How To Play -- Basic Shots Played in Table Shuffleboard



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  Overview: Table Shuffleboard games are loved by all ages!!! (Back to Top)

There was a time when table shuffleboard games were loved only by the players, not operators, or location owners. The game was thought of as an "older person's game" or an "expensive bar table."  Often times table shuffleboard is confused with "deck/floor" shuffleboard where players push a stick on the ground to get their puck to the scoring area.  Times have changed!  Table shuffleboard has become a competitive and growing sport amongst players of all ages.  With the success of Sports Bars, Brewery Restaurants and Family Fun Centers, table shuffleboard has caught on with players of all ages.  In addition, many shuffleboard  players are putting these shuffleboards in their own homes. The games involve skill and, of course, a little luck.  FUN FOR ALL AGES to play! 


There are several basic shots used by players of table shuffleboard.  Typically players start learning the basic shot called "rail guided shot" and then learn additional type of releases to enable better execution of more complex shots or position a puck into a desired area of the board. One must practice and find the shot(s) and releases most comfortable for each individual to execute shots with the most stability at hitting their target or intended final position of their weight(s).  There is no one way that a weight must be held, guided, or executed.  Styles and grips and shots used are individual preference.

A brief description of some of the basic shots used in table shuffleboard described below: (photos coming soon for examples of various releases used) 

RAIL GUIDE (Straight Rail, Cross Board, Span, Thumb Shot releases)
The most common shot is where you use the rail as a guide to place your shot or hit your opponents weight/puck.  Slide the weight/puck with either hand along the edge of either rail usually in order to knock off an opponents weight.  You can shoot straight down the rail (typically referred to as a STRAIGHT RAIL SHOT) or across board left-to-right or right-to-left (whichever works best to place your puck or to hit your opponents weight - typically referred to as a CROSS BOARD SHOT) using the rail as your guide by holding one or more fingers along the rail to give you the stability and guide of your aim. 
     There are several execution positions that one might use while using the rail as your stability and guide for your aim.  Most use two fingers (pinky and ring finger) to guide their puck's  aim on the rail and use the thumb and forefinger (next to the thumb) to grip the puck as they release the puck off the rail.  However, the SPAN release and THUMB shot release are also used along with using the rail as the shot execution guiding force.  In the SPAN shot, player typically uses the pinky finger to guide on the rail and spreads hand holding the weight with the thumb and forefinger.  In the THUMB shot execution, the thumb is placed in center of weight (versus typical pinky/forefinger grip) to guide the puck in the direction desired (down the rail straight or across the board).
FREE-HAND SHOT - This is simply a shot carried out without the use of the rail as a guide from any desired location on the board.  This shot comes in handy in situations where the use of a rail shot would be difficult to hit or pass your opponents weight/puck with use of solely coming off the rail.
DOUBLE TAKEOUT SHOT - Removal of two of your opponents weights/pucks with one shot.
NUDGE/BUMP SHOT - Pushes another weight/puck further up the board.  This shot is typically used to bump one of your weights/pucks into a deeper scoring position on the board or to pass your opponents weight/puck by nudging or bumping your weight/puck further up the board to pass your opponents weight/puck.
GUARD/COVER SHOT - Shot that positions your weight/puck into the guard zone to protect another one of your weights/pucks that is typically in the scoring zone and you are attempting to make it difficult for your opponent to hit your deepest weight/puck by placing a shallower cover on your existing weight/puck.
GO-AROUND SHOT - When using the go-around/come-around shot, you attempt to curl your released weight so that it comes to rest behind one of your opponents pucks in the scoring area.
SPLIT SHOT - Using a puck to strike another so they both come to a stand-still in the area of play (without either puck falling off the board).  For instance, you might be able to hit one of your existing pucks that is sitting near a higher scoring line so that the existing puck and the one being shot will remain in the scoring area or possibly have one or both weights come to a stand-still in the higher scoring area.  Example:  you might slide an existing one or two scoring weight into the next scoring zone and have one or both weights split apart into the scoring area.  By splitting your two weights, then the opponent may have to make choice of which one to shoot at because they are split in such a way that would make it difficult for the opponent to execute a double takeout.
HIT & ROLL/WICK SHOT - Shot where a puck touches another stationary puck just enough to change the played puck's direction.
STUN/STICK SHOT - The purpose of this shot is to knockoff your opponent's puck from the board while leaving the puck that you have shot at a stand-still in the scoring area.
HIT & GO SHOT - The purpose of this shot is to knockoff your opponent's puck from the board while your puck also goes off the board (both pucks leaving the board and scoring area).  Typically, this shot might be desired because you do not want to stick your released weight and leave your opponent a go-around shot or on your last shot before your opponents hammer where you wish to leave your opponent a clear board to lag against and give you the hammer coming back in the next frame.
FREEZE (ROLL & FREEZE) - Using one puck to strike another so they both come to a stand-still in the area of play.  

NOTE 1:  ANIMATED EXAMPLES:  You can view some of the above described "animated shots" at the below Shuffleboard Co. UK website (macro flash media player formatted) by clicking on the following URL link (click on below link): (These examples are shown on the 4 zone lined handicap board (1-2-3-4 lines versus 1-2-3 lines found on most boards), but the concept of the shots is the same whether playing on a 4-line or 3-line board surface. 

