Footbag FAQ: Footbag In General

Frequently-Asked Questions

Where did footbag come from?

Footbag is a modern American sport. It was invented in 1972 in Oregon City, Oregon, when John Stalberger met Mike Marshall, who had been kicking around a hand-made bean bag. John had recently had knee surgery and was looking for a way to work on his flexibility, and he instantly took to the game and become good friends with Marshall. They called the game, "Hack the Sack."

Stalberger and Marshall soon became enthralled with the game, which Marshall had been hoping to promote with the general public. The two designed a product, which they trademarked the "Hacky Sack", and began putting together a plan to market the product and the sport. At the same time, they decided to create a "generic" term for the sport itself, as opposed to their product, and they named the sport "footbag".

Tragically, Mike Marshall died of a heart attack in 1975, at only 28 years of age. Stalberger, determined to realize their vision of footbag as a sport, continued to promote the product and the game. He formed the National Hacky Sack Association along with the help of many others. He ultimately sold the rights for the Hacky Sack footbag to Kransco (operating under the Wham-O label), which also manufactered the Frisbee flying disc.

In the years following the creation of the Hacky Sack product, many footbag enthusiasts began sprouting up around the world, and a sport was born. Following the model of volleyball and tennis, players began volleying a footbag over a 5-foot-high net (on a Badminton court) and "footbag net" became an attractive alternative sport. Freestyle footbag (where players stand in a circle, do tricks with the footbag, and pass it around the circle) has become the most popular form of the game, because of its cooperative nature. Advanced freestylers choreograph routines to music, much like rhythmic gymnastics or figure skating.

Footbag sports now have a rules body that governs the various aspects of competitive footbag play: the International Footbag Players' Association (IFPA). For more information on organized footbag, see the Official Rules of Footbag Sports as well as the rest of this website.

Entry last updated by Steve Goldberg on 15-Jul-2007.
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