In this tutorial, we will go deeper into the different roles kickers can fulfill, depending on the situation of the game and skill set of the player.
Once a pinch kicker is used, the player they replace must be taken out of the game. When a team is on defense after a pinch kicker is put in the game, the pinch kicker must either play defense for the player they replaced, or another defensive player may replace the pinch kicker. Sometimes, the pinch kicker may play a defensive position that is different than the player he replaced, so other substitutions have to be made.
Using pinch kickers is a strategic move that managers use only when necessary, since it requires a player being taken out of the game completely. Pinch kickers are usually used toward the end of the game, typically to replace pitchers or because a special skill (like bunting) is required for a certain circumstance in the game.
The lead-off kicker is the first kicker in the kicking order, but it can also refer to the first kicker of a half-inning. Strategically, the lead-off kicker (in the lineup sense) is usually one of the best kickers, but more importantly is the best and fastest baserunner. His goal is to get on base, and when the more powerful kickers behind him get hits, he can use his baserunning skills to advance as far as he can.
The cleanup kicker occupies the fourth spot in the written lineup and is usually the team's most powerful kicker. The idea behind this is that the kickers before him will reach base, then he will get a strong hit and advance those baserunners to home plate, in effect clearing or cleaning up the bases.
Power kickers are strong, powerful kickers who often hit kickballs far into the outfield, kicking a relatively high amount of home runs, triples, and doubles. The best power kickers also kick with consistency, but many are primarily known for their ability to hit with power, even if they often strike out or don't get on base.
Contact kickers are kickers who consistently make contact with the kickball and get on base. Contact kickers are known for getting on base with relative frequency, using their baserunning skills to reach base if they do not hit the kickball very hard. They are also known for not striking out often.
A designated kicker (DK) is similar to a designated hitter in baseball and softball. It is a player who only kicks and does not play a defensive position. In leagues where a DK is used, the pitcher does not bat, and the DK serves to take his place in the lineup.
IMPORTANT: Not all leagues allow designated kickers. Be sure to read your league's rulebook.