What is Kickball?

kickball

Kickball is a sport that was started in the US. The game is especially popular with school aged children. Kickball is a cheaper and easier alternative to the national pastime, baseball. The objective of the game is to score more runs than the other team. You did this, not with a bat and ball but by kicking a large rubber ball. The pitcher doesn't throw the ball but instead they roll it. The game doesn't have the same popularity as baseball or other major sports, however, kickball is a very popular game for children and even adult leagues.


History

kickball history

Kickball started as "kick baseball" in Cincinnati in 1917. The game was used primarily for teaching elementary school kids how to play baseball. Kickball was much simpler so kids could learn to run the bases and learn the rules of baseball without the difficulty of hitting a baseball. As the 1900s continued, kickball continued to get more and more popular. A classic gym class game for all schoolchildren, it quickly got picked up by adults who enjoyed playing the simple game. Today, kickball remains a popular schoolyard game and is played by adults in organized leagues.

Playing Surface

kickball field

Part of the beauty of kickball is that it can be played pretty much anywhere. The most common place that kickball is played is in schoolyards. Whether those yards are made of grass or asphalt or artificial turf does not matter. All that matters is that there is space for a diamond to be formed. The most common length used for kickball is a softball diamond. The bases are sixty feet apart and the mound is forty five feet from home plate. In order to be a regulation kickball field though the bases only have to be at least 20 feet apart.

Equipment

kickball equipment

Kickball is a unique sport because there is only one piece of equipment you need to play. The only equipment you need for kickball is a kickball. A kickball is very similar to a dodgeball. Usually it is red and made of rubber. The official kickball is a red WAKA brand kickball and is 10 inches in diameter and pumped to 1.5 psi.

Gameplay

Kickball Gameplay

Kickball gameplay is very similar to baseball gameplay, except for the kicking part. Usually a coin is flipped to see which side is the home team and which side is the away team. Then the home team will take the field and the away team will kick first. One team's pitcher rolls the ball and the kicker on the other team kicks it. If the ball goes over the boundary it's a homerun. If it is caught in the air you're out. If it lands in play you can run to first base, second base and so on. When one team gets three outs they switch. Usually a game will last six innings but it can be as long as you want, as long as both teams agree.

Positions and Roles

kickball positions

Kickball positions depend on how many people you have playing. WAKA recommends anywhere from 8 to 11 on any team. The infield is pretty much the same as in baseball. There is a pitcher who rolls the ball, a catcher who stands behind the plate and gets the ball if the kicker doesn't want to kick it. If there are eight or fewer players the kicking team can provide a catcher and the pitcher can cover home if there are any plays at home. Kickball will also have a first, second and third baseman and a shortstop. The difference between baseball and kickball is the outfield. At a minimum you will have two outfielders. The more players you have, the more outfielders you will have.

Rules and Regulations

kickball rules and regulations

The rules of kickball are very similar to the rules of baseball. There are three outs per inning. There are three strikes for a kicker to be out. The team scores runs by kicking runs in. Just like in baseball, there are force outs and tag outs. A difference from baseball is that if you're running in the field you can be pegged, hit with the ball, and you are out.

Referees and Officials

kickball referees and officials

For your average backyard kickball game you don't need a referee or official. You can use the honor system and you can call your own outs, strikes and more. This can also create some problems. If you've ever played schoolyard games you know that people will lie and cheat to win. That's why in more advanced kickball there is one official. In WAKA, every game has one official. They're the one who calls the outs, determines if the runner has been hit by the ball etc. Referees also have the authority to cancel games, postpone them, and call time outs.

Lingo and Terminology

kickball lingo and terminology

Since kickball is based on baseball, it has similar terms and lingo, such as terms to define rules. However, since kickball is mostly a children's game and it has rule variations to baseball there are terms that are unique to the sport, like "peg."

Bunting: Purposefully kicking the ball short

Lead off: Moving before the pitcher has rolled the ball

Peg: Getting hit by the ball in between bases

Strike zone: One foot to either side of home plate

Tag-up: Advancing a base after a ball is caught

Coaching

kickball coaching

Kickball doesn't have coaches like other sports do. Instead, each team will appoint a captain. The captain will be the one to make the lineup for the team and to speak to the official. The captains will make the kicking order; that's the most important part.

Skills and Techniques

kickball skills and techniques

There are a few basic skills to learn in order to play kickball. Those skills are kicking, catching, and throwing. Kicking is the most important skill. If you can kick a ball with strength and accuracy, you will be extremely successful at kickball. If you can throw and catch it'll make you even better. Catching a kickball is different from any other sport. The ball flies quickly and is large and extremely bouncy. Catching it by pinning it against your body is the best way to catch the ball. Throwing the ball is also hard because the ball is very big and will slip out of your hand.

Strategy

kickball strategy

Kickball strategy is pretty simple. In order to score as many runs as possible you want to kick the ball where there aren't any people. The safest way to kick the ball and get on base is to bunt. Bunting is good with no runners on base in order to get a runner on first base. It is not as smart of an idea when there are runners on base. With runners on base you want to kick the ball into the gaps in the outfield in order to score as many runs as possible.

Youth Organizations

Leagues

Tournaments

Books

  • The Kickball Kids by Cari Meister
  • Kickball byDarice Bailer
  • Kickball Queen by Beth Mills

Websites

FAQ

What is Kickball?

Kickball is a very popular schoolyard sport that is very similar to baseball except you kick a ball and run around the bases to score runs.

What are the rules of kickball?

Kickball's rules are very similar to baseball rules. If you kick a ball in the air and it's caught you're out. If the kickball is thrown to the base before you get there, you're out. If you get hit with the ball in between the bases you're out. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins.

What is a kickball made of?

A kickball is usually made out of rubber, and is usually red too. You can use other balls for kickball though, as long as they're soft enough to kick.

What ball is used for kickball?

You can use a soccer ball for kickball. The official ball is a rubber ball that is 10 inches in diameter and is bouncy. This is a kickball. It is similar to a dodgeball but a little bigger and harder.