Host a High Five Tournament

Adam Rubin
Jun 25 · 4 min read

Press your palms against the rest to see whose high five is the best.

Image from “High Five

A High Five is a handy way for happy friends to say “Hooray.”

It is also a collaborative demonstration of athleticism, creativity and humor that only truly flourishes under the pressure of organized competition.

To organize your very own High Five tournament at any school, summer camp or abandoned parking garage, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Pick a place and a time.

Find a location for your tournament and set a date in advance of the competition. You’ll need some time to invite spectators and allow the competitors to prepare their techniques.

Step 2: Select your judges.

You’ll need three people to score the performances of the competitors. The judges you select should be wise, respected and have excellent taste. Each judge will need scorecards numbered 1–10 or a large notepad or dry-erase board on which to write their scores by hand.

Step 3: Spread the word!

A good high five tournament needs plenty of quality competitors as well as an enthusiastic audience. Post a sign-up sheet so that teams of two can enter the competition and encourage friends and family to attend by posting about your event online. Here’s a sample signup sheet that might help.

Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri, creators of the book “High Five

*OFFICIAL* High Five Rules and Regulations

The following guidelines were set forth by the High Five World Championship committee in Helsinki.

  • Each team of two (2) is given a maximum of 60 seconds to demonstrate an original High Five technique that they have named in advance.
  • The judges will introduce each team and announce the name of the technique before each performance. Judges can not compete!
  • The technique must include at least one High Five.
  • An entourage is allowed, but must leave the stage before the performance.
  • Costumes, music and other theatrics are highly encouraged.

High Five competitions consist of two rounds:

  • Round 1 (freestyle): Each team performs a High Five technique of their own design.
  • Round 2 (compulsory): The top five teams from Round 1 will create a technique based on a name suggested by the judges. The name of the technique must be a surprise and competitors must not be given more than five minutes to prepare their unique interpretations. During this time, the judges may wish to introduce themselves to the audience and review the highlights of Round 1.
Cover and interior spread from “High Five

Judging a High Five

Each team is given a score from 1–10 based on their performance in each round. The score should reflect the quality of the technique based on three key criteria:

1. Technical Merit
How difficult is the High Five? Does it require great coordination or agility?

2. Creativity
How interesting is the High Five? Is it unlike anything you’ve ever seen before?

3. “Fiveness”
Fiveness is defined as the quality which raises a High Five past the level of everyday greeting into the realm of transcendent art/legendary physical achievement.

The scores from both rounds are then combined to determine a final score. The team with the highest final score is the champion of the tournament. In the event of a tie, an additional “No look” round will be held, wherein the contestants on each team are blindfolded before attempting to High Five.

Basic High Five Techniques


The championship certificate below can be downloaded for free and customized for your local competition. Of course, you’re always welcome to furnish your own prizes. A charming dinette set, perhaps?

High Five Championship Certificate

Advanced High Five Techniques

Share your Techniques with the World

Everyone enjoys seeing a quality High Five. Post images and video from your competition using #highfivetournament so that competitive High Fivers around the globe can be inspired by your performance.

Some popular books by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri.