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Kickball

I have very fond memories of Kickball. Where I grew up we called it Soccer Baseball—not a bad title for the game because you use your feet to kick the ball and the rules are basically the same as Baseball.

My friends and I discovered the game out of sheer boredom in our schoolyard one day. We were too old for clapping and Jump Rope games. We'd gotten very tired of hitting a tennis ball against the school wall, and the champ squares were always too crowded. As we sat upon the school wall complaining about the crowded schoolyard, I looked down and noticed the baseball diamond. Our schoolyard was made of concrete and there were hopscotch boards and champ squares painted on the ground. What we'd failed to notice were the two baseball diamonds at opposite ends of the schoolyard. I went inside and asked the gym teacher if we could borrow a large rubber ball and my friends and I started a schoolyard trend that became the most popular activity for years to come.

Winning Plays

There are people who take Kickball very seriously—there's even an official rulebook put out by the American Kickball Association!

In order to play the game for fun, you really just have to know some basic rules of Baseball.

You'll need enough yard space to play the game and a big solid rubber ball. It has to hold up to some hard kicking and should be tough and light enough to fly through the air.

Set up your playing area in the same way you'd set up a baseball diamond. You'll have a home plate, first, second, and third bases, and a pitcher's mound. In this game you don't want to pitch from a mound, but rather a flat surface. The best location to play the game is on a flat paved or gravel surface, but if you must play on grass you'll have just as much fun, but you might not be able to pitch as accurately because the grass will slow the ball's roll.

You divide into two teams—one team is the kickers while the other is the outfielders. The kickers line up behind home plate in order of who kicks first, second, third, and so on.

The outfielders can take their locations in the field. You'll need a pitcher, base-players, and a couple outfielders. If you only have a few people playing then the base players can double as outfielders, but they should be prepared to do a lot of running.

To pick the order of kickers you can go by alphabetical order of the last names. If your last name starts with a “W” and you get sick of having to go almost last every time (if you get a chance to kick at all), try going in reverse alphabetical order when you're up for the kick again.

The pitcher must pitch the ball toward home plate where a kicker will be ready to make that ball fly. The pitcher holds the ball in one hand and rolls it with a little bit of speed toward home plate. Like in Baseball, the pitcher can try to make the kicker strike out. If the ball rolls over home plate and the kicker misses or doesn't kick, that's a strike.

Three strikes equal an out. Three outs mean the next team is “at bat” (or up for the kick) and the kickers become the outfielders. You'll need a catcher to stand behind home plate and an umpire to call the shots.

If the kicker kicks the ball, he or she has to run to first base. If he or she sees that the ball is far enough out of the way, he or she can try to run to second base. It's the job of the base players and outfielders to try and tag the kicker before he or she can run all the way to home plate. If one of the outfielders catches the ball before it hits the ground, that's an out!

You can play as many innings as you want. There may not be enough time to play a full nine innings like in Baseball, but make sure you all agree in advance on the number of innings you have time to play. If you have all day, go for the full nine—if you only have recess period at school, play until the bell rings and pick up again where you left off the next day. One way or another, once you start playing, you'll be hooked!

More on: Games

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Family Games © 2002 by BookEnds, LLC. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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