About Pop-a-Shot®

motion-bball-02 Pop-A-Shot literally created the electronic basketball shooting game. Over time Pop-A-Shot introduced electronic scoring, arcade versions, infrared scoring, steel frames… a litany of firsts in the industry. That’s why Pop-A-Shot is synonymous with electronic basketball shooting games.

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In 1981, Ken Cochran was recuperating and restless after undergoing heart bypass surgery. The longtime college basketball coach’s idle mind found inspiration in a mini basketball on his desk.

His initial idea was to put three small basketball rims on side-by-side backboards with a net that would return the balls to the shooters. He had a local machine shop build a frame and a cabinet shop make the backboards. He then attached a volleyball net to function as the return ramp. He called this first game the “Triple Shot.”

He set up his invention at one of his sports camps and charged campers $1.00 for 10 shots, with a free T-shirt awarded to anyone who made at least seven. When the games consistently drew long lines of campers, he realized he had something special.

  • The first ever Pop-A-Shot was a triple shot! <br> 1981 - Salina, Kansas
    The first ever Pop-A-Shot was a triple shot!
    1981 - Salina, Kansas
  • The first Pop-A-Shot Single <br> 1982 - Salina, Kansas
    The first Pop-A-Shot Single
    1982 - Salina, Kansas

The Triple Shot proved too cumbersome to transport, so Cochran eliminated two of the baskets. He built a new single basket game with a frame and net return made especially for it. He put this game, “Mini Basketball,” in a local bar and charged $1.00 a minute to play.

Cochran knew the game needed some type of electronic scoring. He added a “scoring collar” to the bottom of the rim nets, so that when the ball passed through a mechanical switch could record the score. A 40-second clock was added. If a player scored 40 points, they received a free game. The ball return ramp was changed from netting to fiberglass, and a heavy-duty polycarbonate piece was placed in the center of the game to contain the three balls when the time expired.

  • Pop-A-Shot 1990 World Championship<br> Chicago, Illinois
    Pop-A-Shot 1990 World Championship
    Chicago, Illinois

But with success came competition. As the coin-op market became saturated, Pop-A-Shot created its first home electronic basketball game. Over time Pop-A-Shot left the coin-op world (so any basketball arcade game you see in your local arcade or bar is not a true Pop-A-Shot). The current Pop-A-Shot Classic game is very similar to the model built almost 30 years ago.

  • Original Pop-A-Shot Home Single
    Original Pop-A-Shot Home Single
  • Pop-A-Shot Premier Single
    Pop-A-Shot Premier Single

Cochran retired in 2016, 35 years after creating Pop-A-Shot. That fall, new management introduced the first Pop-A-Shot game designed especially for home play—the Home Dual Shot. The following years saw more new games for the home, including the Home Single Shot, Dual Shot Sport, and Indoor/Outdoor Dual Shot. In addition, a new premium, the commercial-grade game debuted in 2018—the PRO Dual Shot (followed by the PRO Single Shot the following year). More new designs and features are on the drawing board as Pop-A-Shot looks ahead to its 40th anniversary in 2021.