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10 Tips for Successful Kickball

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Marty Handel has 31 years of experience and submitted these 10 successful tips. 3-6

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Background: As an elementary physical education teacher for 31 years, I have had much success, interest, and enthusiasm from my students with these “Top 10 Tips for Successful Kickball.” The same tips can be modified for a variety of basketball, softball, soccer, and other small-side game activities. Have fun!

How We Do It: Kickball helps to reinforce kicking, fielding, throwing, catching, and base running skills. Once the students understand the rules of this game, small-sided games with 5-8 players can be organized so that there are no long lines of children waiting to kick. Here are the 10 rules we use with our classes:

1) Know the Rules: Once the students know the rules, we have several games going on at once. We do a squad tournament to help make things interesting and exciting (i.e., Squad I versus Squad 2 and Squad 3 versus Squad 4). A win = 3 points, a tie = 2 points, and a loss = 1 point. Up to 3 bonus points are given for sportsmanship, teamwork, and following directions. Therefore, a total maximum of 6 points could be achieved if the squad won their game and earned all 3 of the bonus points. Discuss the criteria with your class regarding what your expectations are with the bonus items.

2) Captains: Squad leaders are captains, unless the squad leader wants to pick another squad member as captain.

3) No Referees: Judgment calls are settled with “rock, paper, scissors.” Students should ask the teacher about any situations they do not understand (i.e., force outs should be demonstrated and explained). Teacher should observe each game, offering suggestions while providing positive comments.

4) 5 Run Limit: We use three outs or a five-run limit per inning. Score boards (or an alternate system such as putting bean bags or pennies in a container for each team) should be used.

5) Outs: Outs are made by catching a fly ball, making a force out, tagging a runner with the ball, or after kicking four foul balls.

6) No Leads: No leading or stealing.

7) Kicker’s Choice: The kicker has a choice of the pitcher rolling the ball slow, medium, or fast. They verbally tell the pitcher the speed that they would like.

8) Alternate Kickers: Alternate boys and girls kickers, if needed.

9) Rotate Players: Rotate player positions each inning.

10) Stop! All play stops when the pitcher has the ball. Runners may not advance to the next base unless they were more than halfway to the base.

Other: Try to have as many games as possible. For example, if your school has a soccer field or large area, you can have up to eight games going on at once. We use a perimeter and two center lines in order to designate “fair” and “foul” territories. Eight kickball diamonds are formed (see diagram below, arrows designate the direction of the kick) using this format. Tournaments can be scheduled during recess periods.

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