HOW IS BEEP KICKBALL PLAYED FOR FUN?
Beep Kickball is an adapted sport for people who are visually impaired or blind. It is played on a flat grassy field with a ball that beeps and two bases that buzz. There is no second base, no throwing the ball and no running around all the bases. There are 5 players on each team and everyone wears a blindfold to equalize the differences in vision. Simply explained, the kicker kicks the ball and runs to tag the buzzing base, either first or third. If he tags the base before a fielder picks up the ball, he is safe and scores a run. If a fielder picks up the ball first, the runner is out. Three outs, six innings, game over!
SUGGESTIONS FOR RECREATIONAL PLAY WITH NOVICES
For elementary kids, the field is set up like a baseball diamond with first and third bases 60 feet from home plate and 10 feet outside the baseline. The foul arc is 30 feet and a home run is 80 feet. For teenagers and adults, the bases are 80 feet, the foul arc is 30 feet and a home run is 100 feet. Adjust the distances according to your group’s sizes, ages and abilities.
Every player wears a blindfold to equalize the differences in vision. I recommend everyone practice for a few minutes first without a blindfold and that very young children not be required to wear one until they are comfortable.
The five fielders are placed in the field per the diagram below. Encourage the fielders to talk to teammates while moving and drop to their knees if FREEZE is called.
The umpire hands the beeping ball to the kicker and he places it on the ground and kicks it. He can place kick it, run and kick it or drop kick it. There are three “strikes” before being called out, but most kids kick the ball on the first try. The ball has to be kicked farther than the foul arc and inside the baselines to be a fair ball. A fair fly ball kicked beyond the home run arc is a home run, but the kicker still has to run and tag the base.
After kicking the ball, the kicker runs to tag the base that buzzes (they are buzzed randomly), either first or third, and tries to get there before a fielder picks up the ball. If he misses the base, he should go back and tag it. If he tags the base before a fielder picks up the ball, he scores a run. If the fielder picks up the ball first, the runner is out. Three outs per inning, six innings, game over!
A sighted field spotter is in the field with the players to help them locate the ball by calling their name or number when the ball is kicked. After calling a number or name, he must be quiet. If he fails to be quiet, a run is awarded to the kicker. The field spotter can place the fielders anywhere and he helps the players return to their positions after each play.
Be sure to have enough sighted safety people to yell FREEZE, FREEZE, FREEZE if a collision is imminent.
HOW DO YOU PLAY BEEP KICKBALL RECREATIONALLY?
Here are a few highlights of playing beep kickball recreationally. Modify these guidelines according to your group, be flexible and have fun! This is a work in progress!
- A team has 5 players on the field
- Only first and third bases are set up, using the specially designed buzzing bases
- A game lasts 6 innings unless tied or unless time runs out, 3 outs per inning
- Only one sighted player, a field spotter, is needed on the defensive team
- Only one sighted player, a coach, is needed on the offensive team
- All visually impaired players wear blindfolds to make it fair
FIELD SETUP – ELEMENTARY KIDS
- First and third bases are 60 feet from home plate
- A 25 foot arc from home plate is drawn for the foul line
- A 80 foot arc is drawn from home plate for the home run line
FIELD SETUP – MIDDLE SCHOOL
- First and third bases are 70 feet from home plate
- A 25 foot arc from home plate is drawn for the foul line
- A 90 foot arc is drawn from home plate for the home run line
FIELD SETUP – HIGH SCHOOLERS AND ADULTS
- First and third bases are 80 feet from home plate
- A 30 foot arc from home plate is drawn for the foul line
- A 100 foot arc is drawn from home plate for the home run line
KICKER – BLINDFOLDED
- The goal of the kicker is to kick the ball inside the base foul lines and farther than the foul arc
- The ball is placed on home plate to kick
- Upon kicking the ball, the kicker listens for one of the bases to buzz and then runs and tags the base
- The kicker may kick the ball via a place kick, a running place kick or a punt
- The kicker may not step any farther forward than home plate
FIELDERS – BLINDFOLDED
- There are 5 fielders in the field.
- Once the ball is kicked, the fielders can and should communicate with each other
- The fielders must have the ball in hand and off the ground before the runner touches the base to get him out. Tie goes to the defense.
FIELD SPOTTER – SIGHTED
- Assists the fielders in getting positioned in the field and returning after each play
- Alerts his team as to which section of the field the kicked ball is coming towards
- The field spotter calls out the name or number of the player the ball is approaching
- The field spotter can stop play to avoid collisions and request time outs
- The field spotter can communicate information about the kicker, i.e. left footed, big kicker, etc.
- There can be one or two field spotters
FIRST AND THIRD BASE SAFETIES – SIGHTED
- Makes sure the runners don’t collide with anything or anyone by calling FREEZE.
- Guides the kicker back home after running if needed
- Stands between home plate and the base and visually follows the runner
FIELD SAFETY – SIGHTED
- Makes sure the fielders don’t collide with anyone or anything by calling FREEZE
- Stands behind fielders
UMPIRE – SIGHTED
- Before each new kicker, head umpire, who stands to the side of home base, announces “READY IN THE FIELD” and the field spotter replies “READY IN THE FIELD” and it’s up to the FS whether the fielders count off.
- Then ump says QUIET to the players and spectators so players can hear the beeping and buzzing
- Then ump hands the beeping ball to the kicker and says PLAY BALL and the kicker kicks the ball
- First and third base safeties double as base umpires and call HERE and raise their arms upon the runner tagging the base
- The FIELD UMPIRE listens for the HERE while watching the fielders and calls OUT or SAFE