Use Rock Paper Scissors.

After reading the title of this article, several might ask “what are they going on about this time? Sports teams do not use Rock Paper Scissors for anything.” Well, dear padawan, that is why we are here – to provide you with all things Rock Paper Scissors. From basic things such as how the game is played to formalities such as hosting tournaments. And today, real-life application.

Rock Paper Scissors is more than just a hand-game that kids play. It is a professional sport with its own globally recognized association. On the surface, the game appears to be simple and even childish – something based on pure luck and probability. But it takes a great mind to understand that it is far more than that. The game is one that requires dexterity and skill. And what Rock Paper Scissors lovers like to call “intense psychological warfare”. And with its unique characteristics come versatility in its usage.

Now, to the topic at hand. How do sports teams use Rock Paper Scissors? In this article, we will provide you with some real-life applications of Rock Paper Scissors in sports.

Application of Rock Paper Scissors in Sports

One of the most prominent uses of Rock Paper Scissors is that it is used as a fair choosing method in making decisions. Thus, it acts the same way as when you flip a coin, throw dice, or draw ballots. However, unlike other methods, Rock Paper Scissors can be played with a degree of skill. And this allows you to exploit your opponent’s weaknesses. With that in place, it is understandable that some people do not consider it a “fair” choosing method.

Another prominent use of Rock Paper Scissors, in sports this time, is adapting it to the sport either as a relay or as part of the challenge. The objective of this is usually to sharpen a particular skill of players. Examples are vision for volleyball players and logical thinking for martial artists. That said, let us now look at some instances where sports teams have used and can use Rock Paper Scissors.

FA Women’s Super League Match

In 2018, a referee failed to have coined for the pregame coin toss. He proceeded to ask both team captains to play Rock Paper Scissors to determine who would kick off the game.

Unfortunately, he was suspended by The Football Association for the slip-up. However, here we see Rock Paper Scissors being used as an unbiased method of making a decision. And this is the primary function it has always served.


Another scenario of Rock Paper Scissors being used as a fair choosing method. In 2016, two Celtic players from Boston needed to decide who would take a free throw at the NBA game. Guess how they made their decision. You guessed it. The players resorted to the age-old method of Rock Paper Scissors.

Volleyball Drills

Common drill volleyball coaches used to have their players play Rock Paper Scissors. The objective of the drill is to help players take queues from their teammates when passed a ball. They take their focus off the ball and put it on their teammate while maintaining a good game from their position on the court. This is what it involves:

  • Two players face each other. The first player (player A) passes the ball and makes a hand sign (rock, paper, or scissors) and calls out the sign they made.
  • The second player (player B) has to look at what sign was made, repeat the sign while calling it out, and pass the ball.

This drill is known for improving the vision of players and is used on adults and even children.

Rock Paper Scissors Relay in Swimming

The objective for this drill is not clear but here is how it works:

  • Many swimmers are placed on a line in the water. Let us say, for example, six.
  • Swimmers 1-5 and swimmer 6 are at the opposite ends of the pool. Swimmer 6 and swimmer 5 swim towards each other. When they meet, they play a game of Rock Paper Scissors – best 2 out of 3. The winner progresses forward while the loser remains stagnant.
  • So until player 6 loses, he would keep swimming towards the other end and challenging each opponent to a game of Rock Paper Scissors, best 2 out of 3.

Chase/ Rock Paper Scissors Tag

This is a common running sport amongst children, usually conducted and supervised by their instructor.

The objective is to build speed and quick thinking. Here is how the game works:

  • Each child must find a partner to play a game of Rock Paper Scissors with.
  • The winner must run as fast as they can to the “safe spot” without being tagged.
  • The loser becomes the chaser and must tag their partner before they get to the safe spot.

Supervisors are advised to provide the children with ample space. This will prevent accidents that can occur from a collision.

Martial Arts

The official name for Rock Paper Scissors in martial arts is slanted flying. The drill involves two people in a sparring match attacking each other and then switching to a game of Rock Paper Scissors.

The winner is then permitted to knock down the loser and he is awarded a point.

The objective of the drill is to teach students the basics of logic in how fighting works.


The long list of sports applications above shows that Rock Paper Scissors is a sport of great caliber. As seen, the main objective of adapting it to a sport is either to make an important decision without bias or improve the mental capacity of players proves. Rock Paper Scissors indeed requires dexterity and skill. It is not just a game played by children to decide who gets the last slice of pizza. Neither is it a game that relies purely on lady luck. Instead, it is truly a game with versatility and a wide range of applications.

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