Throwing a Frisbee from left to right? We all know this variant. But mastering a course with specially designed discs like in disc golf? Probably not that many people any more. And playing with a disc on a barrel (‘Kan’) and throwing or hitting the disc into the barrel (‘Jam’) to score? That’s where it gets a bit more exotic. But that shouldn’t stop you from taking a closer look at the Kan Jam rules and trying out this great sport. Because it requires skill, coordination and strength; in return, however, the game also provides fun, excitement and variety.
By the way, Kan Jam was invented at the end of the 1980s. Two students in Buffalo (New York), Paul Swicher and Charles Sciandra, had fun putting discs into bins whenever possible. And their idea made bigger waves not long after. First as ‘Trash Can Frisbee’ at parties, later officially as ‘Kan Jam’. Just one year after Kan Jam was founded (2004), more than 1,000 interested schools were supplied with the Kan Jam game set. By 2011, more than 100,000 sets were then sold per year in the USA. And since 2013, Kan Jam has even been active internationally. In short: all good reasons to look beyond the frisbee disc and take a closer look at Kan Jam.
What you will learn in this article:
- What accessories you need to play Kan Jam.
- How the Kan Jam rules work.
- Where to play Kan Jam and at what times of day.
- How you can build a Kan Jam barrel on your own.
What do I need for the Kan Jam game?
You need very few accessories for the throwing game. This is true even if you play a game according to the highly official Kan Jam rules. This has the advantage that you can play on all public sports facilities and green areas. The classic Kan Jam game set consists of…
- two barrels open at the top (20,1 inches high and 15,7 inches in diameter)
- a disc (just under 11 inches in diameter, 1,4 inches high and weighing 5,93 oz.)
…together. Of course, the discs are available in different colours (some are even illuminated), but for the game itself, one is enough. If you now ask yourself whether it really has to be a Kan Jam disc for the game: Yes! This is because you play on barrels as targets and the discs have a diameter that fits exactly into the slot in the barrel (11,8 x 3 inches). This allows you to score points by either playing the Frisbee directly through the slot or by putting the Frisbee from above. More on this in a moment.
Otherwise, in contrast to heavier discs such as the Ultimate Frisbee (6,17 oz. weight), the discs are more susceptible to wind and do not float quite as stably. With a little practice, however, this should certainly not be a problem. And apart from that? All you need is two players for each of the two teams competing against each other; then the fun can begin!
How do the Kan Jam rules work?
Before talking about the game itself, a word about the construction of the ‘playing field’ and the barrels. These are made of lightweight plastic parts that can be taken apart, making them easy to transport and set up at the destination. Once there, they are plugged together and placed 50 feet apart. Then the members of the teams line up at the two bins as follows.
- Bucket 1: Player 1 from team A and player 2 from team B.
- Bucket 2: Player 2 from team A and player 1 from team B.
So in each team, one player acts as the ‘thrower’ and the other as the ‘deflector’. The aim of the ‘thrower’ is to hit the barrel with the Frisbee or, at best, to place the Frisbee directly in the barrel. The ‘deflector’ helps him by blocking or hitting the frisbee and changing its direction if necessary. However, only a single touch is allowed; catching or even carrying is not allowed. Once the thrower and the deflector have exchanged once, the other team plays. The overall goal of the game is to score exactly 21 points. Consequently, the question remains how to score these points and what to look out for.
How do you score points according to the Kan Jam rules?
The official Kan Jam rules provide for this scoring system.
- 1 point for hitting the outside of the barrel if the deflector manages to redirect the throw accordingly.
- 2 points if the thrower manages to do this without the help of the deflector. Or if the thrower hits the target slot with the disc but the disc does not fall in but spins out again.
- 3 points are awarded for a ‘slam dunk’. In this case, the deflector has successfully putted the disc, although it would otherwise have flown past the barrel.
- Direct win: If the Frisbee lands directly in the upper opening or in the target slot without flying out again.
The first team to score exactly 21 points is the winning team. If more points are scored, these must be deducted again. This means: If team A already has 19 points and lands a 3-point shot, these must be deducted. So there are 16 points left after too much of a good thing (19 minus 3). And as if the whole thing were not already potentially exciting enough, there are …
… some additional complications!
- The thrower must necessarily be behind the opponent’s barrel when throwing. If he steps over, the throw does not count.
- If the Frisbee does not reach the barrel, but rather touches the ground? No points!
- Likewise, if the deflector touches, catches or even carries the disc more than once.
- When the opposing team interrupts the throw to defend the goal (the barrel)), the throwing team gets 3 points. If the score is 19 or 20 points on the part of the throwers, they receive the points they still need to win.
- What if there is no immediate winner? Then both teams need the identical number of throws according to the Kan Jam rules. In case of a tie, an extension of the game occurs until one team scores more points than the other team in their round.
Where can you play Kan Jam?
