What happens if you mix baseball with football soccer?
Luckly, you’ll have a kickingball game.
A moment! ¿Kickingball?
Although for those of us who grew up in Venezuela this name is more than known, this sport is still a novelty in many other places.
So let’s learn more about its rules and its history.
As in baseball and softball, in kickingball two teams play and the goal is to score the most runs and prevent the opponent from scoring.
How do you score a run in kickingball?
The offensive player must kick the ball and legally advance to touch, in order, the four bases on the field. While doing this, she must avoid being put out of action, or out, and do so before three players are eliminated to end the inning.
This is the distribution of a the kickingball playing field:
The size of the official ball to play kickingball will depend on the categories:
- The official material is Clarino or Leather.
- The ball cannot be changed during the game without the authorization of the referee.
- It is forbidden for any player to intentionally remove the color or alter the ball with parlina, sandpaper, emery paper, nor may they place any substances on it. If this infraction is confirmed, the referee will remove the offender from the game.
- If a pitcher sends to home an altered ball, the pitcher will be removed from the game.
All players on the same team must be in uniform; uniforms must be identical in color with no buttons or glass trim.
Offense and defense
At the start of the game, the Referee will order «GAME!» and the actions will begin.
During each inning, the teams will alternate to play one half on defense and the other on offense.
The Away team will start each inning on offense and then move on to defense, while the Home team opens up defense and ends up with the opportunity to kick the ball.
For this change to take place, three players from the offensive team have to be put out of play and thus end the offensive team’s turn.
A kickingball team is composed of 10 players on the field, who must be identified with a number on the back of the shirt and distributed in the different positions at the time of defense.
The roster can have a minimum of 14 and up to 20 players.
Defensive players are distributed as follows:
In the offensive, each one will take a turn in an organized way. The kicking order must be followed throughout the game, unless a player is substituted.
One or more players can be substituted during the game, at any time as long as the ball is dead, that is, a play is not being made. The substitute will kick on the replaced player’s turn in the team’s kicking order.
Duration of the match
It is understood as an inning to the portion of the game during which both teams alternate on offense and defense and in which there are three eliminations (or outs) for each team. Each round of kicking per team is half an inning.
The kickingball game is divided into several innings and the amount that will be played depends on the category:
- Children: 5 innings.
- Intermediate: 7 innings.
- Youth and Adult: 9 innings.
- Máster: 10 innings.
Some basic terms
It is the combination of the Pitcher with the Catcher.
It is each of the three (3) eliminations that must be made to the offensive team.
When it is confirmed that the player who is kicking has the right to be located in the base that she managed to reach.
It is a throw declared like this by the Referee when:
- The Kicker tries to hit the ball and misses.
- The Kicker doesn’t try to hit the ball and some part of the ball passes through any part of the Strike Zone.
- The Kicker hits a foul.
- The ball touches the Kicker when she tries to hit it.
- The ball touches the Kicker in the Strike Zone.
- The ball passes through the Strike Zone, at a height no more than 20 cm above ground level.
- The Kicker touches the ball with the kickstand or with both feet simultaneously.
- When the ball accidentally hits the Kicker anywhere on the body.
- The Kicker kicks in front of or behind the Kicking Zone.
By accumulating three strikes during her turn, a kicker will be eliminated or out.
It is a throw that does not go through the Strike Zone and that the Kicker makes no attempt to hit.
If a Kicker receives four throws considered balls or out of the Strike Zone, she will be awarded the right to move to first base.
From kickball to kickingball
During World War II (around 1942), the journalist Ernie Pyle wrote about «kickball» matches played between American soldiers. By the 60s, this sport began to be incorporated as part of the athletic programs of the summer camps and it was not long before it also was incorporated into schools, as a mixed sport.
Its biggest advantage, and one that helped it to expand quickly, is the use of minimal equipment, hardly needing a ball and a little space to mark the field.
In the 70s, kickball began to be practiced by adults and in the mid-80s the World Adult Kickball Association (WAKA) was created, to organize and regulate its practice, including maintaining the mixed character that requires an equal number of men and women on the team.
Its arrival in Venezuela happened in the year 1965, when the professor “Charito” Ramírez returned from a trip to the United States, with the idea of replicating the practice of this discipline in mind. The Merici Academy, together with the Santa Rosa de Lima and Sagrado Corazón schools, played the first intercollegiate tournament.
In the 70s, Kickingball was part of the Criollitos de Venezuela organization, but it was played in the Free category. In the 80s, the expansion of the discipline began, with the creation of clubs and tournaments in different categories, not only in the central region, but also in all the corners of the country.
It is not known for sure how the variation in the name happened, but the use of the term «Kickingball» quickly spread in Venezuela. In addition to the denomination, it would be distinguished from kickball by becoming an exclusively female discipline.
In the early 2000s, the practice of kickingball was consolidated in Venezuela:
- The I National Kickingball Congress is held (with the participation of 12 states and the objective of creating a Regulation)
- The Venezuelan Federation of Kickingball was created (FEVENKIC).
- It is included as an official sport in the program of the National Higher Education University Games (JUVINES), which would lead to its inclusion in other sporting events.
- It is now listed as a «High Performance» sport according to the National Institute of Sports (IND), being considered the discipline with the greatest growth at the female level in Venezuela.
International Kickingball Federation
One of FEVENKIC’s most recent achievements is the creation of the International Kickingball Federation (FIKIC) on March 13, 2020.
“Today, March 13, is a historic event for Venezuela. The International Kickingball Federation is created. So far 16 countries are part of this federation. For more than 7 years we have been fighting to create the FIKIC, also because the Venezuelan migration (…) We hope to be very soon in the Olympic program and set the goal of having 100 affiliated countries ”, said Daniel Crespo Varona, president of the International Kickingball Federation.
“For Venezuela it is an achievement. This is a sport created in our country. From now on, kickingball is not Venezuelan, it is worldwide”, added Crespo.