Kickball is a game that's been widely enjoyed in backyards, parks, playgrounds, and diamonds since 1917. The game is very similar to both baseball, but is much simpler. It was once used to teach American kids how to play baseball with equipment readily available to them--their feet. It's now enjoyed for easy recreational fun and is played at higher levels of competition around the world.
Knowing the rules of kickball will allow you to join in on a league, watch your friends' games, or start up a family tradition of playing a game each year. Some of the most important rules revolve around the field, objectives of the game, moving the ball, the format of the game, teams, and equipment. In this lesson, you will learn about all of those topics and more.
Just about any area large enough, indoor or outdoor, can become a kickball diamond with the addition of a first, second and third base, home plate, and a pitching strip. Rules are pretty relaxed as far as dimensions go for recreational kickball fields, but for those playing at higher levels, each base is 60 feet apart and the distance from home to second is 84 feet and 10 1/4 inches, with the pitching rubber right in the center of second base and home plate.
There are foul lines that extend from home plate out to the end of the outfield, these are the boundary lines. Kicks that land outside these lines are called fouls and a player must kick again. Kicks that land within these lines are in fair territory.
For all levels of play, there are key parts of the field to know: the infield, the outfield, and the pitcher's mound. Bases (first, second, third) and home plate create a diamond shape when set up, this diamond is known as the infield. Everything behind it is the outfield. A fence to line the perimeter of the outfield is optional, but could be helpful to rein in long kicks. The pitcher's mound is right in the middle of the diamond, where all of the action begins.
The goal of kickball is to score more runs than the opposing team by kicking the ball successfully and rounding the bases all the way to home plate. Each player that makes it to home plate will earn a point for their team. When it's not their turn to kick, players are trying to prevent their opponent from making it to home plate. They do this by preventing the opposition from making successful kicks or tagging them out before they reach home plate.
Ball movement all begins with the pitcher who rolls the ball towards the kicker awaiting the ball in the kicker's box. The kicker will then try to kick the ball from the kicker's box into the field of play. If the kicker misses the ball three times, they are called out. If the pitcher rolls the ball outside of the strike zone it's called a ball. If a kicker gets four balls, they go straight to first base. If the player kicks the ball to an area where it can't be caught by a fielder, they've got to run as fast as they can to first base before the first baseman tags them out by touching the base with the ball in hand or before the kicker is tagged out with the ball.
The ball can move all around the field depending on where the kicker hits the ball, but wherever it rolls, it must end up back in the pitcher's hands before the next kicker makes their way to the kicker's box.
Kickball is played in innings, which are untimed sections of play in which each team kicks and fields twice with breaks in between to switch between offense and defense. These sections are known as the top and bottom of the inning. The away team usually starts by kicking the top of the inning, with the home team kicking at the bottom of each inning.
At recreational levels of play, kickball can be played to as many innings as players want, but tournament play usually plays four to five innings or for 30 minutes. If the score is tied at the end of the set number of innings, a tie is recorded. At lower levels of play or for games that need a winner, extra innings can be played to determine a winner. Some tournaments give the win to the team who scored the most recent run.
Kickball teams need at least eight, but no more than 11 players on their team to play. The field positions are as follows:
Some leagues may include two extra outfielders: one in short center field and an additional player on either side of the center fielder.
Kickball is known to have a small number of pieces of required equipment, but there are some pieces of equipment required to play the game. The game ball is usually red and 10 inches in diameter. The bases are pieces of rubber, the bases being square shaped and home plate having five sides. The pitching rubber is usually made of rubber as well and is rectangular shaped. A safe area to play, these materials and legs ready to kick are all you need to play.
There's no real formal dress code for kickball, but most times like to look uniform by wearing matching jerseys or the same color. Most players keep it simple with basic athletic wear: athletic shorts, a t-shirt or jersey and sneakers.
The designated referees are present to make sure each game of kickball runs smoothly and to penalize any disruptions or lack of compliance with a set of agreed-upon rules. Some of the most common penalties are:
Interferences in kickball occur when one player disrupts another from making a play. Fielder's or defensive interference is when players in the field get in the way of the runner and prevent them from running around the bases. The referee will allow the runner to take the base they were running toward in this instance. A baserunner's interference is when a runner gets in the way of a fielder trying to field the ball. In this case, the referee will call that runner out. A kicker's interference is when a kicker stops the ball before it can be called a ball or strike, the referee will call this player out.
Once a kicker kicks the ball, the next step is to run to first base. If their kick isn't caught and if they aren't tagged out, they are called safe at the base where they stop. Once the kick is made, they become a baserunner. As their teammates continue to play by kicking, they try to advance around the bases until they reach home plate. Only by making it to home plate can a player score a point, also known as a run, for their team.
Each player that reaches home plate earns their team one point. These runs are added up and the team with the higher number of runs wins the game.