What is Wiffle Ball? Wiffle Ball is a fun and casual backyard or playground game that originated in the United States. It is played with a unique plastic ball and bat, designed by the Wiffle Ball Company in the 1950s. The game’s name comes from the company’s name “Wiffle” and the sound the ball makes when thrown, “whiff.”
The Wiffle Ball is a lightweight, perforated plastic ball with eight oblong holes on one side, making it easy to throw and control. The Wiffle Ball bat is also made of plastic and has a thin design with holes, allowing players to swing easily and hit the ball accurately.
Who is this for?
Wiffle Ball is intended for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, including beginners who are new to the game and want a basic understanding of what Wiffle Ball is all about. Whether you’re a child, a teenager, an adult, a parent, or someone looking for recreational activities.
Wiffle Ball Rules
The objective of wiffle ball is to score more runs than the opposing team by hitting the ball and running around bases safely.
You’ll need a wiffle ball (a plastic ball with holes), a wiffle ball bat (a plastic bat with holes), and some open space to play. However, the official rules for equipment are as follows:
- Wiffle Ball:
- The ball used in Wiffle Ball is a white plastic ball, similar in size to a baseball, and it has eight slots on one side.
- The ball should only have normal wear and tear resulting from regular play. If a ball is torn more than ¼
- inch, it will be considered illegal to play and will be taken out of the game.
- Wiffle Ball Bat:
- The bat used in Wiffle Ball is the standard yellow Wiffle Ball bat, made of plastic.
- Players are not allowed to put tape on the bats.
- League officials may inspect the bats to ensure they are legal for play.
- Players are not allowed to use baseball gloves in Wiffle Ball. This means fielders and pitchers cannot wear traditional baseball gloves during the game.
- However, batters are allowed to wear batting gloves to improve their grip while hitting.
- Strike Zone:
- The strike zone is an imaginary rectangular area that the pitcher aims for when throwing the ball.
- The strike zone target is 32 inches high, 22 inches wide, and stands 12 inches off the ground.
You can have two teams, each with 3 to 5 players. One team will bat, and the other will field. But the official recommended team size is:
- Team Size:
- Each team can have up to 10 players on its roster. This means there can be 10 players who are part of the team, but not all of them will be on the field at the same time.
- Batting Order and Fielding:
- When it’s time to bat, five players from the team will take turns batting one after the other. They will follow a specific order, known as the batting order.
- However, when it’s time to play defense (fielding), only three players from the team are allowed to be on the field at the same time. One player will be the pitcher, and two others will be the fielders.
- Teams can make substitutions for both fielders and batters, but they can only do so in-between innings.
- This means when one inning ends and the next one is about to start, teams can change the players on the field or the batting order.
- The only exception is if there’s an injury during the game. In such cases, a team can make a substitution immediately, even during an inning.
- Batting Order Rules:
- It’s essential for the team to follow the correct batting order. If a player bats out of turn (swings when it’s not their turn in the order), it’s considered an out.
- The batting order helps keep the game fair and organized.
- Pitcher Rules:
- The pitcher must face a complete batter before being replaced. This means the pitcher must finish pitching to one batter before the team can change the pitcher.
- Use a small playing area, such as a backyard or a park.
- Bases are set up in a diamond shape: first base, second base, third base, and home plate.
- Designate a pitching area, usually a few steps away from home plate.
Official Field Specifications are as follows:
- Pitcher’s Mound:
- The pitcher’s mound is the area where the pitcher stands to throw the ball to the batter.
- It is located 40 feet away from home plate, which is where the batter stands to hit the ball.
- Singles Line:
- The singles line is a marking on the field, and it is positioned 45 feet away from home plate.
- If a batter hits the ball and it goes beyond the singles line without being caught, it’s considered a single hit.
- Doubles Line:
- The doubles line is another marking on the field, and it is placed 65 feet away from home plate.
- If a batter hits the ball and it goes beyond the doubles line without being caught, it’s considered a double hit.
- This means the batter can advance to second base.
- Triple Line:
- The triple line is marked on the field and is located 80 feet away from home plate.
- If a batter hits the ball and it goes beyond the triple line without being caught, it’s considered a triple hit.
- This means the batter can advance to third base.
- Outfield Fence:
- The outfield fence is the boundary of the field in the far distance from home plate.
- It is positioned 90 feet away from home plate.
- If a batter hits the ball over the outfield fence without being caught, it’s considered a home run, the most valuable hit in the game.
- The pitcher stands in the pitching area and throws the wiffle ball toward the batter at a moderate speed.
- The pitch must be an underhand toss, similar to bowling, to make it easier for the batter to hit.
- The batter stands beside the home plate with the wiffle ball bat.
- The batter’s goal is to hit the ball and get on base.
- The batter tries to hit the pitched ball with the bat.
- If the ball is hit within the field boundaries and not caught by the fielding team, the batter becomes a “runner.”
