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How to Play Stickball

The vacant lot version of baseball has been played for generations. Round up some friends, get to a field, and play a game of stickball.


  • TIP: There's no need for an umpire -- on-deck batters call balls and strikes, and the batter determines fair and foul balls. Calls can be disputed and worked out with the opposing team, but disputed calls take up a lot of time, so it's in your best interest to be honest.
  • Step 1: Advance baserunners automatically. On a single, all baserunners advance one base. On a double, two bases. Runners don't have to be forced in to score. If you have a runner on third, they score on a single.
  • Step 2: Play for seven innings, alternating sides after every three outs. Mix and match rules from baseball, and, unless you're in a league, make up some of your own. Just make sure the teams have a discussion and are in agreement about the rules before you start. Now, play ball!
  • FACT: An early version of stickball, played by Native Americans, was a forerunner to lacrosse.
  • Step 3: Score balls and strikes much the same as in baseball. In stickball, however, the batter only gets two swings, and all fouls count as strikes.
  • Step 4: Use tennis balls to hit and use sticks, no more than 44 inches long and no more than 4 inches around, as bats. You can tape the bat as long as you don't break the 44-inch rule.
  • Step 5: Use cones to mark hit lines. The single line should be 25 to 35 feet behind the pitcher's mound. The single line also marks the start of the outfield. The double line should be 25 to 30 feet from the single line. Mark a triple line between 200 to 225 feet from home plate, and anything beyond the triple line is a home run.
  • TIP: Mark foul territory with cones, placed 23.5 feet on each side of the pitcher's mound and angled out from the corners of the strike zone to the first single cone.
  • Step 6: Field a team of a maximum of five players. If your team has five batters, they must also have five fielders. Teams don't necessarily have to have the same number of players.
  • Step 7: Attach the strike zone box to the wall at 17 inches from the ground. The pitching rubber -- 2 feet across -- goes 55.5 feet from home plate. Use chalk or tape to mark home plate on the ground, 8 inches outward from each corner of the strike zone toward the pitcher's mound.

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