Variation on a Theme: Kickball & Dodgeball

hit on the face with a ballNot kickball and dodgeball together. Though I like the way you think. Thought we’d pass along a variation of each of these youth min staples this week:

1. Short Field Kickball

The rules for short-field eliminate two annoying things – a) the big kids being able to boom it over everyone’s head and b) being the person that has to chase that ball down while the bases clear. Again.

In short-field, a boundary line is established that virtually eliminates the home run; if you kick it over the line, you’re out. We have a small grass field next to our building that shares edges with 3 parking lots to right field, and right/left center. There’s a law office in the left field corner. Our rule is that if the ball reaches any parking lot, regardless of how far it had to roll to get there, the kicker is out. In a further local rules variation, the ball may not hit the law office on the fly. It’s a Green Monster distance from home, so it wouldn’t quite be fair to take it completely out of play. But we don’t want to buy any windows or enter into any other kind damage/claim situation with a law office.

Your kids may be annoyed at first (especially the big ones), but it really does make the game more interesting if play is centered more on infield defense and less on one person chasing a ball. More satisfaction. More enthusiasm. Less dread of the 3rd-year 8th grader coming to the plate at the middle school lock-in.

Two more offense-hindering rules: no lead-offs, and no bunts. Trust me, a low-scoring game is way more fun.


2. Scatterball

This dodgeball variation was new to me. Play is every-person-for-every-person’s-self, though you may see alliances develop the more you play the game. The rules are fairly simple:

a) You throw the ball in the air.

b) Someone catches it.

c) Everyone scatters.

You’ll need a defined playing area; no one is allowed out of the boundaries unless they’re retrieving the ball. The ball is live until it hits the ground. You play until a single person remains standing.

What makes this variation particularly fun is that when you’re hit you are out, but you’re still a part of the game. Once a player is hit, they sit down wherever they happen to be. They’re “dead” but can still catch and throw the ball – even get other standing players out. An important rule to point out is that you can PASS the ball, you just have to remember to make it a bounce pass to make sure whoever you’re throwing to catches a dead ball, not a live one. If you’re passing to a seated person there’s no need to bounce it because they’re already out.

If the concept of passing sounds weird, remember that there are no teams and no “sides,” so players are running in a common knockout zone. Temporary alliances may quickly form and dissolve. Example: Players A & B are standing close together and player C is on the other side of the playing area with the ball. Player B hit player C in the face in a previous round, so player C quickly bounce passes the ball to player A so that player A can take out player B at short range.

Got it?


Hope you have fun with these!


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