- Once a batter becomes a runner, they must run to first base and touch it safely.
- Runners can advance to the next base if they think they can reach it safely.
- If a runner reaches home plate, they score a run for the team.
- The fielding team tries to catch the ball when it’s hit and throw it back to the pitcher or the bases to get runners out.
- If a fielder catches the ball before it touches the ground, the batter is out.
- If a runner is tagged with the ball while not touching a base, they are out.
Each time a runner safely crosses home plate, their team scores one run.
Let’s explain the Scoring in-depth so that you can understand it better.
- If a batter hits the ball in the area between the batter’s box (where the batter stands) and the single markers on the foul line, and the ball is not caught by the fielders, it’s called a single.
- A single earns the batter 1 imaginary base.
- If there are runners on the bases, they advance one base each on a single.
- If a batter hits the ball between the single markers and the double markers on the foul line, and the ball is not caught, it’s called a double.
- A double earns the batter 2 imaginary bases.
- Runners on the bases advance two bases each on a double.
- If a batter hits the ball between the double markers and the triple markers on the foul line, and the ball is not caught, it’s called a triple.
- A triple earns the batter 3 imaginary bases.
- Runners on the bases score on a triple, meaning they advance all the way to home plate and score a run for their team.
- Home Run:
- If a batter hits the ball past the triple markers and the ball is not caught, it’s called a home run.
- A home run is the most valuable hit, and the batter and any runners on base automatically score 1 point each for their team.
- Let’s say the first batter hits a single, which means they get to the imaginary first base.
- The next batter also hits a single, and now there are imaginary runners on first and second bases.
- Then, the third batter hits a home run! This means the imaginary runners on first and second bases, along with the batter, all score, resulting in 3 runs for the team.
- A single moves the batter one base forward.
- A double moves the batter two bases forward.
- A triple moves the batter three bases forward.
- A home run is the most valuable hit, and everyone on the bases, along with the batter, scores a run.
- A batter is out if the ball is caught before it touches the ground.
- A runner is out if they are tagged with the ball while not on a base.
- A runner must stay on the bases; if they overrun a base and are tagged before getting back, they are out.
To win a game of Wiffle Ball, your team needs to score more runs than the opposing team.
- Sarah is the pitcher, and John is the batter.
- Sarah pitches the ball, and John swings, hitting the ball into the field.
- The ball bounces once and rolls past the fielders into the grass.
- John starts running towards first base while Sarah’s team tries to retrieve the ball.
- John reaches first base safely, and now he’s a runner.
- The next batter, Emily, hits the ball into the outfield.
- John runs to second base and manages to touch it before the fielding team throws the ball to the base.
- Emily reaches first base safely as well, and now both John and Emily are runners on the bases.
General Rules of the Wiffle Ball League:
- Reporting the Score: After each game, the winning team’s captain is responsible for reporting the official score to the league.
- Coin Toss: Before the game starts, a coin toss will decide which team gets to be the home team. The home team bats last, which can be an advantage in the game.
- Playing All Scheduled Games: All teams must play all their scheduled games. If a team doesn’t show up for a game without a valid reason, they will lose the game by forfeit.
- Adhering to Rules: All teams and players must follow the rules of the league. If any team or player breaks the rules, they may be ejected from the game or the entire league.
- Using Baseball Rules: If a rule is not mentioned in the league’s specific rules, regular Major League Baseball rules will be followed.
- Games Played Regardless of Weather: Games will be played in any weather condition, whether it’s sunny or rainy. So, be prepared for some fun, rain or shine!
- No Alcohol: For the safety and enjoyment of everyone, alcoholic beverages are not allowed at the league. Please refrain from bringing any alcoholic drinks to the games.
Official wiffle ball rules vs kids rules: is there any difference?
Yes, there can be differences between official Wiffle Ball rules and “kids rules” or informal rules that are often used when playing the game casually among children or in a more relaxed setting. These differences typically arise due to the desire to make the game more accessible, enjoyable, and safe for young players.
Here are some common distinctions:
|Aspect||Official Wiffle Ball Rules||Kids’ Rules / Casual Play|
|Pitching Style||Underhand pitching||Underhand or Overhand|
|Number of Players||3 to 5 players per team||Flexible player count per team|
|Baserunning Rules||Traditional baseball rules||Simplified baserunning rules|
|Scoring and Outs||Specific scoring and out rules||More relaxed scoring and out rules|
|Game Length||Defined innings or time limits||Flexible game duration|
|Equipment||Official Wiffle Ball and bat||Any suitable plastic ball and bat|
|Sportsmanship||Emphasis on fair play and competition||Emphasis on learning, fun, and inclusion|
Can you throw the ball in a wiffle ball?
Yes, you can throw the ball to make defensive plays or to return the ball to the pitcher after a play. However, the throwing style is typically not the same as in baseball or other traditional ball sports.