Because of the flexibility of the playing field (except for the distance between the bins), Kan Jam is a very versatile Frisbee game. You can play in a wide variety of environments and in principle you don’t even have to stop at a gym floor. So it’s not surprising that the throwing game has made it into school sports, especially in America. Nonetheless, several variants have developed over time that are also suitable when there is little space, bad weather or other deviating circumstances.
Outdoor, classic on green spaces or in the gym – Standard Kan Jam Set
The Standard Kan Jam Set* is the classic par excellence. Whether young or old, park, sand, gym, schoolyard or anywhere else: the variant described above is always in demand and is the mother of the other types. If you buy a corresponding model, 2 barrels, 1 frisbee and 1 set of playing instructions are included. Size, width and weight are also as already mentioned.
- Great for Outdoors, Beach, Backyard and Tailgate
- Made in the USA
Smaller garden, indoor and parties – Kan Jam Mini
Little space? Lousy weather? Or just a bit of a change in the office? Kan Jam Mini* comes with size-adapted mini barrels and discs, so playing on the patio, in the basement, in the hallway or in other space-limited places shouldn’t be a problem. Apart from that, the rules are exactly the same as the standard Kan Jam game, with the mini version also offering a 1-on-1 variant.
- Made in USA
- The No. 1 Outdoor Party Game in America
- So easy to set up, you can play in seconds!
Play by Kan Jam rules at night – Illuminate glow kit.
During the day in full sunlight, Kan Jam is right up your street. But do YOU want to try it out in the dark? Why not – then all you need is an adapted version. This is the Illuminate light kit*. This includes…
- two illuminated barrels,
- two LED light pods in six colours plus a remote control
- an official Kan Jam LED disc (which also fluoresces in the dark) and
- of course the obligatory manual.
The lights for the barrels and the Frisbee can each be attached. On the one hand, this is quite practical, but on the other hand it has certain effects on the flying characteristics of the disc. So don’t be too surprised if the Frisbee flies a little differently than you first thought. But with a little practice you’ll soon find out.
- With an LED Flying Disc and Multi-Color Light-Up Goals
- keep your Kan Jam Game going all night long
- The No. 1 Outdoor Party Game in America
In the water – Kan Jam Splash
Kan Jam in the water? Not possible? You can! With the help of Kan Jam Splash*! The rules are identical to those of classic Kan Jam. But the barrels can float, so the water becomes the hotspot of the game. A real insider tip if your pool party needs a bit of a sporty swing. Practical: The game equipment in this version is also adapted to the size. So it doesn’t have to be a 82-feet pool …
- Must have Game for every Pool
- Durable High Quality Construction
- Proudly made in the USA
Kan Jam as a table game
The tabletop version* is the baby among all Kan Jam options and also works in 1-against-1 or 2-against-2. Besides two really small two-point barrels and three mini-discs, the set contains two hand catapults. These replace the throw at the barrels with a shot that is as precise as possible. And this is also necessary if you want to win against your relatives, friends or colleagues at home, in the office or at school. Otherwise, you will receive two penalty points for a missed shot …
- This value pack includes 2 games. Game 1 Includes: 2 Kan Jam Goals and 1 Flying Disc. Game 2 Includes: 2 Kan Jam Gliders Goals, 3 Glider Discs and 2 Launchers
- Kan Jam is proudly Made in the USA
Build the Kan Jam game yourself
If you are handy, you can even build the barrel for the Kan Jam game yourself. For this you need…
- a flexible plastic plate
- only four washers,
- four nuts,
- four screws and
- some adhesive tape.
And then you can start building.
First draw the outline of the barrel on the plastic plate. Make sure to add some play for the overlap when folding the shell.
Cut off the surface of the shell along the outline. It is best to use a carpet knife or a similar sharp cutting tool. A long metal ruler will help you to cut straight lines.
Roll up the mantle and temporarily tape the overlapping area at the top and bottom edges.
Now draw the holes for the screws. Make sure that they are evenly distributed over the entire height of the barrel and that there is at least one centimetre of space between them and the edges.
Then remove the tape, lay the plate on a flat surface and mark out the throwing slot. Remember the rounded edges and that it should be in as identical a position as possible to the slot in the original bin.
Now you only need to cut it out.
Finally, roll the barrel back up and secure the overlapping area with the screws, washers and nuts.
Your Kan Jam bin is ready! And the second one works the same way.
There are many good reasons to play a party Kan Jam.
- The game of skill is suitable for players of all ages. (Provided there is some fitness in terms of bones and joints).
- Kan Jam can be played in a variety of places. Whether on the beach, on the lawn, in a public place, by the pool, in the hallway or at the dining table – the different variations provide fun and variety everywhere.
- The rules are easy to understand. You don’t have to puzzle over when a goal counts and how a potential foul is penalised. Just get started and with a little tactics, a lot of skill and a healthy dose of luck, you’ll score the winning goal!
So what’s your main reason for really getting started?