Family Friendly Rules and Styles
Has its own rules and modifications so that family members of different ages and abilities can enjoy playing together.
Modified Baseball/Softball Rules
You will want to modify baseball rules and equipment when playing with young, inexperienced and even elderly family members and neighbors.
In families there often are not enough people for two teams and all the positions. So rotate the players through the positions that are absolutely necessary.
Eliminate the pitcher by using a Hitting Tee. Allow a young pitcher to have 10 balls before a runner is walked to first base. Allow a young batter to have 10 strikes. Adjust the handicap to be fair to each player.
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A chair could stand in for a catcher. The batter retrieves his own missed balls. If a home run is likely, one of the other players leaves her position and becomes the catcher.
In a pinch, old seat cushions make decent bases. In organized youth baseball the bases are 60 feet apart and the pitching mount 40-50 feed from home plate. This may be too far for very young players. Just be sure the pitcher is a safe distance from the batter.
Winter gloves may take some of the sting out of catching balls.
Use a White Poly Baseball, especially if playing near cars or windows, or playing without gloves. Tennis balls make the game “bouncier” than normal. If you are playing with tennis balls, you may want to “bat” with a tennis racket, too.
Prohibit stealing and base leading when any player is under 11 years old. Runners need to wait until the ball is hit before running bases. If a ball is overthrown, runners may only advance one base.
For casual play, if there is a concern for head injury and a hard ball is being used, use whatever helmets you can find. These days most kids have bicycle helmets.
When I was a kid, my neighborhood friends and I would play at the end of a cul de sac. We just drew the bases with chalk. Our only fear was losing the ball in the neighbor’s ivy. Sometimes a player would fall and skin their knee. That was life. If you didn’t have a park nearby, that’s what kids did!
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