From Playground to Pastime
A large majority of people across the country have had some sort of encounter with kickball, whether it was played with classmates at recess or with family at a picnic. This game, however, has a past that many are unfamiliar with. The game formerly known as “Kick Baseball” was believed to be created nearly a century ago by Nicholas C. Seuss, a park supervisor in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was initially used as a way to teach children the basics of baseball, but bored soldiers during WWII quickly picked the game up. The game took popularity again on playgrounds during the early ’90s, and has since birthed into a game played by amateurs and professionals alike
Kickball can be played on any terrain as long as it is suitable for play. This means the game can be played in a grassy field or a sandy beach. The only requirement is that the field equals the dimensions of a softball field.
Base: There are a total of four of these. The runner must pass the first three in order to reach home plate and earn a run.
Pitching Strip: A piece of rubber situated on the pitcher’s mound used as a marker for the pitcher.
Diamond: A square playing field created for both kickball and softball with 60 feet between the bases located at each corner of the diamond.
Sidelines: Lines located parallel to the foul lines and ten feet away from them to outline the legal playing field.
Foul Lines: Anything hit beyond these lines is considered foul, while everything hit inside them is ruled fair.
Athletic shoes: These are a requirement for the game of kickball. It is important to note that in professional leagues, metal cleats are not permitted.
WAKA Logo Kickball: The official (World Adult Kickball Association) red kickball used in most professional leagues. If inflated properly, the ball will measure in at a diameter of ten inches across and a pressure of 1.5 pounds per square inch.
Kickball is played very similarly to the game of baseball, and thus many of the terms used when referring to the action of the sport are the same.
Offense: The team that is up to kick and looking to score points for their team.
Defense: The team that is fielding and looking to prevent the opposition from scoring.
Strike Zone: This zone stretches one foot across on both sides of home plate as well as one foot high.
Strike: A ball that crosses the strike zone without being kicked by the kicker or a foul ball is kicked.
Ball: A ball is pitched on the outside of the strike zone or comes more than one foot over home base.
Walk: The kicker is allowed to advance to first base after a certain amount (generally four) of balls are pitched.
Out: A ball touches a running player on offense, the defense catches a ball that is kicked in the air, three strikes have been called, or a fielder holding the ball touches the base before the advancing runner.
Force Out: An out at a base where the runner can be ruled out simply by a defender tagging the base and not the runner.
Overthrow: A ball that is thrown or deflected into foul territory in the process of trying to get the runner on base out, usually resulting in extra bases for the runner.
Tag: A defender with the ball in their possession touches a runner who is not standing on base resulting in an out.
Tag-Up: Once an airborne kickball is caught by a defender, runners on base may advance as long as their foot was on the base at the time the ball was caught.
Bunting: When a ball is intentionally kicked short in order to help players on base advance.
Lead Off: When the base runner takes steps away from the bag before the ball is kicked in an effort to get an advantage on the next base.
Stealing: When the runner advances to the next base before the pitcher notices.