How to Play Kickball

Rediscover kickball, the playground classic that's fun for all ages

Kids playing kickball in street
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If you're looking for an outdoor game that will have every player running and laughing, you need to know how to play kickball! Regardless of players' age and ability, kickball rules! If you haven't played since fourth grade (and don't have the fondest memories of those gym class games), don't worry. Kickball is easy to (re-)learn, and it's a perfect family workout.

Learn How to Play Kickball

Kickball is very similar to baseball. Opposing teams face off on a diamond-shaped playing field with three bases plus home plate. The fielding team's pitcher gently throws an inflated rubber ball to the kicking team's players, who try to kick the ball, then advance around the bases. A fielder can get a runner out by reaching a base first, with the ball in hand, or by throwing the ball directly at the runner and hitting him with it. The runner may not catch or touch the ball. Just as in baseball, a pitch may be a strike or a ball; a kick may be fair or foul; three strikes make an out, and three outs mean the kicking team must take to the field on defense.

You can download the official kickball rules of the World Adult Kickball Association. (Yes, there is an official adult kickball association!)

Why It's Fun for All Ages

Kickball is easy to learn and doesn't require a lot of strength or skill, so even preschoolers can play. If you're playing in your backyard or local park (vs. official league play), you can easily adjust rules to help little ones succeed. Try rolling the ball when you pitch, instead of throwing it, making it easier for younger kids to kick. You can also be more generous in letting them reach the bases without being tagged out.

To play at home, you need ample, flat space. The grass is safer than dirt, although it makes the game slower-paced. You can use traffic cones or other markers for the bases, home plate, and the pitcher's mound, or pick up a set of rubber baseball bases at a sporting goods store. Or see if a nearby park or school has a baseball diamond that isn't being used.

You can also try one of the many variations on kickball games that have sprung up over time. Or make up your own adaptation!

Try setting up an informal league with other families. A once-a-month, all-ages game is a blast. You can be very flexible about the rules, especially with the younger kids, and with details like keeping score and choosing teams. Everyone will still get in some good running, kicking, catching, and throwing and burn a few calories. You can even play in the snow, by digging out lanes for pitching the ball and running the bases. If you're going to do this, here's a tip: Use colored bases, not white ones!

How to Play in a Kickball League

Kickball is catching on: Many communities now have recreational leagues just for adults. Check with your local parks and rec department or community center. You might even be able to start up a league if there isn't one established already or see if the World Adult Kickball Association has a team in your area. Try joining a team with your spouse, sibling, or best friend.

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