Hitchhiker’s Teeball is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike teeball.
Now that we’ve got that over with, this game is somewhat akin to netball. It seems to work well both indoors and outdoors.
- A rectangular space, free of chairs, Bibles, mushrooms, toddlers, and other trip hazards. As always, safety first.
- Masking Tape (indoor) or cones (outdoor)
- A soft ball [Importantly, not a softball. The space in that phrase punches well above its usual semantic weight.]
Use the masking tape/cones to mark out a pair of end zones and a scoring zone:
+---+---------------------------------+---+ | E | | E | | n | | n | | d | | d | | | | | | Z | | Z | | o | +-------+ | o | | n | | Score | | n | | e | | zone | | e | +---+---------------------------------+---+
Divide youth into two teams, using your favorite team division methodology. If in doubt, you could always try King Solomon’s method. In my experience, it’s usually pretty divisive.
- Each team starts in their end zone.
- A player is ‘controlling’ the ball when they have caught it, or are holding it.
- When a player is controlling the ball, nobody is allowed to move their feet. So whilst someone is holding the ball, everybody must stop moving.
- Players throw the ball to other players on their team. Whilst it’s in the air, everyone can move.
- If the ball is dropped, it’s a turnover, and the other team plays on from where it landed.
- To score a goal, a team must catch the ball in the opposite endzone (i.e., not the one they started in). Then, they must catch the ball inside the scoring zone, with at most one intermediate pass. That is, the ball must either go from the end zone -> scoring zone directly, or end zone -> player -> scoring zone. If this chain is broken at any point, no goal is scored. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars. However, the team retains possession, and can attempt to score again.
- Special Scoring Zone rule:
- Only one player from each team is allowed inside the scoring zone when a goal is scored.
- If a team scores with two of its own players inside the zone, the goal is disallowed.
- If a team scores with two opposing players in the zone, it’s a point as normal.
- If a team fails to score (shot is dropped, etc) with two opposing players in the zone, a penalty goal is awarded to that team.
- If both teams have too many players, no score, no foul. Continue playing.
- Once a goal is scored, the teams return to their endzones, and play restarts. The ball should start with the team that lost the previous round.
- The team with the most points at the end of the game wins
If you’ve got a larger group, try playing rounds with less than the full team. This also gives a breather for some of the less athletic team members. The tactics required change as the number of players on the field change.
If you have a particularly overcompetitive group [Not that we do. Oh no. Perfect little angels, every last one.], it may be helpful to add a ‘personal space’ rule. That is, nobody is allowed with 1 metre (or so) of the person with the ball.
If there’s not many people, you can allow players to throw to themselves. You will probably want to limit the number of consecutive times they can do this; one is usually enough for our group.
This game requires players to work as a team, and plan ahead. There’s not much point getting to the end zone if you have nobody near the scoring zone. This will take some getting used to.
If there is a turnover, nobody is controlling the ball until it gets picked up. This means everyone can move freely. The more tactically minded player might use this to their advantage by not picking up the ball until their team has repositioned.