Tug of War (Rope Pulling) | How it is Played?

If you delve deep in history, you’ll learn that Tug War is one of the most ancient sports which is believed to be popular in the ancient world of Greece, Egypt and China. Though now it is known as rope pulling, the rules and object of the game remains the same.

Rules of Tug of War

The game requires physical fitness and strength, nevertheless, it is equally popular among women as it is in man. The game is played in Japan, Indonesia, India, Pakistan and in many Asian and European countries with little variation in the rules.

Object of the Game

Like many small sports, Tug of War matches are played in best of three format and the team that wins the most pulls wins the match. All you have to do is simply pull and pull until the opposition has been successfully pulled across the opposition’s 4m marker towards the centre. There are no draws in Tug of war.

How to Play?

Tug of war is a team sport in which teams of equal number of players try to pull the rope towards them in such a way that their opposite team is pulled ahead of the marked line. It’s basically a competition between physical strength of both teams, the team which has more powerful players ends up being a winner.

But for a fair game, you must learn the rules of the game first. When the game starts and where should your elbow be while pulling the ropes, all kinds of rules and common infringements have been mentioned below in an easy-to-understand way for your convenience.

General Rules of Tug of War

  • Each team consists of 8 players.
  • Tug of war matches are played between teams falling in the same weight category.
  • The mass of the eight players combined must not be more than the weight eligible to feature in a particular category.
  • At the start of the play, the centre line of the rope must be above the line marked on the ground.
  • Both teams pull the ropes until one of them manages to pull the mark on the rope closest to their opponents over the centerline.
  • While pulling the rope, the elbow must be below the knee, otherwise a foul will be called.
  • If you don’t comply with the rules of the games, you can be disqualified. Disqualification in the tug of war means that pull is accredited into the opposition’s account.

Time Duration of the Game

There is no time limit but the game hardly lasts for a few minutes. Each game consists of 3 pulls and 1 pull lasts for a couple of minutes until one of the teams has pulled the opponents. After every pull, teams get 2 minutes of rest.

Playing Area

There are no field specifications which is why this game is easy to play. All you need is a centre line and team’s halves – no specific requirements for the halves as well. The two ends should be equally aligned with a line in the centre.

Equipment Required in Game

The only thing required to play this game is a rope. Players remain bare feet and no one can wear a glove or anything that would assist them in pulling their opponent.

The rope length may vary in different tournaments. In general, the circumference of the rope used is 11 cm and is at least 33.5m long.

Referee in Tug of War

The referee’s role is to give fair judgment on pulls and disqualify teams when they don’t comply with the rules. The referee’s words are final and you can’t argue.

Famous Tournaments

The Tug of War game is played with little modifications in different international and domestic tournaments like the Olympics.

Governing Body for Tug of War

The Tug of War International Federation (TWIF) is the international governing body of the game with 72 members and headquarters located in the USA.