The Tug-of-War Teams


Team members should be generally fit. It is not just strength and weight but stamina and determination that makes good team members. Tug-of-War is the ultimate team sport, requiring everone to act together, at the same time and in the same direction (the rope helps here). The Coach is as important as those on the rope since they give the coordination and the tactics. The nearest equivalents in other sports is the rugby pack or the rowing eight. Outside of sport the type of strength needed is that of construction workers, who handle weight all day long.


For small or informal events it is not worth have different weight categories but it might be worth imposing a maximum team weight (you will need a weighing machine to enforce this). You could also have separate men and womens events, but in these modern times mixed events and teams are quite acceptable. Juniors (under 17 years old) should be kept to a separate event since the relative strength a weight could damage joints.


I have observed four types of team at the Fleet Carnival: cavalier; serious, manic and the awsome.

The cavalier teams want to take part and test themselves but do not expect to win (even one pull). They are there for fun and to say that they have done it. They try their hardest but lack the determination to fight to the end.

The serious teams are there to win, but if they cannot win they want to walk away knowing that they did their best in the conditions (and will probably blame the conditions or the officals if they lose). These teams are strong and usually heavy but lack the team discipline to win, working hard but not together.

The manic teams are obsessed with winning: they are highly motivated; they have practiced and drilled; they are deaf and blind to everything (often this includes the rules). They have to be persuaded to keep to the rules for their own safety.

The awsome team has everything: coordination, timing; strength and weight. They are unbeatable until they meet an equivalent team.

Team Numbers

The first two of the recent Fleet Carnival Battle of the Pubs had 10 on the rope.  A lot of pubs had difficulty raising this many so it is worth consider 8 or even 6 on the rope (it also depends on the length of rope you have).

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