Friday, August 23, 2013

Slip-n-Slide Kickball


Allow me to introduce you to the greatest youth ministry game ever:

Slip-n-Slide Kickball.

It was first introduced to me by my friend and mentor, Mark Staples. I've played it in at least three different countries, and its appeal certainly transcends cultural boundaries. Basically, it's awesome.

Supplies:

  • Four (4) inflatable kiddie pools. The sturdier, the better.
  • Four rolls of plastic sheeting or tarps of at least 6 x 25 feet. Again, the sturdier, the better.
  • Dish soap (more slippery) or baby bath soap (less eye-burning)
  • Five (5) plastic tubs or buckets that hold water.
  • Twenty-four (24) tent pegs (heavy duty plastic or thick metal)
  • Kickball (rubber playground ball or a softer volleyball work best)
  • A grass field
  • Hose
  • Water


Setup:

1. Set up the inflatable kiddie pools as a regular baseball diamond with first, second, third, and home bases. Generally, I keep the bases about 50-60 feet apart. Make sure they're exactly where you want them, then fill with water.

2. Place the plastic sheeting or tarps as the baselines, creating a kickball field. Fold the corners and edges of the tarp, and stake it down with the tent pegs--one peg per corner, and two near the middle section on the edges of the tarp.

3. Spread soap on each of the tarps and hose them down with water so they're wet and slippery. You'll need to keep the hose running and ready to keep the plastic wet, especially at first base.

4. Fill four of the plastic tubs with water and place them near the kiddie pools out of gameplay. These will be used as your backup to refill pools and keep the plastic wet.

5. Place the final plastic tub where the pitcher's mound should be, directly between first and third base.


Rules:

The goal of your team is to score the most runs. Runs are scored by getting a player around each base and ending at home.

One team (Team A) starts up to kick; the other team (Team B) is in the field. Each player on the kicking team will get one chance to kick the ball per inning. There are no strikes or balls; fouls are called for balls kicked outside of the playing field, but there are no strikeouts.

When the ball is kicked, the kicking player from Team A runs to first base. They must run/slide/touch the plastic baseline; they cannot run around it. The player is "on base" when they have at least one limb (hand, foot, elbow, head, etc.) inside the kiddie pool. A player on base does not have to run when a ball is kicked. Each base can have multiple Team A players on base at a given time, and runners can run all at once or one at a time after the ball is kicked. There is no stealing bases or leading off. A run is scored when a player has made it to all four bases in order without getting out.

The pitcher for Team B (usually the youth pastor or leader) gives a slow, smooth roll as the pitch. Team B players must remain behind the pitcher until the ball is kicked by Team A. When the ball is kicked, Team B in the field must get the ball back to the pitcher's mound and into the plastic tub or bucket. A player from Team A is considered "out" if they are not "on base" when the ball is inside the bucket. A caught ball, tagging a base, or tagging a runner from Team A with the ball does not get them out. Only getting the ball into the bucket while the runner is not on base will get a player out. There are no limits for outs per inning. The inning is over when all players from Team A have kicked. The teams then switch, with Team B kicking and Team A in the field.

Play at least 5 innings, or until your kiddie pools have deflated and your plastic sheeting is torn to shreds. Keep the pools filled and the plastic wet with refills from the hose and a few more squirts of soap. Also, warn the teams ahead of time about avoiding the tent pegs, as well as keeping field players off the baselines and out of the pools, lest a collision occur. Disclaimer: this is a full-contact game with potential for injury, so play with caution!

Let me know if you play slip-n-slide kickball by leaving a comment or emailing me a picture of your group enjoying the game!

23 comments:

  1. How long does the game take if you play 5 innings? Including the time you need to refill the pools.

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    1. It depends on the size of your teams and the size/strength of your pools! A typical inning where both teams get to kick may take 15-20 minutes.

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  2. Where did you find the tarps? I have been looking for 6x25 tarps but no luck

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    1. I've found them at Walmart and Home Depot. The best I've found is plastic painters' tarps, so check the paint section.

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  3. Replies
    1. As many as you want! I typically just split the group in half. I've played with teams up to 30 before. When everyone gets to kick each inning, it moves quickly and keeps people engaged, even if they're not on base or up to the plate.

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  4. How do you keep the pools in place?

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    Replies
    1. They usually stay in place on their own once you've filled them with water. Make sure you've place the pool exactly where you want it when you start putting water in it, as they're very difficult or impossible to move once filled with water. The bigger and sturdier the pool, the better.

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  5. How does the ground look after the game? Is it totally soaked/muddy?

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, it's usually quite drenched. Not "standing water" drenched, but everything and everyone is fairly soaked by the end.

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  6. Hi ! Did you find the stakes to be at all dangerous ?

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    Replies
    1. This game does have many potential ways to get injured. I recommend the stakes be pushed in to almost level with the ground, and make sure students know about the stakes beforehand, to aim for the center of the tarps.

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  7. Thank you so much for this info! We're playing tomorrow at VBS (and afterward with youth), and this is the most thorough description/instruction I've found. Many thanks! We'll let you know how it goes!

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  8. Is there any extra padding underneath the tarp? Does the tarp hold up o.k. with the stakes?

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    Replies
    1. I've never put extra padding under the tarps, but we've always played on grass fields. The tarps hold up well if they're thicker plastic sheeting, and if you roll up or fold over the edges or corners where the stakes are placed, giving extra layers of support.

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  9. Where did you find your kiddie pools and how much did you pay for them if you don't mind me asking? Looking to play with a church group! Thanks

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    Replies
    1. Tons of stores carry kiddie pools. Check your local area--Target, Walmart, Costco, Sam's Club, hardware stores, etc.

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  10. Have you ever played where you did not stake the tarp down. I plan to play on a turf field and cannot stake anything into the turf.

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