Kickball is a popular sport that we all might have played at some point in our lives. It is particularly popular as a game in gym class or Physical Education. The sport is played professionally in structured leagues.
Whereas kickball may be particularly unfamiliar in some countries, the sport has a global audience.
It is an enjoyable pastime among piers or a career for some. Much like any sport, the rules are intricate.
If you’re still trying to wrap your head around the sport, think of it as a variation of baseball where instead of hitting a ball with a bat, you kick it with your foot. The rules and gameplay of the two sports are strikingly similar.
The sport has been in existence for quite some time now but,
Who invented kickball?
Previously referred to as kick baseball, kickball was invented by Nicholas C. Seuss. Nicholas invented the game in a playground in Ohio. The sport became quite popular and was integrated into the United States education curriculum as part of Physical Education.
The History Of Kickball
Did you know that kickball is over 100 years old? The sport was invented in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1917.
Before Nicholas C. Seuss invented the game, there were other variations of the sport. Dr. Emmett Dunn Angell invented the earliest known game that vaguely resembled kickball.
Dr. Emmett was a very accomplished man in his day. Not only was he a physician, but he also worked as a coach and authored several books.
He served in the Naval forces as a lieutenant. He has made notable contributions in education, having served as a member of the American Physical Education Association.
Dr. Emmett described kicking baseball as a safe sport that could help children understand the fundamentals of baseball.
At the time, baseball was the most popular sport in America. To this day, baseball is considered America’s national sport.
Nicholas C. Seuss is credited with inventing the modern iteration of the sport that has been popularly adopted in the United States.
He published the first dozen rules, including derailed pictorial illustrations in ‘The Playground Book.’
The sport got inducted into the education curriculum in 1921. The main reason for its introduction was to help children understand the fundamentals of baseball.
People played the sport without a pitcher. No one was allowed to enter a neutral zone area of the pitch until a player kicked the ball.
Up to thirty members played the sport on each team. All the members from one team had to kick before they were allowed to switch sides.
There were no dedicated kickball stadiums in the early days of the sport. The teams had to play on baseball fields. Since the sport had no standardized balls, dodgeballs, volleyballs, and soccer balls were used instead.
The earliest documented case of adults playing the sport was in 1922. Daniel Chase taught the sport to his fellow educators at a conference in Mooers Forks. Daniel improvised using rags and stockings since there were no balls at the conference.
Kickball is popular in the army. The army first played the game in 1942 in Tunisia. The sport was a welcome break after days of combat during the Second World War.
The Rules Of Kickball
Kickball is a sport with intricate rules. The World Adult Kickball Associations set these rules in their official handbook.
The rules cover approved equipment, dimensions of the field of play, gameplay, and scoring. These rules help regulate the sport.
1. Approved equipment
According to WAKA, players must wear official athletic clothing. The clothes for the teams must be uniform, and two teams should play in separate colors.
The rules consider attire as part of the player’s body. It means marginal that the officials can make calls based on the player’s attire.
To play kickball, you should have athletic shoes. Players should wear trainers.
Dress shoes and shoes with metal cleats are not permitted in kickball.
A kickball should be 10 inches in diameter. An official match ball should have the WAKA logo on the side.
It is optional to use protective equipment. Such equipment may include padded clothes, mouthguards, head guards, etc.
If the equipment is deemed by the referee or match officials to provide an unfair advantage, the player donning the equipment, the referee ejects the player from the game.
2. Pitching regulations
As per WAKA regulations, pitchers must make any pitch no less than one foot inside the mound. All players must pitch using their hands, and kicking is not permitted.
As the player is pitching, their front foot should go beyond the pitching strip at no point in the motion. As the pitcher releases the ball, one foot must be behind the pitching line.
3. Catching regulations
At no point during a pitch should a catcher make physical contact with the kicker. The catcher must never interfere with the kicker’s range of motion.
A catcher’s position must be in line with the front of the home plate. They must be directly behind the kicker.
4. Kicking regulations
A kicker should be conscious not to position the catcher illegally through sly maneuvers unjustly.
Any contact made below the hip is considered a kick. It may be through the thighs, knees, shins, or any foot part.
No kick should occur in front of the home plate.
Kickers are not allowed to place their standing foot in front of the plate.
The standing foot must be within the box when kicking in the box.
5. Regulations regarding strikes
Any foul balls must never be considered as strikes.
Once a player has received three strikes, they are out.
Any missed kicks are considered strikes.
A pitch that enters any area of the striking zone but is not booted and is not a foul ball.
6. Foul balls
WAKA has a definite set of considerations for foul balls. These are:
A kicker is making more than a single touch in the kicking area.
Any kicked ball that comes into contact with a permanent fixture such as a fence is foul.
Any ball kicked that touches a referee or a fielder inside the foul area is a foul ball.
A ball that touches the fielder outside the kicking area is foul.
A ball booted by any part rather than an area below the waist is a foul ball.
Any ball that bounces within the foul area is foul.
If a player is injured but was not a kicker, they are not permitted to continue with the game.
The teams will insert any player leaving the pitch into their previous kicking order if they return to the field of play.
Pitchers and catchers can trade places a maximum of once every inning. The rule doesn’t apply for substitutions and injuries.
A team can only substitute a runner two times during the game. If a runner cannot return to base, teams cannot substitute them.
The game is halted for injured or ill players to get substituted. If they return, they are slotted back to their previous kicking order.
A game is played between two teams. The home team kicks last, while the home team kicks first. The teams maintain the kicking order throughout the innings.
Fielding teams should use no more than ten players and a minimum of eight players. The fielding team must have a pitcher and catcher throughout the game.
Only the captain is allowed to contend calls with the referee. Any other player that confronts the referee is subject to immediate expulsion.
World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA)
The World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) is the official governing body for kickball across the globe. The body sets the officially recognized rules that all members should follow. Members of WAKA participate in the officially sanctioned leagues.
The body is in charge of all official kickball leagues in the United States. At the moment, WAKA runs leagues in 35 states.
The leagues under WAKA are run in a playoff format. The format is prevalent in many American sports like basketball and American football. Winners of the divisions qualify for the main event, which is the championship.
The World Kickball Championship is held annually in Las Vegas. Seventy-two teams participate in the tournament each year. The teams participating go through the round-robin format. The excitement peaks once the elimination rounds begin.
Kickball or kick baseball is a popular sport, especially in the United States. The sport is a popular pastime for both adults and children.
It is played professionally in the United States and India in leagues. The leagues are under the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA).
Kickball was invented in Cincinnati, Ohio, by Nicholas C. Seuss. The sport was first adopted primarily as part of Physical Education in the United States but has become a global sensation. Kickball is still a developing sport that continues to spread globally.