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What is the most effective cornhole technique?

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The best tailgate game deserves a definitive answer as to how to play it. How do you do it?

NCAA Football: Bowling Green at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

We are the youths of SB Nation.

We are all under 26 years of age, and thus were likely in college much more recently than you, an old, were. Given that we were most recently at a place of post-secondary education, we are the foremost authorities on tailgating games, and the king of tailgating games is cornhole. It can also go by other aliases such as dummy boards, bean bag toss, doghouse, Baggo or bags.

For the uninitiated: you play in two teams of two, with a player from each team flanking each board. You alternate shots, and then the opposite pair returns fire. You try to cancel out the other team’s bean bags. If you land three bags on, and the opponent lands two, than you earn one point. Making it through the hole is automatically three points in most common scoring systems, and you play to 21.

But the devil is in the detail: What’s the right way to play?

You throw cornhole underhand. This is not up for debate, and the protocol should be included in the Geneva Convention. One step (not in front of the board or so help me, God) and in rhythm, you lay that bean bag up there and hope you strike gold. If you need to knock some opponent’s bags off the board, you can throw it a little flatter, but if you’re playing a little safe or riding the comeback train, a nice, soft toss with a high arc’ll land you flat on the board with little bounce. Don’t mess with the way things are supposed to be, and for God sakes, do not throw the damn thing overhand like Georgia coach Kirby Smart. — Richard Johnson

You should toss the sandbag however your heart desires. I go back and forth between underhand and overhand, with a general rule: The more I’ve had to drink, the likelier it is that I’m throwing the bag overhand. (I play cornhole exclusively at tailgates, ideally before a Pittsburgh Pirates game between May and August.) The overhand lob allows you to hold the follow through like you’re shooting free throws, and you seem way cooler and more athletic to everyone around you if you manage to keep the bag on the board. You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit. — Alex Kirshner

Shooting it like a jump shot and drunkenly screaming “KOBE” as it soars far past the cornhole board and knocks over at least three beers (but it’s trash ass Miller Lite, since you could buy 24 cans for $20, so it’s fine) is the only way to play cornhole. Every other youth may tell you there’s another safer, more respectable way to do it, but don’t listen. Toss the sandbag high into the air like a dove at a funeral and let it fall where it may. Once it leaves your hand, you are no longer responsible for it. The sandbag is in the cornhole gods’ hands now.

Disclaimer: I don’t get invited to play cornhole anymore. — Tim Cato

WTF is a cornhole? Oh, that thing. Why is it called a cornhole? I have words for whoever named it that. Anyway, shoot it like Rick Barry shot free throws and thank me later. — Kristian Winfield

I went to Georgia State (commuter school gang or die), so I didn’t do a whole lot of cornhole playing in my day. On occasional trips up to the great river city of Evansville, Ind., I’d play. My strategy then was to relax by drinking some beers and not thinking about it too much, kind of like a jump shot in basketball. Let it fly, pleighboi. — Harry Lyles Jr.

Cornhole is my least favorite tailgating game ever. I graduated from the University of Florida, where cornhole is a staple. I’m left-handed, so everything I throw awkwardly curves, and it’s a constant struggle. But seriously, what’s more boring than trying to get bean bags into a small circle? If you ask me to play cornhole, I’ll be over here playing a much more fun game of beer pong or flip cup with the fun people. — Morgan Moriarty

In high school, I participated in a cornhole tournament to win free homecoming tickets. My partner in the tourney was my ex-bf, who wasn’t even going to take me to homecoming. We were pretty good. Both threw the bags straight up, no gimmicks. Just a simple, underhand toss.

We made it all the way to the championship, where we faced off against none other than my classmate and current Charlotte Hornets center, Frank Kaminsky. Frank had this technique where he’d give the bag this intense mid-air spin and it’d zag straight into the hole. EVERY. TIME. Frank single-handedly demolished us. I think he hit seven straight and won the game right then and there. Skunked us. As you can tell, this event has haunted me my entire life, and to this very day, I have never been able to master the cornhole spin move. — Jessica Smetana

Do you have a different way to skin the cat? Let us know in the comments.