Rules for a Coconut Shy
The Coconut Shy or Coconut Shie has been a well known attraction at fairs, fetes and fairgrounds for decades, if not centuries.
See also: Coconut Shy Equipment.
Coconut shy balls are hard and people throw them very hard so they are dangerous. Make sure that the area to be thrown at is clearly marked out and well away from where people will pass by.
Coconut shy stands are around 3 feet high. They can be made from wooden posts with a wooden cup shape in the top, or metal poles with loops at the top. Hammer the poles a few inches into the ground. For those on a shoe-string, home-made stands can be made using traffic cones with sink plungers stuck into their tops! They can be placed in a straight row or perhaps two or three of the poles might be placed a bit further back.
The throwing line is typically 10 feet for adults. Children might need to be a bit closer - perhaps 7 feet. Lay some tape across the front to mark the line or better yet suspend a rope at waist-height between two posts.
It is essential to have some kind of backdrop behind the coconuts to catch the balls. This is for safety reasons but also so that the stall-holder doesn't have to spend ages collecting up balls after they've been thrown. A canvas backdrop is the ideal solution but anything that can hang down behind should work - old blankets, duvets or carpets, for instance.
1 foot ~= 30cm.
Normally, a nominal sum is charged for the chance to throw five or six balls. As with most traditional fairground games, it is harder than it looks to knock a coconut off the stand so that prizes are not won too often. Often the coconuts were wedged down in the stand so that only a really hard hit would knock them up and out.
For school fairs and in other situations where the intention is to give out many more prizes, make sure that the coconuts do not sit far down inside the stand top. They can be stood on their sides if necessary. If the coconuts are very small or for small children, just balance them on top of the posts so that they don't sink into the stand at all.
To make it harder, increase the distance from the throwing line and / or reduce the number of balls thrown per turn. To make it easier, decrease the throwing distance or increase the number of balls thrown per turn.
These rules are provided by Masters Traditional Games, an Internet shop selling quality traditional games, pub games and unusual games. For general information or for copying and copyright, see our Rules Information page.
Our rules are comprehensive instructions for friendly play. If in doubt, always abide by locally-played or house rules.
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