How to play kickball

Recreational Sports

The rules of kickball can be fluid. As long as both teams agree, feel free to tweak the rules to best accommodate the players and the situation.

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Kickball is a fun game.

Kickball is a fun, adaptable game that can be played by both kids and adults. Kickball began as Kick Baseball in Ohio around 1917. Nicholas C. Seuss, a Cincinnati Park Playground supervisor, invented the game to be played on baseball fields throughout the city. Eventually, the game was embraced by physical education teachers and became popular in schools around the country.

Kickball incorporates running, kicking, catching and throwing and provides a good way for kids and adults to add a little exercise to their day. Additionally, kickball is good for your cardiovascular system; it helps develop gross motor skills, reduces stress, improves your mood and teaches sportsmanship elements while promoting healthy social interaction.

Why are there so many different variations of kickball?

Believe it or not, there is a World Kickball Association that has outlined a set of official rules for regulation games. Since the bulk of kickball games are not official competitions and time limits, skill levels and age ranges may vary wildly, some details of the game change slightly from situation to situation to better accommodate the players. 

However, it is important to realize that while you may tweak some minor aspects of the game, the kickball’s overall concept and object remain the same: the team that scores the most runs at the end of the designated number of innings is the winner.

How big is a kickball field?

Originally, kickball was played on a baseball field, so the dimensions are similar. The field is a diamond shape with three bases and a home plate. There should be 60 feet between each base.

If you have no way of measuring, 20 paces between bases will do. The pitcher should be roughly 42 feet or 14 paces away from home plate. Alternatively, you could think of the pitcher as standing in the center of the diamond. If you do not have a foul line marker, you can use traffic cones to help delineate the foul line.

What are the rules of kickball?

Objective

The objective of kickball is to score the most runs by the end of the game. A run is scored each time a player rounds the bases and crosses home plate.

Gameplay

Two teams participate in a kickball game: an away team (bats first) and a home team (bats last). After each team has a chance to bat, the inning is over. A regulation game lasts seven innings or 55 minutes, but schoolyard games are typically only six innings.

Number of players 

According to the WKA, each team must have a minimum of eight but not more than 10 players on the field. If you are playing for fun and have less than the required number of players, create two teams of equal numbers utilizing all available players.

Pitching

The pitcher stands at the pitching rubber and throws the ball underhand towards home plate. The ball cannot bounce more than two or three times – in most situations, a roll with no spin or excessive speed is agreed upon. However, if you are using WKA rules, there are no restrictions on pitching style. 

Strikes

A strike is any pitch that crosses within one foot of home plate and is not kicked – this can mean the ball crosses to the right, left or above home plate. Additionally, a strike is any attempted but missed kick. According to WKA rules, three strikes count as an out. If you are playing a schoolyard game, two strikes may be considered an out.

Balls

A ball is any pitch that does not fit within the parameters of a strike. According to WKA rules, four balls allow the batter to take a base. If you are playing a schoolyard game, three balls allow the batter to take a base.

Fouls

A kicked ball that first lands in foul territory or moves into foul territory before crossing first or third base is considered a foul. According to WKA rules, three fouls count as an out. If you are playing a schoolyard game, two fouls may be considered an out.

Outs

Each batting team gets three outs. An out happens whenever a batter strikes out or fouls out. An out also happens when a kicked ball is caught before it touches the ground, a runner is tagged out while not on a base (you can throw the ball at a runner as long as it stays below the shoulders) or a fielder steps on a base with the ball in hand before the runner arrives.

What you need to buy for kickball

WAKA Official Kickball

WAKA Official Kickball

To play the game, you’ll need a kickball. This 10-inch official World Adult Kickball Association kickball is the official ball for the game’s adult version.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Franklin Sports Ball Pump Kit

Franklin Sports Ball Pump Kit

Your WAKA kickball will ship flat. If you do not have an air pump, you won’t be able to inflate the ball. This handy pump kit from Franklin Sports includes a pump, three needles, an extension tube and a pressure gauge.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

GoSports 5 Piece Base Set

GoSports 5 Piece Base Set

This set of throw-down bases and pitching rubber can be used on any surface, allowing you to mark off and set up a field for play quickly.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Overstock and Wayfair

12-Inch Plastic Training Cones

12-Inch Plastic Training Cones

If you’d like a set of plastic cones that you can use to help mark the foul line, this affordable set of 10 will do the trick.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Water Bottle

Water Bottle

When playing outside, you need to stay hydrated. This 32-ounce water bottle has a clear hydro-view strip, so you always know precisely how much water you have left.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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