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Kickball for All! Kickball Rules

Rediscover the playground classic that's fun for all ages.


Updated June 10, 2014

Snow kickball

Kickball rules, even in the snow!

Catherine Holecko

Looking for a game that will have every player kicking, running, and laughing, regardless of age, ability, and even weather? 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.

Kickball Rules: How to Play

Kickball is very similar to baseball. Opposing teams face off on a playing field with three bases plus home plate. The fielding team's pitcher gently throws an inflated, rubber ball (compare prices) 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.

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 just 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 will be 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 a large, flat space (grass is safer, 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 (compare prices). 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!

Our family plays in a once-a-month, all-ages game with several other families and it is a blast. We're very flexible about the rules, especially with the younger kids, and with details like keeping score and choosing teams. But we still get in some good running, kicking, catching, and throwing and burn a few calories. And as you can see from our photo, we even play when there's a foot of snow on the field (if you're going to do this, here's a tip: Use colored bases, not white ones!).

Playing in a 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. Or see if the World Adult Kickball Association has a team in your area. Try joining a team with your spouse, sibling, best friend, or neighbor.

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