Does a Kickball Line Up Matter?

By Kimberly


Whatever sport we decide to play, strategy is always essential. Kickball is no different – every kickball player can maximize the potential of their game. Creating a killer kickball lineup is crucial if we want to win the game. The essential part of kickball is to have fun.

The kickball lineup matters in competitive games, though it’s not required in a pickup game as long as players take fair turns kicking. Teams must present a lineup to the referee in competitions before the game begins. There must be a list of all the players on the field for the kickball lineup.

Kickball is a sport remarkably like softball and baseball. Because of the use of soft rubber balls, kickball is a safer sport. Softball and baseball have a lineup, so why would kickball be any different? The lineup helps set a standardized batting (or kicking) order to help the team score.

So, want to have some fun? Then, let’s get down to business and learn about the kickball lineup!

An image of young football players with their coach stacking hands together.

Important note: if you can play kickball with an official rubber ball, make sure you do. Playing kickball with a soccer ball works in a pinch, but the rubber ball is softer on kids’ feet! Give our article a read – What Size Kickball Should You Get And Use?

What Is the Kickball Lineup?

The kickball lineup is the order the players are in to kick the ball, which is why another name for the lineup is kicking order. It’s typically set to help maximize scoring potential based on player ability and skill.

Usually, the team captain or manager is the one who creates and plans the lineup. The lineup strategy is based on the skills of players.

Here are the rules. The captain or the manager writes the lineup down on the cards. Then, the captain must present the lineup to the referee, which they can’t change.

A lineup can only be changed when the player is injured, so substitution is necessary. Usually, the rule in most leagues is never to substitute a pinch hitter or pinch runner, but this rule is not set in stone.

The referee must take care of the cards and make sure the teams are playing by the rules.

Sometimes, rules aren’t followed. For example, if the player is found to have kicked the ball out of their order, the claim must be made to the referee. In this case, the referee will check the lineup cards and see if the claim is valid.

If the claim is valid, the referee has the right to disqualify or remove the player. But, if the team did not make a claim, the game would continue as if nothing had happened.

If a player is injured, then substitution is allowed. However, if the same player can return and play by any chance, they must take the same position from the lineup card.

Who Designs the Kickball Lineup?

The captain or manager will design a lineup for the game depending on the player’s position and skill, depending on the team. The leading positions in kickball are usually the catcher, the baseman, and the pitcher. The captain or manager will strategically align and structure the player’s position.

Who designs the lineup will depend on the league rules and the team itself.

What Are the Kickball Positions?

Kickball generally has a pitcher, catcher, basemen, outfielders, and a shortstop. Depending on the local league’s rules, some positions may be modified or changed. Kickball positions are similar to positions in softball and baseball.

Each kickball league has its own rules, especially regarding the number of players. However, a general principle is nine players per team.

Some leagues permit twelve players per team with a requirement of at least eight players out on the field. As you can see, kickball doesn’t have rules that are as strict as softball or baseball.

So, to design a great lineup, we should know every kickball position very well. The person designing the lineup will

The pitcher

Every kickball game has a pitcher. This is a critical fielding position in the game. The responsibility of a pitcher is to pitch the ball from the mound to the kicker.

If pitchers have great skill in throwing the ball, they can throw tricky pitches like changeups, fastballs, or curveballs. There are no rules on how the pitcher can throw a ball; it’s up to the player.

A good captain or manager understands the importance of a good pitcher.

The catcher

The catcher squats behind home plate and catches the pitches. This position requires preparedness and alertness to catch and throw the ball to the basemen quickly.

The basemen

There are three basemen positions: first, second, and third. The first baseman is responsible for force-outs and tag-outs and stands next to or on the first base.

The second baseman is standing next to or on the second base, and the third baseman is standing next to or on the third base. The role of basemen is to tag out a base runner.

The shortstop

The shortstop covers the line drives and the ground balls between the second and the third base. Again, this is a defensive position, and usually, it’s given to the best player on the team.

For those athletes who want to be the shortstop in this game, we wrote this article just for you: What Does a Shortstop Do in Kickball? Go give it a read!

The outfielders

The outfielder’s responsibility is to stand in center field, left field, or right field. They are the last bastions of defense.

An image of a group of boys sitting in a circle listening to a motivational pep talk from the coach before team practice.

How to Make a Good Kickball Lineup

A good captain or manager knows their team’s strengths and weaknesses well. Every kickball player has a place in the lineup. It is the captain’s responsibility to recognize the skill and strength of each player and build that into the lineup.

Here’s an example of how the lineup could look, and it would be repeated.

  • The first kicker should be one of the fastest players on the team. Then, once the pitcher pitches the ball, the kicker should kick the ball hard and far away.
  • The second and third kickers should be reliable players who can get onto base using various methods to load the potential to score.
  • The third or fourth kicker should be a strong player who can kick the ball hard enough to get the previous few players in to score runs. This is your cleanup kicker.
  • Rinse and repeat with the other players slotted into their best positions.

As said before, strategy is the primary key in the game. But, sometimes, kicking the ball hard isn’t always the best option.

While making a kickball lineup, the captain knows that every kind of kick has its time and place. There are times in the game when it’s best to play defense rather than offense.

Being aware of the game is the best strategy. Kickball strategy is simple, but it won’t be easy if the captain doesn’t know the team and their skills and techniques very well.

A good or bad kickball lineup can make or break the game. The kickball lineup can be as long as desired, and there are no limits. The only rule is that every player must be listed on the lineup. If a player isn’t listed, they can’t play.

A kickball lineup must include:

  • A player’s number
  • A player’s first and last name
  • A player’s starting position
  • A list of substitutes and injured players

How to Do a Lineup in Non-Competitive Kickball Games

In any non-competitive kickball game, lineups aren’t a requirement. However, every player must get a turn to kick. For this reason, having a list or order to kick is important, even if it isn’t written down anywhere official.

If a bunch of kids are playing a pickup game at school or in the backyard, they may agree that the lineup is just a line – and it’s whoever gets there first. That tends to favor the faster runners, though, and so even that’s not 100% fair.

In that case, it may be worth assigning everyone an order so that it’s always the same and fair for all players.

One general rule of thumb for coed games is to have the kicking order boy/girl or girl/boy.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

A kickball lineup establishes a formal and approved schedule of kicking orders. It allows changes in field positions without informing the referee.

However, switching a player with another player isn’t allowed and must be reported to the referee. Only if the player is injured will the substitution of players be allowed.

Before the game starts, the coach must review the kickball lineup and make sure that all players know their position and the kicking order. Depending on the kickball league, the kicking order may or may not be specified.

Kickball is a very much-loved sport among children and adults. We can make it as competitive as we want to, or playful and fun. Kickball is an easy sport to learn and one of the most popular recreational sports in the U.S.

The bottom line is mastering the positions on the field. A good captain pays attention to players and communicates with them. This plays a key role when creating an excellent kickball lineup.

Ready to play kickball and have a good time? We know it’s hot outside, so why don’t you cool off by adding a slip ‘n’ slide? Read this article to learn how: What Is Needed for Slip and Slide Kickball? (A Step-by-Step Guide).


Learning from your own experiences is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as a family of sports nuts wannabes.

  • “Handbook for Coaches.” NWA Kickball, 2011,
  • “Kickball Strategies – Maximize Your Offensive Potential.” Edmonton Sports Club, 18 July 2018,

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