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How to Play Croquet

Rahul Thadani Feb 28, 2019
Learning the rules of croquet is not hard since the main concept of the game is to hit a ball with a hammer and make it pass through a wicket. There are several other subtleties about the game though, which can only be picked up with experience.
Croquet is a very popular game that is played by families and business gatherings on an open stretch of grass. The objective of the game is very simple, but learning and mastering the game is something that one needs time for.
There are many variations of croquet that are seen around the world, and they all depend on the nature of the group that is playing the game. A formal business gathering will follow proper rules and regulations, whereas a family gathering will be more flexible and change the rules so that each member can enjoy the game with the rest of the family.
The concept of the game is to simply hit a ball through some inverted U-shaped wickets that are inserted into the ground, with the help of a mallet, which is a kind of hammer. The wickets are numbered sequentially, and the ball needs to pass through each wicket in this same order.
Basically, the team that passes the ball through all the wickets the earliest, wins the game. It sounds simple enough and it even looks fairly easy, but the game can actually be far more complicated than this.

The Rules of Croquet

As mentioned, the rules can vary from game to game. Since this is a rather informal game, groups can decide beforehand the order of the wickets and where they are placed, and they can also take a decision about the positioning of these wickets.
The game can also be played between individuals or between teams. In most cases, there are 9 wickets that are placed on the ground, but this number can also differ from game to game.
Each player gets a colored ball that is assigned to him, and he can only hit that ball with the mallet. Subsequently, he can play a shot that causes the ball to pass through a wicket, or he can also play a shot that causes his ball to strike another player's ball and throw it off the course.
The rules also talk about other factors like roqueting an opponent's ball, and other instances when the player will get one or more bonus shots.
The primary thing to remember here is that if a player manages to get his ball to pass through a wicket in his shot, then he will get a chance to play a second shot, and so on. But this can only be done if he has passed the wicket that fits into the right sequential order.

Tips for Croquet Players

In order to learn croquet easily, the best bet would be to see someone play the game in front of you. This will give you a better idea about the stance that you need to maintain and the manner in which the ball must be struck with the mallet.
Taking aim with the mallet and applying the right amount of power is something that can only be learned after playing the game though, so this is something that you will need to practice.
There are plenty of instructional videos and clips that can also be viewed in order to get a better idea about the same. In the meantime, here are some general tips and guidelines that every aspiring croquet player should be aware of.
  • Never place your foot on a ball, or use your foot to alter the direction a ball is taking.
  • The aim should always be to earn more bonus strokes than the opposing team.
  • A good strategy for playing is to hit the opponent's croquet balls and move them out of play as often as possible.
  • If you can pass your ball through the first two wickets simultaneously in your first shot, then you will get 2 bonus shots, which can be played at any time in the game.
  • You can also attempt to block your opponent's balls by placing your ball in front of the wicket that it is going to pass through.
  • It is always best to choose a mallet that is heavy, and has a longer shaft to hold. Heavier mallets result in straighter shots.
  • Hold the mallet in a grip that is comfortable for you, and swing the mallet between your legs. Excessive swinging will lead to inaccurate shots.
  • Try to avoid leaving your ball near your opponent's ball once your turn is done. This is not possible all the time, but you must keep it in mind.
All of these rules and instructions will help you learn the game easily and excel at it. Croquet can be a fun and stressful game at the same time, so it is important to know all the important tricks and guidelines, as this knowledge will help you improve your game by leaps and bounds.