of takeouts to knock your opponent’s biscuits out of the scoring area.

2. Utilizing the concept of raises to knock your opponent’s biscuits out of the scoring area.

3. Ensure your biscuits are not placed closely together, making them an easy target for your opponent and also limiting the amount of open board your opponent has to aim at.a

[edit] Assessment Strategies

The best way to access a player’s shuffleboard literacy is to observe actual in game play.

Skills (draws, raises, takeouts): Players may be assessed on a scale of one to five (five being the best and one being the worst) on their ability to properly and consistently complete draws, raises, and takeouts. The technical form of all these skills may be assessed as well as the player’s ability to complete them successfully in a game situation.

Tactics: Players may be assessed on a scale of one to five (five being the best and one being the worst) on their ability to properly implement the correct strategies throughout actual game situations. The ability to implement the correct strategies may be assessed as well as the player’s ability to successfully complete these strategies in a game situation.

Rules: Players may be assessed on a scale of one to three (three being the best and one being the worst) on their ability and willingness to conform to the rules of shuffleboard. For example, ensuring that each team is taking turns shooting their biscuits rather than one team all at once. For a proper assessment it is necessary that all participants fully understand and have gone over the rules of the game.

Fair Play: Players may be assessed on a scale of one to three (three being the best and one being the worst) on their gamesmanship and fair play. Shuffleboard is a unique game that combines a form of relaxation as well as competitiveness; therefore it is necessary to ensure fair play to uphold the integrity of the game. It is important to stress honesty with regards to the point scoring system as well as the scorekeeping aspect of the game.

[edit] Modification of Strategies

Some strategies in the game of shuffleboard could be to try and draw a biscuit into scoring position, then setting up guards around the biscuit in scoring position to prevent the other team from taking it out. If the opponents were to take it out then you could try and draw another scoring biscuit or take-out their biscuits. Having the hammer in the round (the last biscuit shot) is a huge advantage when it comes to scoring points or maintaining a lead. If a team is ahead in the scoring by a larger amount, then it is smart to strategically ‘run’ the board. What this means is to just take-out all of your opponents biscuits so they do not score any points, and if you have a biscuit in scoring position it could potentially give you more points. Another strategy when having the hammer is to set up a draw early in the match, then if possible get a guard for that biscuit, then near the end of the game attempt for a raise of that guard so you score more points. Another good strategy is to put less effort into the toss because it reduces the chances of landing in the 10 off zone, and increases the chances of landing live in play as a guard to potentially be raised, land in the top ten area, and 7 or 8 areas. When you do not have the hammer a good strategy would be to set up a guard at the start of the match and try to drift a draw into scoring position around that guard so it is harder for the opposition to take-out your biscuit that is in scoring position.

Shuffleboard is a very flexible game for people with varying disabilities. It is actually one of the most popular games for senior citizens because it is not as stressful on the body as most sports and it can also be played competitively and socially. There are several modifications that can be made to the game of shuffleboard, for example: for people in wheelchairs and lower back injuries there is also a variation that involves shuffleboard being on a table so the people don’t have to bend or lean over to pick up the biscuits or have a person with you to retrieve the pucks for you because it is very possibly to manipulate the tang while in a wheelchair; the court could be made on a board that was white with black lines and have better contrasted coloured biscuits to help with contrast to people with vision disabilities; and if someone had a hearing impairment then you could walk them through the court and have some sort of sensors to illustrate where the scoring areas are.

Some simplifications that could be made to make the game easier are: making the scoring areas larger, making the court closer to the starting area, and throwing beanbags instead of using the tang and biscuit. Some extensions that could be used to make the game more challenging are: making the scoring areas smaller and the 10 off area larger, making the courts farther apart, and using heavier biscuits.

[edit] References

1. Shuffleboard Fitness training. (1992-2011). In Fitness-Facts. Retrieved April 2, 2011, from

2. Fletcher, G. F. (1992). Benefits and Recommendations for Physical Activity Programs for all Americans. Journal of the American Heart Association, 86, 340-344.

3. Snyder, E.E. (2003). The Social World of Shuffleboard. Urban life, 2, 237-253.

4. Picture sourced from:

5. Picture sourced from:

6. Eldridge, M. F. (2002-2011). Glossary of Shuffleboard Terms. In Shuffleboard Club. Retrieved April 6, 2011, from'sup.htm#Glossary

7. Shuffleboard. (2011). In ASK- Encyclopedia. Retrieved April 9, 2011, from

8. History of the game (1989, June). In The Shuffleboard Federation. Retrieved April 8, 2011, from

9. Bowers, R & D. (2005, September). The History of Shuffleboard. In Shuffleboard Corner. Retrieved April 8, 2011, from

10. Shuffleboard Court Layout with Marking Details. (n.d.). In Construction Work - Construction work Centre. Retrieved April 3, 2011, from

11. Official Rules of the National Shuffleboard Association, Inc. (1997). In Shuffleboard Europe. Retrieved April 3, 2011, from

12. Picture sourced from: The Rules of Shovelboard and Shuffleboard (1999). In Masters Games. Retrieved April 1, 2011, from

13. Picture sourced from:

14. Picture sourced from:

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