Tetherball is a North American game for two opposing players. The equipment consists of a stationary metal pole, from which is hung a volleyball from a rope, or tether. The two players stand on opposite sides of the pole. Each player tries to hit the ball one way; one clockwise, and one counterclockwise. The game ends when one player manages to wind the ball all the way around the pole so that it is stopped by the rope. It must not bounce.
An early variant described in Jessie H. Bancroft's 1909 book Games for the Playground... involves tethered tennis ball hit by racquets, with similar rules of the game.
The game begins when one player enters the court and yells "Sides and ways" then serves the ball in the direction he or she chooses (provided that person yelled it first), usually by hitting it off the post, or after the opposing player serves it he or she cannot touch it until the other player touches it. The opposing player then attempts to return the serve by hitting it in the opposite direction. The object is to hit the ball in such a way that one's opponent will be unable to alter the ball's direction. This gives the server an advantage since the server has more control over the ball from the beginning. It is generally acceptable to hit the ball with either the fist or the open hand or swing.
A player can commit a violation by stepping onto his opponent's half of the pole, by catching and throwing the ball (a "crossy"), by touching the rope instead of the ball (a "ropey"), by hitting the ball twice before it has either circled the pole or been returned by the opponent or, in some variants, struck the pole (a "double touchie"). Generally, after a violation occurs, the game pauses and the ball is returned to the position it was in before the violation; the number of wraps around the pole is re-created (or a penalty-wrap is awarded to the player who did not commit the foul). The player who did not commit the violation then serves the ball. If, however, the violation appears to be intentional, it may result in loss of game. Another rule is that if the ball bounces on the pole then you can double-hit.
The game ends when one player hits the ball around the pole in their own direction as far as it will go, so that the ball hits the pole. In addition, the ball must strike the pole with the final wrap above a line marked on the pole. A 5-foot-high (1.5 m) mark is satisfactory, though a lower mark might be used for younger players. A match can go on for at least 2 or more games. If a player breaks any of these rules he/she is out and it is the next person turn to play the winner. If played with only two people and one gets out, the "loser" now gets his/her turn to serve to even out the odds for their win.