Kickball is a game that was invented in the United States of America in the early half of the twentieth century. Containing elements of soccer, softball but most of baseball, it was as a game to introduce school children to baseball in US public schools that originally popularised it as a sport. First known as Kick Baseball, Kickball is primarily a game that is played by children and young people and is particularly popular in the USA, South Korea where it is known as Foot Baseball (Balyagu), Japan where it is called Quickbase and Canada where schoolchildren call it California Kickball or Soccer Baseball.
The game is played mainly in schools in their sports sessions or in after school clubs but there are a number of adult players and teams across the world and these are governed by the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA). Whether played by adults or children, Kickball s a fun game that can be played by people of all ages.
Object of the Game
The object in a Kickball match is for one team to score more runs than the other, thus winning the game. Each player tries to do this do this by kicking the ball and running all the bases and scoring a point. When not kicking, the opposing team attempt to prevent opposition players scoring runs and get them out by catching the ball or being forced out a base for example. It must also be remembered that actual game of Kickball has an overriding object too, and that is to be an easy and effective introduction to the more complicated game of baseball for youngsters.
Players & Equipment
Any number of people can play Kickball in theory, but it is usually played with teams numbering between 5 and 15, with the World Adult Kickball Association recommending that teams should number between 8 and 11. Ideally, Kickball should be played on a softball field but any surface can be used as long as it has four bases in a diamond shape, 20 feet apart if abiding by WAKA rules or as deemed appropriate if you have limited space.
The pitching strip should be straight in front of the home plate and should also be in line with the first and third bases, and a boundary should be clearly marked. The ball is the only other essential piece of equipment and is usually made of inflated rubber and between 8 and 16 inches in circumference. A dedicated Kickball is not essential and many teams simply use a soccer ball, which is more than suitable for the job.
Scoring in Kickball is simple. A run is scored when a runner safely reaches the home plate before the end of an innings. If the ball is kicked and clears the outfield boundary, the runner that kicked the ball (and any of those at the other bases) run unopposed to the home plate scoring a run each.
Winning the Game
Once each team has had their allotted number of innings, the team with the greater number of runs is declared the winner. In the case of a tied game, WAKA state that an ‘accuracy kick’ competition can be used to determine winner. This involves one designated kicker from each team kicking towards 2nd base from the home plate. The kicker who kicks the ball closest to the base wins the match for their team.
Rules of Kickball
- Kickball can be played on any type of pitch or surface but it is most usually played on a softball diamond.
- Games often consist of 6 innings, but this can be flexible when not playing under WAKA rules as long as both teams agree.
- Kickballs are made of inflated rubber and can be a variety of sizes and usually measure between 8 and 16 inches in diameter.
- Because Kickball is usually played in school sports sessions, then team sizes can vary, although WAKA recommends teams should be between 8 and 11.
- In Kickball, the order of kickers is not specified, but the usual convention is to have an order of girl/boy or boy/girl.
- Unlike baseball, there are no strikeouts, leading off or stealing.
- The play comes to an end once the ball returns to the pitcher.
- A player can be out in Kickball when:
- The ball is caught by an opposing team member
- They are tagged out by an opposing player
- The player is forced out at a base by an opposition team member
- To score a run, a runner simply has to safely reach the home plate before then end of an innings.
- In Kickball, fairplay is taken very seriously and players are expected to monitor themselves and ‘walk’ if they themselves think that they are out and not wait for the referee’s decision. Any kind of cheating or poor sportsmanship will result in a player being asked to leave the field of play immediately.