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How to play team sports

Updated: Oct 27, 2022

Key Points:

  1. For any team sport, the rule is relatively easier, but the skills and techniques, the vision and team spirit, are the most difficult to learn and need lots of thinking and practices. If you are interested in a team sport, you need some formal training instead of just reading a guide.

  2. WikiHow has many articles talking about team sport, but each standalone article can't form a solid and comprehensive solution. Therefore, we have rewritten and integrated several articles together to create a better version. However, this is still just a summary of learning the rules instead of practical strategies.

According to Wikipedia, "A team sport includes any sport where individuals are organized into opposing teams which compete to win. Team members act together towards a shared objective. This can be done in a number of ways such as outscoring the opposing team."

The world most popular team sports include: Soccer, Cricket, Basketball, Baseball, American Football, Hockey and Volleyball. Those are also very good socialization topics. If you understand the rules, you can either join the games or watch tournaments.

Here we quote the best ways to learn team sports provided by wikiHow, a wiki that is building the world's largest and highest quality how-to manual. Please edit the articles and find author credits at the original wikiHow articles on How to Play Soccer, How to Play Cricket, How to Play Basketball, How to Play Baseball, How to Play American Football, How to Play Hockey, How to Play Volleyball. Content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons License.

According to Wikipedia, "A team sport includes any sport where individuals are organized into opposing teams which compete to win. Team members act together towards a shared objective. This can be done in a number of ways such as outscoring the opposing team. Team members set goals, make decisions, communicate, manage conflict, and solve problems in a supportive, trusting atmosphere in order to accomplish their objectives. "

Part 1: How to Play Soccer

  1. Soccer (football) is a fun, competitive game and the most widely-played sport in the world. It’s sometimes called "the beautiful game" because of its dazzling mixture of technical skill, team play, and individual contribution. If you're interested in playing soccer, take some time to learn about the basic rules and practice the most essential techniques. Train hard, have fun, and always keep a soccer ball at your feet!

  2. Building Essential Skills. Practice dribbling the ball. Dribbling is controlling the ball while running. If you want to keep the ball in your team's possession, you're going to need to dribble well. Dribbling is all about touching the ball strong enough to carry it forward, but light enough so that it stays at your feet. Work on your passing skills. Passing is all about putting the ball exactly where you want it. In order to pass a soccer ball, kick the ball using the inside of your foot. This will give you less power but more accuracy. Once you master the basic pass, you can then try to slice and hook the ball in order to pass it to one of your teammates. Hone your shooting skills. If you're really close to the goal and all you need is accuracy, you can shoot using the sweet spot of the inside of your foot, like a pass. Normally, though, you're going to be farther away and will need power as well as accuracy. Build your skills as a defender. Defending the goal from an opposing attacker is an underrated achievement. There are 3 basic things that you need to remember when guarding a player in soccer: Don’t be fooled if your opponent starts and stops with the ball, fakes one way before heading the other, or tries other feints, tricks, or jukes. Instead, keep your eye on the ball at all times. Stay in between the ball and the goal. In other words, don't let the ball get behind you. Right after an attacker hits the ball on the dribble—that's the time when you should step in and either tackle or kick the ball toward an open teammate. This is called anticipating the dribble, and it's essential for knocking the ball from an attacking player.

  3. Playing According to the Rules. Understand the object of the game. You win a soccer match by scoring more goals than the opponent scores. A goal is scored when the whole ball passes the opponent’s goal line within the net area. Goalies, when in their own penalty area, are the only players on the field (also called a pitch) who can use their arms or hands. All other players may use any part of their bodies except their arms and hands. A regulation game (also called a match) is typically 90 minutes long, made up of 2 halves of 45 minutes each. Recognize the positions in soccer. There are 11 total players (per team) on the field to start the game. Although the positions can be rearranged however the coach sees fit, there are usually 4 defenders, 4 midfielders, 2 strikers, and 1 goalie. Note that kickoffs start the game and the beginning of the second half. At the time of kickoff, each team's players need to be entirely on their own half of the field and the opposition must not be within the center circle as the 10-yard mandatory distance on a restart. Once the whistle has blown and the ball is kicked, the laws allow it to go backwards or forwards, the players can move freely into both halves of play. Learn when and how to do throw-ins. Throw-ins happen when the ball goes completely over 1 of the 2 touchlines. Possession goes to the team who wasn't the last to touch it. This team gets to throw the ball in from the place where it went out of bounds. Recognize the difference between a corner kick and a goal kick. If the ball goes over the goal line (but not into the goal) and was last touched by the defending team, the ball goes to the closest goal line corner and becomes a corner kick, with possession going to the attacking team. Recognize when a player is offside. Offside is one of the more crucial rules in soccer, and it's designed to keep soccer teams from cherry-picking, or packing the 18-yard penalty area with players. A player is determined to be in an offside position when all of the following are true: at the time of a teammate's touch of the ball, they are ahead of the ball, in the opponent’s half, and closer to the opposing goal line then the second last opponent (note the keeper is but 1 of 11 opponents; though he is often one of the two last defenders, this is not always the case). Identify the difference between a direct free kick and an indirect free kick. A direct free kick is when you can kick the ball directly into the goal for a score without the ball touching another player first. An indirect free kick must be touched by another player before counting as a score. Recognize that only a DFK (direct free kick) foul inside the 18-yard penalty area results in a penalty kick. A penalty kick happens when a defender fouls an opponent in his or her own 18-yard (or penalty) box. All other players except the goalie and the player taking the penalty kick line up outside the penalty area behind the PA spot. The goalie must have part of both feet on the goal line and cannot move off of it before the ball is kicked. Know the grounds for a caution for which a yellow card is shown. A referee issues a caution and shows a yellow card, both as a warning to the player and as a lesson for all other players as to what is not tolerated or unacceptable behavior. Two yellow cards result in a red card, after which that player must leave the game permanently. Note that both yellow and red cards accumulate throughout the season. Understand the grounds for a red card. A player is sent off and shown the red card, his team reduced by a player, if he performs any foul in an excessive, unsafe or violent manner whereby the safety of the opponent is compromised. A red card will also result if a player receives 2 cautions in the match.

