What are Zim Zam Games?
Back in the ’80s, my sister had an awesome game. We used to play every time I visited her. The game? Zimm Zamm. (Which I thought was spelled Zim Zam. I then saw this old picture on Google.)
The principle was simple. A tennis ball on a rope, a pole with a coil at the top, and two paddles. You would hit the ball back and forth around the pole.
How to Play Zimm Zamm Games
One player is trying to get the rope loop to the top of the coil, the other is trying to send it to the bottom of the coil.
It’s much like tether-ball, or in other words, tether-tennis. Either way, it was a blast! We used to set up competitions. Being younger I almost always lost, but it was so much fun. Other outdoor games like badminton and volleyball need a lot of space. The game was portable, not taking up much room in the yard.
We could take it to the beach, friends’ houses for barbeques and even to the park. Simply Take it out of the box. Stick the pole in the ground. Grab the paddles and you’re ready to play.
Pro and Cons of the Tether Tennis Sets
One of the best things about this game? First, If there is no one else available for a match. With this game you can practice your moves alone. A great way to get a good workout all by yourself. No running after the ball because it just swings around the pole 360 degrees.
Secondly, It allows you to work on both your forehand and backhand swing. Even great for tennis lovers who want to practice on days when they can’t get to the court.
Recently I saw this picture of the old game we all loved. I wanted to buy my own – only to find that Tyco brand is no longer. The Original Zimm Zamm Game wasn’t available either.
Zimm Zamm Style Games
I started looking around for new versions of the game by other companies. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there are several to choose from. Tether Tennis Games or Swingball as some of them are being called can be found on many sites. This one called Pro Swingball is designed for older children and adults.
I remembered from the Original Zimm Zamm game, that overly aggressive play was often a problem. The pole would become loose in the ground if the ball was hit too hard. I was glad to see that there are versions that have a base you fill with water or sand. Back in the ’80s, our solution was to tell the one smashing the ball to “lighten up”!
Best Rated Swingball Game
At right, is one of the higher-rated versions with a base. This one is called Super Swingball by Hearthsong.
I like how the base is also the carrying case for the game, so it is easy to keep it all together and ready to go whether you want to break it out for a backyard party, or if you want to take it along camping or for a day at the beach.
(The picture link will take you to Amazon.com. )
Other Zim Zam Games
There are several other companies that offer Zimm Zamm Games, and some even have the old stake style where you push the pole directly into the ground. If you have really hard or really soft ground, these styles may not be right for you. But a good firm ground is perfect. So it depends on your personal preference, and just how much of a tennis ‘animal’ you are.
Ordinary force in hitting either style will hold up okay. If you have those around who will smack that ball like they are going to send it to the other side of the world, I think you would do better on the more firm ground with a stake style like the one below from Champion Sports. But a good all-around choice would be the one with its own case that you fill-up the base with water.
Zim Zam Game for Younger Players
There are even Swingball sets for younger players, with a lighter racquet, and the “My First Swingball” set has a softer foam ball for safer play with younger children.
Both of these sets are good for children from 3 yrs to 15 yrs old and will help promote not only some aerobic activity but helps them develop better eye-hand coordination as they have fun.
If your kids tire quickly from playing the same game over and over, the Swingball 5-in-1 Set (shown right) might make a great choice.
It comes with not only the Swingball game but also Volleyball, Tether Soccer, Tailball & Flying Disc.
When they tire of one game they can switch it up with another. It would be so much less clutter in the garage with everything all in one complete package.
Perfect for taking camping, to the beach or even for a day at the park. Especially great to have all these games in your own backyard.
We bought our daughter her own Swingball game for her 9th birthday. She likes playing it, and being a ‘virtual’ only child (her siblings are grown and moved away) it was a great game that she can enjoy outdoors by herself.
She is also enrolled in a virtual school, so it was a great activity for her to log Physical Education time. Below is a couple of pictures I found of her showing her younger cousin how to play.
No matter what your style, size or brand, the current versions of Zimm Zamm are sure to give you and your kids some great family fun, exercise and build better hand-eye coordination. At our house, we are loving this modern take on an old classic game that was a huge part of playtime when we were growing up.