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If you’ve been wondering how to play Wiffle Ball, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll review the rules of the game, give you the proper Wiffle Ball field dimensions, and let you know where and how the sport originated. I’ll also cover the key pieces of equipment that you’ll need to play Wiffle Ball. Ready? Let’s dive in!
When Was Wiffle Ball Invented?
Wiffle Ball is a variation of baseball, America’s Pastime. It’s origins can be traced back to 1953 when David N. Mullany invented what we now know as the Wiffle Ball. Mullany designed the ball so that his son could more easily throw a curveball. The boy and his friends called strikeouts “whiffs”; hence the Wiffle Ball game was born. The sport grew in popularity in the ensuing years, and kids now play Wiffle Ball in backyards, backlots, and parks around the U.S.
While the nature of Wiffle Ball is recreational, players have formed competitive leagues across the country, like Major League Wiffle and Major League Wiffle Ball, an obvious play on baseball’s Big Leagues.
Now, without further ado, here are the rules of Wiffle Ball:
Wiffle Ball Rules: How to Play Wiffle Ball
The beauty of Wiffle Ball is its flexibility. You can play with anywhere from 2-10 players, and adjust the rules as you see fit. With that in mind, here are the “Official Wiffle Ball Rules” that you can follow, if you wish:
Wiffle Ball Field Dimensions
The field resembles that of a baseball diamond, but the dimensions are much smaller. It’s recommended that the two home run markers (on either end of the outfield area) be at least 20 feet apart, and the foul lines should run approximately 60 feet in length from home plate to each of the home run markers (see diagram below). In the diagram, you’ll also notice the different field areas, marked Single, Double, Triple, and Home Run.
The maximum number of players in a Wiffle Ball game is ten – up to 5 per side. A full team consists of a pitcher, catcher, and three fielders – one each in the double, triple, and home run areas. The batting order goes by position, in the following order: Pitcher, Catcher, Double Area player, Triple Area player, and Home Run Area player.
Like baseball, a game has 9 innings, with three outs per side, per inning. There is no bunting allowed, nor are bases on balls (walks) granted. Wiffle Ball is designed so that there is no running required. Instead, the batter attempts to hit the ball as far as possible. The ball will land in either the Single, Double, Triple, or Home run area. You can use any type of marker you’d like to separate these areas. For a batter to be called out, one of the following must happen: A swing and a miss on the third strike; Fly balls that are caught in foul or fair territory; ground balls that are caught by a fielder while the ball is still moving.
When a batter is successful in getting a hit, an imaginary baserunner is used. Players keep track of which bases the “runners” reach, depending upon the type of hit. For example, if the first player hits a double, the imaginary runner would take their place at second base. If the next batter also hits a double, the runner would reach home plate and score a run, and the second batter would be on second base. If the next batter hits a single, the runner at second would move to third, and the batter would reach first base. Remember, imaginary runners only.
Like baseball, the game ends after the ninth inning, and the team with the most runs is the winner.
Wiffle Ball Equipment
As with any sport, you can make the Wiffle Ball equipment list as long as you’d like. If you want, you can add bases, a batters box, foul lines, and of course, uniforms. But all you need to have fun is a Wiffle ball and bat. Let’s take a closer look at these unique pieces of equipment.
The design of a Wiffle Ball is what makes the sport so unique. While there are many different types of Wiffle Balls, the original ball is similar in size to a baseball; but it is hollow, made of plastic, is 1/8th of an inch in thickness, with eight 3/4″ holes to allow the air to pass through during flight. The design of a Wiffle Ball enables the pitcher to get an extraordinary amount of movement on the ball.
If you’re in need of some Wiffle Balls, look no further! Here is a set of 12 Official Size Wiffle Balls:
Wiffle Ball Bat
The official Wiffle Ball bat is very different from a baseball or softball bat. The bat is made of durable yellow plastic, is 32 inches long, and at 1.5 inches in diameter, is much thinner than a baseball bat. The hollow bat is very lightweight, under 0.5 lbs.
Here is a Official Wiffle Ball bat set, that comes with the yellow bat and an Official Wiffle Ball.
How to Pitch a Wiffle Ball
You pitch a Wiffle Ball with the same motion that you would throw a baseball. However, a Wiffle Ball’s design makes it easy for the pitcher to get a lot of movement on the ball. Using different grips, you can learn to throw nasty curve balls and risers that make it tough for the batter to hit.
How to Play Wiffle Ball: Final Thoughts
Now that you have the Wiffle Ball rules, all you need is a group of friends to play with. Remember that Wiffle Ball can be played with just two people. As long as you have a pitcher and a batter, you can have plenty of fun. I do, however, recommend that you have the right equipment. For example, an official Wiffle Ball lets you throw the nasty curves and risers that the sport is known for.