Footbag Cricket is a footbag game that originated in Montgomery County, Maryland (USA). It has reached widespread popularity in many high schools and colleges since its inception. Footbag Cricket is, as the name implies, a combination of cricket and footbag. The game also incorporates rules from American Baseball and Dodgeball. Due to this mix, it features very unique rules.
Footbag Cricket is played with two teams of two players each. Like in cricket, one team is “at bat” and the other is “fielding”. Traditionally, Footbag Cricket is played indoors, but it can be played on any hard surface, including streets, blacktops, or basketball courts. Ideally, a Footbag Cricket field should be approximately 20ft wide by 50ft long. The field consists of two “bases”, which can be baseball bases or any other improvised marker. These bases are placed 15 feet apart from each other, centered and extending along the longer axis of the field.
The players of the at-bat team stand on the bases. On the fielding players is designated as pitcher, the other as fielder. The pitcher stands at least 5ft behind one of the bases, and pitches to the further one. A pitch must be launched only using the feet, with either a kick or a footbag serve. The batters may choose to either return the pitch or let it pass them. If they choose to return the pitch, the arms (from the shoulder down) or hands may not be used. Regardless of the batters’ choice to return the pitch, they must also choose whether to run. A run consists of each batter running to the opposite base. This constitutes one point. If the batters choose to run, the fielders attempt to retrieve the footbag and through it at the runners. Throws to the head are often frowned upon, but still legal. If the fielders hit one of the runners while the runner is off a base, or if there are two runners on the same base, one “out” is issued. After two outs the teams switch. After both teams have played each role, one “inning” has passed. Games can be played for any period of time, but commonly used lengths are: 2 innings, 5 innings, and 7 innings.
- At any point in time, if a player is off the base, he or she may be tagged out by coming into contact with the footbag.
- A player who is up to bat does not have to hit the ball when served, however; a delay of game foul may be called if it is determined that the player is intentionally holding up the game. This call results in one out for the team at fault
- A footbag caught after being kicked by the team at-bat results in an “out”. A double play may be made if the footbag is caught, and then the second player is tagged out before safely reaching the base.
- Double hits are permitted, but only if batter does not have to leave the base to do it. For example, a bump off the chest followed by a kick is permitted; however, kicking the footbag while running is not permitted.
- A serve that rolls on the ground is still in play, and the batter is permitted to hit the footbag unless the fielding team touches it first.
- The person who is not on the base designated for batting cannot under any circumstances, short of giving the footbag to the pitcher, interfere with the footbag. If it is determined that a player who is not batting handled the footbag with malicious intent, they will receive an “out”.
- Full contact is frowned upon, however it is allowed.
- A wicket, while not necessary for play, is encouraged to be present. If the wicket is knocked over for any reason, the player is deemed out.
- The serve must come from at the least 5 feet behind the far base.
- A serve is ruled invalid if the hands are used in any way to help propel the footbag.
- Other regional rules may exist, and are to be treated as such. For example, in New York, it is customary for the two players to always run to the right, to avoid collision. Because of this, it has been adopted so that a player must curve to the right when they run, or else they may receive a warning. The second time this rule is broken, the violating team receives an out. Also, in Pennsylvania, if the wicket is knocked down, the whole team is out and the opposing team is put up to bat. This makes for quicker, more fast-paced play.