Kickball Rules And Regulations
Kickball is a game that's been widely enjoyed in backyards, parks, playgrounds, and diamonds since 1917. The game is very similar to baseball, but is much simpler. It was once used to teach American kids how to play baseball with equipment readily available to them, like their feet. It is now enjoyed for easy recreational fun, and is played at higher levels of competition around the world.
The Rules of Kickball
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. Read on to 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. For recreational kickball fields, rules are pretty relaxed as far as dimensions go, but for those playing at higher levels, each base is 60 feet apart, and the distance from home plate to second base is 84 feet and 10 1/4 inches, with the pitching rubber right in the center of the distance between second base and home plate.
There are foul lines that extend from home plate out to the end of the outfield, which are called 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, and 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 by tagging them out before they reach home plate.
Moving The Ball
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 is 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 must 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.
Game Format and Duration
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 and Players
Kickball teams need at least eight, but no more than 11 players on their team to play. The field positions are as follows:
- Infielders (First Baseman, Second Baseman, Third Baseman, Short Stop)
- Outfielders (Right Field, Center Field, Left Field)
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 amount 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, with the three main bases being square shaped and home plate having five sides. The pitching rubber is usually made of rubber as well, and is rectangular. A safe area to play, these materials, and legs that are ready to kick are all you need to play.
There is no real formal dress code for kickball, but many players like to look united by wearing matching jerseys, or outfits that are the same color. Most players keep it simple with basic athletic wear, such as athletic shorts, a t-shirt or jersey, and sneakers.
Fouls and Penalties
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:
- Delay of Game
- Position Warning
- Sideline Area Warning
Of these penalties, the most common is interference, which is discussed below.
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. Meanwhile, 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.
Scoring and Winning
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.
Basic Rules of Kickball
- Kickball is played in untimed sections called innings in which each team gets a chance to kick and field once per inning.
- Kickball games are typically four or five innings long.
- Kickball teams must have a minimum of eight players and are allowed a maximum of 11 players.
- Play begins when the pitcher rolls the ball and ends when the pitcher regains possession of the ball before the next pitch.
- Kickers must make contact with the ball in the kicker's box and the ball must land inside of the foul lines to be called fair.
- Players can score points for their team by running around the bases and reaching home plate.
- In the event of a tie, the game can be solved one of three ways: (1) Play extra innings until a winner is declared, (2) Record the tie, (3) The team with the most recent run wins.
- If a fielder commits a penalty, a kicker may be awarded a base. If a batter commits a penalty, they may be called out.
- Each base is 60 feet apart and the distance from home plate to second is 84 feet and 10 1/4 inches, with the pitching rubber right in the center.
- The ball is usually red and 10 inches in diameter.
When was kickball invented?
Kickball was first invented in 1917. Because of its similarity to baseball, the sport was originally called “kick baseball.” The original inventor of kickball–Nicholas C. Seuss, who was the Supervisor of Cincinnati Park Playgrounds–created the sport in order to teach young children the basic principles of baseball. However, kickball soon became a popular sport in its own right, and has even expanded into its own professional league.
Where do kickers run in kickball?
In kickball, like baseball, kickers who make a successful kick (as in, one that is not a foul ball or caught out) run to first base. First base is located to the right of home plate on a kickball diamond, and is approximately 60 feet from home plate in advanced kickball leagues. If a kicker successfully reaches first base, they can either remain safe there, or try to make it to second or third base, if the ball has not yet been retrieved.
What is the objective of kickball?
In kickball, the objective of the game is to score more points than the other team. In order to score points, a kicker must completely round the four bases of the kickball diamond, crossing home plate. Doing so is called a “run,” and earns the kicker’s team one point. At the end of the game, the team with the most runs is declared the winner.