Players use a gentle and controlled throwing motion, often referred to as “tossing” or “flipping” the ball. The common technique is an underhand toss, similar to how a pitcher delivers the ball to the batter.
This underhand toss helps to control the flight of the lightweight Wiffle Ball and makes it easier for fielders to catch and handle the ball.
The gentle throwing style is one of the reasons why Wiffle Ball is a popular backyard game and can be played in smaller spaces.
How many strikes are in a wiffle ball?
In some games, players may use a 3-strike count, where the batter is out if they swing and miss or fail to hit a fair ball after three pitches. Other games might use a 4-strike count or even decide to have no set limit on strikes, allowing the batter to keep hitting until they make an out.
In traditional Wiffle Ball games, the number of strikes is not standardized like in baseball. The strike count can vary depending on the players’ preferences and the specific rules they choose to follow.
Since Wiffle Ball is often played casually or informally, players may agree on the number of strikes before the game begins to suit their skill level and enjoyment.
What is the strike zone in Wiffle Ball?
The strike zone in Wiffle Ball is a rectangular area that the pitcher aims for when throwing the ball. It is 32 inches high, 22 inches wide, and stands 12 inches off the ground.
How many strikes does a batter get in Wiffle Ball?
A batter in Wiffle Ball typically gets three strikes. If they swing and miss the ball, the pitch is called a strike. A foul ball or a pitch that hits the strike zone also counts as a strike.
Can fielders catch fly balls for outs in Wiffle Ball?
Yes, any fly ball caught in the air by a fielder is considered an out in Wiffle Ball. However, there is no “infield fly rule” that automatically results in double plays with runners on base.
Are there any restrictions on bunting in Wiffle Ball?
Yes, in Wiffle Ball, bunting is not allowed. There is usually a no-bunt line about 8 feet from home plate, and any bunted ball that does not cross the line is ruled foul.
How many players are allowed on the field in Wiffle Ball?
In Wiffle Ball, a team can have up to five players batting, but only three players are allowed to be in the field at the same time—one pitcher and two fielders.
Can players substitute during a Wiffle Ball game?
Yes, substitutions for fielders and batters can only be made in-between innings, unless there’s an injury during the game.
What happens if a ground ball is bobbled by a fielder before the singles line?
If a ground ball is bobbled by a fielder in front of the singles line, it will be ruled a single, and the batter is safe.
Are there any restrictions on alcoholic beverages during Wiffle Ball games?
No, alcoholic beverages are not permitted at Wiffle Ball games to ensure the safety and enjoyment of all players.
Is there a specific speed limit for pitches in Wiffle Ball?
Yes, in some versions of Wiffle Ball, there may be a speed limit enforced using a radar gun and umpire. The speed limit, if any, is typically displayed on an LED display.
How is scoring determined in Wiffle Ball?
Scoring in Wiffle Ball is based on where the ball is hit and how runners advance around the bases. Singles, doubles, triples, and home runs are scored based on where the ball lands in the field and whether it’s caught by fielders.
What happens if a batter hits a ground ball that stops completely before being fielded?
If a ground ball comes to a complete stop before being fielded by a player, it is considered a hit, and the batter is safe.
Can runners attempt to score on a caught fly ball with no outs?
No, in Wiffle Ball, runners are not allowed to tag up and attempt to score on a caught fly ball, even if there are no outs.
What is the maximum number of innings in a Wiffle Ball game?
The number of innings in a Wiffle Ball game can vary depending on the agreed-upon rules. Commonly, games are played with three innings, but this may be adjusted based on time or player preferences.
Are there any special rules for double plays in Wiffle Ball?
Yes, in Wiffle Ball, fielders can attempt a double play if there are no outs and a runner on first base. To complete a double play, a fielder must field an infield ground ball cleanly (no bobbles and before the singles line) and then make a throw that hits the strike zone in a continuous motion.
How are runs scored in Wiffle Ball?
Runs are scored in Wiffle Ball when a runner successfully touches each base in order (first, second, third, and home plate) without being tagged out. Each time a runner crosses home plate, their team scores one run.
Can a batter run after hitting a fair ball if it bounces over the outfield fence?
No, if a batter hits a fair ball that bounces over the outfield fence, it is considered a ground-rule double, and the batter is awarded two bases.
Can a batter advance to second base on a single hit to the outfield?
No, in Wiffle Ball, a batter is limited to one base on a single hit, regardless of whether it reaches the outfield or not.
What happens if a ground ball is fielded cleanly beyond the singles line?
If a ground ball is fielded cleanly by a player beyond the singles line, the batter is out.
Can a pitcher be replaced during an inning?
In most games, a pitcher must face one complete batter before being replaced. After finishing with one batter, a substitution can be made if needed.
Are there any restrictions on baserunners stealing or leading off bases?
Yes, in Wiffle Ball, baserunners are not allowed to steal or lead off bases. They must wait until the pitcher releases the ball before attempting to advance to the next base.