Shuffleboard Is Cool Again—Here’s Why You Should Consider Trying It!

shuffle Photos courtesy Planet D (

If you’ve ever gone on a cruise, you’ve likely seen a shuffleboard court. It’s a game that became popular because of this very reason. 

“Shuffleboard came to America in 1913 on cruise ships from England and went through a pretty huge growth, specifically in the Florida area,” says Jonathan Schnapp, a co-owner of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn. Back then, the proprietor of the Lyndhurst Hotel went on a cruise from England, saw the game being played on the deck of the ship and fell in love with the sport. Upon his return, he drew a court outside of his hotel in Daytona Beach, Florida. Shuffleboard then took off, with St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida becoming the hub. “The oldest and largest shuffleboard club in the world, St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, has 85 courts and will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year,” says Schnapp.

The ‘50s and ‘60s were the heyday for shuffleboard. “You saw young people playing and you some movie stars playing it,” explains Schnapp. “It was very focused on leisure.” The trend began to die out in the ‘80s and ‘90s and it wasn’t until the 2000s that the sport regained momentum. In 2005, the St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club began hosting free outdoor games on Friday nights. Then, organizations like The Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, which features a modern version of a traditional shuffleboard club, offering courts, drinks, DJs and food, began helping to relaunch the game. There are now clubs all across the United States offering shuffleboard, and it’s become a popular activity at recreational and senior centers. The International Shuffleboard Association (ISA) even holds a World Championship competition every year!

Shuffleboard is a fun game to play, for all ages, and can have many benefits. There are many reasons to give it a try. Here are a few:

It’s a social game

Unlike bowling, where players are each taking turns and it’s your bowling ball vs. the pins, shuffleboard is a more social game. There’s strategy involved between teammates and of course, often a lot of smack-talking with your opponents. “If you’re playing doubles, you’ll take your turn and then sit down on the bench and so there’s lots of times to converse with others,” says Schnapp. “It’s a very social sport.” This can also be a great way to make friends. If you see some people playing, ask if you can join in!

It’s easy to learn

You don’t have to be very athletic to be good at shuffleboard. Schnapp says he and his colleagues are teaching people how to play the game every single day. “It’s very easy to learn,” he explains. “Everybody who walks in gets a lesson before they get on the court, and we can teach people how to play in about two minutes!” Keeping all the rules down may seem confusing at first, but after playing a few rounds, you’ll likely have the hang of it.

You’ll get some exercise

While shuffleboard doesn’t involve lifting weights or intense cardiovascular activity, it will get you out of the house and up and moving. “There is some bending and walking around involved for sure,” says Schnapps. “I just played four games and I’m exhausted,” he adds, with a laugh. According to fitness tracking app My Fitness Pal, a 150-pound adult who plays shuffleboard for 60 minutes can burn an average of around 204 calories.

It may also exercise your brain

Shuffleboard isn’t just about shoving a disc down the court as hard as you can—there’s quite a bit of strategy involved. Ideally, you’ll take your time in-between turns, calculating which direction you’ll want to direct your disc into, looking at how many points you need to win the game and adding up the score in your head. You’ll also analyze which discs are in your way, whether or not you can strategically bump another player’s disc out of a high scoring zone (or bump your teammates into a better zone) and more. “A good player should be able to win, whether they're hitting their shots or not,” says Schnapp. And this all comes down to how much planning they put into their turns.

The above content is shared for educational and informational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or fitness program or acting on any content on this website, especially if you have a medical condition. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on our site.

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