The Sport of Wiffle Ball
Wiffle ball, another fun backyard game that most softball or baseball players likely played when they were growing up. Wiffle ball originated in 1953 when a U.S. man invented a plastic lightweight ball with holes in it so it’d flow differently throughout the air. The term “whiff” came from the man’s son, and refers to a hard swing and miss that often happens during a game.
How to play Wiffle Ball?
The overall object of the game is very similar to softball and baseball -- score as many runs as you can in a set amount of innings. However, because of the fun nature of the game, some leagues allow for draws.
Equipment for a wiffle ball game is minimal. Teams just need a regulation wiffle ball (perhaps bring more in case some get lost) and a plastic bat. Some leagues have an aluminum plate in place of a catcher to signal the strike zone. The loud noise from aluminum makes it easier to “hear” a strike.
Rules of Wiffle Ball
- Each wiffle ball team can have anywhere from 2 to 5 players. There must always be a pitcher and at least one fielder.
- Before a game starts, teams will agree on how many innings will be played or a time limit to be set. Games are usually 6 innings or one hour.
- The field is triangularly shaped and is usually played on natural grass or turf. The field also features different zones. For example, a single starts at 45 feet out, a double 55 feet, a triple 65 feet, and a home run is 85 feet and beyond (or if goes over a fence).
- If there’s a full team on the field, players can only field within their respective zone. The ball must drop in the zone to be considered a single, double, triple, etc.
- Outs are recorded if the ball is caught or if a player strikes out. Like baseball and softball, three strikes equals an out.
- Unlike baseball and softball, there are no free bases in wiffle ball. This means no ball fours or no hit by pitches. This is to keep the pace of play up.
- Players cannot steal bases in wiffle ball. They can only advance based off of the result from the batter.
- If you’re in a league that has no ties, than innings will be tacked on at the end of the game until a winner emerges.
In more competitive leagues, you’ll probably see a lot of strikeouts in one game. This is because higher level pitchers are able to manipulate the ball in ways that allow for ridiculous curving, sliding, or rising action. Because a wiffle ball only has holes on one half, the surface area isn’t the same on the other half. Physics allow the ball to break towards the half with holes in it.
Written by: Devin Pickell