NOTE 2:  The Macromedia Flash Plug-In is a plug-in that allows you to view animation on the internet. It is likely that you already have this installed, but if clicking on above UK site URL  fails to display the shot animation menu, you can download a macromedia player at below URL (and then try above UK Site link again after installing the macromedia player) from the macromedia website at:

Basically, you should strive for three main objectives, in order to win at table shuffleboard:

  1. Well-Placed Weight – This is of paramount importance. Learn to place a Weight as far down the board as possible, without having it fall off. In Cushion Board models, learn to place it in the corners, for the highest scoring zone. This technique is best attained by frequent practice.
  2. Attacking Opponent’s – You may have learned how to place a Weight in a high-scoring position, but so may your opponent. Thus, it is of importance to learn how to attack and knock off your opponent’s highest scoring Weights, so as to prevent them from scoring. Frequent practice will help you to develop this technique also.
  3. Blocking Your Own Weights – When you have learned how to place Weight high in the scoring areas, you will want to protect it from your opponent’s subsequent attacks. The method of doing this is called blocking or screening a Weight, a familiar tactic in football and basketball play. Simply place your succeeding Weight behind your leading Weight in such a position that your opponent will not be able to touch your leading Weight in his/her attack. Never place a blocking Weight too close to the scoring Weight, because a good attacker will then be able to remove both of from the board.

Develop Use Of Both Hands

Shuffleboard is a game that requires ability with either hand. Beginners will find making shots with one hand just as simple as with the other, after a bit of practice. One should learn to favor neither hand, but rather to try to shoot an equal number of shoots with either hand. Doing so will greatly improve his/her ability to play.

The Use Of “Side-Wheeling” On Longboard Models

While it may seem easier to shoot your Weight from the center of the board (free-hand), most players eventually learn the more accurate “side-wheeling” method of delivering a Weight on the Longboard models. To shoot in this manner, the player allows the third and fourth fingers of his/her shooting hand to slide along the side edge of the playing surface, so as to act as a guide and balance. His/Her Weight is more easily controlled, and he/she is assured a much greater degree of accuracy in placing it.

The Use Of “Top-Of-Board” Shooting On Cushion Models

Because angle-shooting is an important part of the Cushion Board game, a cushion player must learn to shoot from the center area of the board (Top-of-Board style), from any angle and with either hand. Thus he/she does not make use of the side edge of the playing top. Rather, he/she must rely more acutely on his/her own sense of direction and judgment in placing Weights.

The Use of “English” (Twist) On Longboard Models

The use of English or twist on a Weight being delivered on a Longboard can greatly aid accuracy. Putting English on a shot is accomplished by twisting the thumb and forefinger away from the wrist and in toward the body, as the Weight is being delivered. Properly applied, it may greatly improves that Weight’s chance of remaining on the board, after it makes contact with an opponent’s Weight. The English acts like a brake, holding it in place. It also enables players to hide delivered Weights behind Weights already on the board, thus gaining the advantage of having a just-delivered Weight well blocked without further play. English can be of great value when making draw shots as well. Never use English on Cushion (aka Bumper or Bank) model shots because it can deflect Weights erratically when they strike the side cushions.


Shooting First Weight – A Player who shoots first Weight should try to place it as far down the board as possible, along either rail. If his/her opponent fails to knock off that Weight, the first player should then try to place his/her next Weight in the opposite corner (similar to split in bowling). This gives him/her two Weights in good scoring position, yet far enough apart so that his/her opponent can attack only one of them in his/her next shot. Following this, the first player should then block his best scoring or remaining Weight. Shooting First Weight Against A Good Draw Player – A player who shoots first Weight against an expert draw player (one who can place Weights far down the board), should follow these basic tactics in order to prevent the draw player from getting high scores:

  1. The first player should shoot his/her first Weight so that it lands in the Deuce zone. The expert draw player will have to knock off this Weight, rather than out-draw it.
  2. In turn, the first player knocks off his opponent’s Weight and tries to stay on the board with his attacking Weight. Each time, the remaining Weight will lie slightly behind the previous Weight’s position. This strategy will result in only one Weight remaining on the board (it will be the expert’s Weight), but it will lie only in the One zone, thereby preventing a high round score.
  3. Assuming there are no Weights left on the board after each player has delivered three Weights, the player shooting first should then attempt to place his/her final Weight as close to the Trey line as possible, straddling the same, if he/she is able. Such a placed Weight makes even the expert’s final draw shot an extremely hazardous one. Actually, the draw player will the have but one logical play: to knock off that Weight in hope to remain on the board with his/her own.

Shooting Last Weight – A player who shoots last Weight (it is known as the hammer) has the advantage in that round. How he/she uses this advantage depends on his/her skill. If he/she is a good draw player, he/she can count on last Weight to out-draw any Weight his/her opponent may have on the board.

However, the safest strategy for the novice is to play a Weight-for-Weight game when he/she has the hammer. That is, he/she should attempt to knock off anything his/her opponent has placed well down on the board, and at the same time try to keep his/her own attacking Weight on the board (in most cases, unless you do not want to stick a weight, for instance, that your opponent may hide a weight with a go-around shot that you may not be able to hit or hit and stick with your hammer weight).




     Page Last Updated:  12/14/2005 07:23:30 PM