He Got Game: Beer Pong

Advice you never asked for by someone who probably shouldn’t be providing any...

“[Beer Pong] is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.” – Yogi Berra

“I see great things in [Beer Pong]. It’s our game – the American game.” – Walt Whitman

These quotes may have been slightly tweaked, but their wisdom rings just as true, if not truer, than their original forms.

Let’s get this out of the way: Beer Pong is great. I recognize it, you recognize it, Walt fuckin’ Whitman recognized it. I know what you’re thinking: This McCannon fellow is on to something…I love beer pong. At the same time I’ve accepted the fact that my game is absolute slop and I’m doomed to embarrass myself once I finally get on the table* at any party.

“Nah, dude, you’re next after next after NEXT…after next.”

Cut this defeatist, un-American bullshit right now. Anyone can learn to rip up competition on a beer pong table. All you need is this ONE WEIRD TRICK! It’s driving all the scientists crazy!

Anyone can play guitar…or beer pong

Bluff…there’s 5 tips – not one trick – and if you already suck at beer pong you’ll probably continue to suck at beer pong after reading them. Though, if you keep these in mind, you might not completely embarrass yourself:

1. Get all that goddamned extra motion out of your shot.

I once played with a guy who would hunch over like a lineman, bring the ball to within inches of the ground, rise up from his haunches like Fawkes, get his body pencil straight with his arm fully extended above his head, and then flick the ball from his now-Statue-of-Liberty-esque stance. The whole production was completely ridiculous and the guy was 100% serious, no irony to it whatsoever. You’re probably wondering, and yes, the guy was a Mega Douche*, sewn together from the bodies of lesser douches in a lab by a maniacal scientist and his crack team of Bro Technicians. Actual quote: “Cali was so tight. Fucked so many chicks,” delivered in exactly the voice you would imagine.

* I feel like the term “douche” is completely played out, but really there’s no other word to describe this guy. It fits too well.


Shooting a ping pong ball across 8 feet of space requires very little energy. This isn’t like launching a 3-pointer with NBA defenders in your face. Notice when those guys shoot free-throws, there’s no jumping. You don’t need to jump, you don’t need to lunge, and you don’t have to rise from the floor to your tiptoes to get the ball to the cups. The more shit you do, the more shit to fuck up and throw off your shot. I see so many people use their legs when they shoot…WHY? If you can’t get the ball to the cups with just your elbow and arm, you have bigger issues to worry about. Try to have the simplest, easiest-to-replicate form you can comfortably have. The less moving parts, the better. Get a routine.

2. Don’t be the guy who does a bunch shit to try to distract the other team.

Busch league. Amateur hour. You’re better than that. The most common move is waving your hands over the cup while doing some form of retarded dance, giggling to yourself all the while. Guess who did that shit? The Cali Bro from tip #1. You should live your life trying to do the exact opposite of everything that guy ever did.

If you’re going to do it, at least have the common courtesy to take it to the extreme and whip your balls out, Bart-style (the POLife blogger, not the Simpson).

This “tip” is gender specific. If a girl wants to mash her boobs together behind the cups, more power to em.

“Crying is not the only weapon a woman has” – Cersei Lannister (as she shoved her tits together to distract someone during a game of Cyvasse)

Other don’ts:

  • Don’t play with that insane “death cup” rule. So you happened to get lucky and bounce the ball off the ceiling, the television, Bart’s ballsack, my shoulder, then the bottom of the cup I’m holding. What should happen: nothing. What normally happens: a bunch of yelling and then the game abruptly ends.
  • Don’t bounce. I get bouncing…it can be fun and it keeps people on their toes. But I can’t get over the “you have to make EVERY cup” mindset. I just can’t.
  • Don’t blow. Only seen one guy ever try this – you can guess who it was. Girls can get away with it, I guess. Very unfairly, looks will probably end up being a factor on if this flies or not.
  • Don’t finger. Supposed to be the “guy’s version” of the blow rule. Just shut the fuck up. Terrible rule.
Best Beer Pong rule: To a certain extent, the less rules you involve the better.

3. Host a beer pong tournament based on international soccer tournaments.

Best. Idea. Ever

The entire reason I’m writing this is because this weekend is the 3rd annual “PO hosts a beer pong tournament based around some International Soccer Tournament.” If you’re reading this, there’s a 78% chance you’re coming to the EURO Cup of beer pong on Saturday. Just typing about it, I have a shit-eating grin plastered across my face.

The lowdown: get 16 guys and pair them randomly with 16 girls. Assign each team a random country for the international tournament you are mimicing. Costumes and shenanigans ensue.

The group play structure from soccer really works well and the random guy-girl pairings generally means solid parity among the teams. Shit gets real intense towards the end. In our World Cup of Beer Pong (2 years ago), I hit a shot where I genuinely lost my fucking mind. When an event gets you to a point where you literally lose control of your body in a fit of jumping, fist-pumping, and general rowdiness, you know it’s a good idea.

So…if you host something like this you’ll probably get better at beer pong. Makes sense.

4. Be the Ball.

Earlier this week I went golfing with my younger brother. We didn’t do so hot. The main reason wasn’t that we’re not any good, even though this is certainly the case. The culprit was a textbook case of Not Being the Ball. When you’re Not Being the Ball in Golf, you slice and hook your way through the rough, out-of-bounds and end up with triple and quadruple bogies. When you’re Not Being the Ball in Beer Pong, you’re not even hitting rim.

You can’t succeed unless you decide to Be the Ball each and every game. If you need to ask what that means, you’re already in trouble. Being the Ball is a state of mind…like Zen, Nirvana, Ka, Orange County, or the WWE Wrestling Hall of Fame. Remember the Yogi Berra Quote from like 1000 words ago? 90% of Beer Pong is mental, and if you’re not consciously Being the Ball, you’re losing 90% of the battle.

A good start is to just whisper it to yourself as you’re going through your pre-shot routine: “Be the ball, baby…be the ball.” And call yourself “baby”…you’re fucking money, baby, and you’re worth it.

5. If nothing else works, go to extreme measures.

Get outside your comfort zone. You’re going to lose anyway; might as well make it memorable.

Destroying the elbow rule

Author’s Note, inexplicably delivered in third person: McCannon takes beer pong only slightly less seriously than this article lets on. He won the 2010 PO World Cup of Beer Pong with his sister and is pretty good, but not like one of these guys from national tournaments or championships. Remember, this segment is advice from people who probably shouldn’t be giving any. You really should disregard what you just read (except for the “less motion in your shot” part, that was kinda useful). There wasn’t much “advice” in there anyway.



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