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With dozens of sports leagues offered throughout the Boston area, kickball is one of the most rapidly-growing options – and for good reason. Many young adults choose to play kickball recreationally because the rules are familiar and the elementary school nostalgia remains. Although kickball is inherently simple to play, it is a difficult sport to master. Read through the five tips below and you’ll be well on your way towards becoming a better kickball player.
#1 – Don't Skip the Warmup
Before you engage in any physical activity, it is important to prepare your body with some warm-up movements. It only takes a three to five minute session to stretch your muscles prior to a game, and the payoff is well worth it. Taking just a few minutes to stretch and move a bit before you jump right into your game can spare you hours (if not days!) of soreness afterward. You can find numerous warm-up videos and tutorials online, so there’s something out there that will work for everyone.
#2 – Keep the Ball Low to the Ground
While it’s tempting to kick with everything you’ve got and send the ball soaring into the sun during each at-bat, it’s best to practice keeping the ball lower if you really want to dominate the field. To do it, run up to the ball at an angle for your kick, use the top of your foot/laces, and be sure to lean your body over the ball ever so slightly so your kick won’t generate as much lift. Pop-up balls are much easier for the outfield to catch, so when you’ve mastered the art of the low kick, you’ll be able to grab more bases – and ultimately more points for your team, too.
#3 – Learn to Bunt
Bunting involves kicking the ball as lightly as you possibly can while still adhering to the rules of the game. Strategically placing the ball between the pitcher, the catcher, and third base will give you a tremendous advantage and allow you to reach first base before the outfield figures out what’s happened. To make the most of your bunt, don’t actually kick the ball; instead just allow the inside of your foot to tap it very gently at an angle. You’ll need to gauge the speed of the pitch, too. If it’s a fast or hard pitch, you won’t have to move your foot at all, but if it’s a gentler pitch, you may have to nudge the ball a bit by moving your foot forward.
#4 – Try the Outfield
Playing a base position can involve a lot of pressure, especially when it comes to beating the runner to the base and tagging him or her out. If you’re new to kickball, or if it has been a long time since you last played, try to secure an outfield position for yourself. The reason for choosing to play the outfield when you’re first starting out is that there will be fewer kicks that travel beyond the second base area. Another benefit of this strategy is that you can see everything going on in the field and learn from your experienced teammates how to make more complicated plays.
#5 – Don’t Forget to Have Fun
When it comes to sports like kickball, players of all ages tend to perform better when they are relaxed and having a good time. Keeping this in mind, don’t let your competitive nature get the best of you. If you make a bad play, brush it off and stay focused, and don’t let it ruin your good time. There’s a difference between playing competitively and taking the game too seriously, so make sure that you stay focused on enjoying yourself and always being a good sport.
If you want to work on becoming a better kickball player, there are several steps you can take. Of course, you’ll need to practice kicking and catching frequently, and you’ll also need to make sure you’ve mastered the rules. Beyond that, things like kicking the ball low, perfecting the bunt, and starting in a position you’re comfortable with, can all help you become the best kickball player you can be.
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