  4. Advancing Your Skills and Style. Think about moving off the ball. Some estimates say that professional soccer players run 6 to 8 miles (9.7 to 12.9 km) during a 90-minute game. That's a lot of running, and you’ll do most of it when you don't have the ball. Learn how to get into open space, how to run to where to your teammate expects or wants you to be, and how to run past a defender who's guarding you. Get comfortable heading the ball, if permitted or desired. Try hitting the ball with your head right where your hair meets your forehead. Do not use the top of your head! When getting ready to head the ball, don't lift your head back; move your upper torso back instead. This will give you more power and won't strain your neck as much. You have to hit the ball, not let the ball hit you. Practice juggling the ball with your feet and body. Juggling involves receiving and controlling a ball from the air with some combination of your head, shoulders, chest, legs, and feet. You probably won't need to juggle frequently in a game, but it’s a very important skill to develop as it helps you develop your touch and control. Work on using your non-dominant foot well. It's really important to be able to dribble, pass, and shoot the ball with your non-dominant foot. Good defenders will take away your dominant foot and force you to play with your non-dominant foot. If you can't use your non-dominant foot, you'll be playing at a clear disadvantage. Practice taking corner kicks and free kicks. You want to be able to send corner kicks right to the middle of the penalty area, usually up in the air so that a teammate can head or kick the ball in. Free kicks can either be taken quickly and simply passed to a nearby teammate, or you can organize a "set play" in which you kick the ball in a certain area while your teammates execute a play. Be original and spontaneous with your playing style. Try to develop your own playing style, one that suits you. Are you a tricky player who relies on juking out other players? Are you fast enough to beat everyone with sheer speed? Are you great at using your body and power to blast goals? Are you an expert at keeping opponents from getting off shots?

Part 2: How to Play Cricket

  1. Cricket is one of the most popular games in the world, with billions of fans in the Subcontinent, the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries. Whether you've always wanted to play yourself, or just live somewhere (such as America) where cricket is less common, if you are curious to learn more about it, read the steps below to learn the basics of playing cricket.

  2. Things You Should Know. Set up for a game of cricket on a large, oval-shaped field and set up 3 stakes (called wickets) on the pitch. Bowl the ball over your shoulder using a completely straight arm. The ball is allowed to bounce once before reaching the striker, but it doesn't have to. Score runs by hitting the ball with your cricket bat and running from one end of the pitch to the other. The 11-person team with more points wins.

  3. Setting up. Acquire equipment. Cricket requires a few pieces of specialized equipment to play with safety. At the bare minimum, 6 stumps, 4 bails, 2 cricket bats and 1 ball are required. These days, all teams have uniforms, but ya but ya but ya but in the olden days, all uniforms were white. However, white uniforms are sometimes used in test matches these days. Learn about the cricket field. Cricket is played on a large, oval-shaped field. The field has a rectangular strip in the center, which is called the pitch. A boundary line should be clearly marked all around the outside edge of the field. Mark creases. Areas of the pitch are divided into segments by lines called "creases." There are 4 creases: The popping crease, which is also sometimes called the batting crease, marks the boundary beyond which the batter is no longer safe from being run out (taken out of play by the fielding, or defending, team). The 2 return creases run parallel to the long edges of the pitch, one on each side, back from the popping crease to the end of the pitch. The bowling crease runs parallel to the popping crease between the 2 return creases, dividing the area behind the popping crease into 2 rectangular sections. The bowler must stand at or behind the bowling crease before they bowl. Each end of the pitch is marked off with creases, leaving a rectangle of open space between them on the center of the pitch. Aside from the boundary marker, the rest of the cricket field is not marked. Set up wickets. A wicket is a structure made from 3 stakes, called stumps, driven into the ground, with 2 cross pieces called bails set on grooves between each pair of them (left-center and center-right). In most cases, a batsman whose wicket loses a bail from being struck with the ball, is out, so defending the wickets is an important part of offensive play.

  4. Understanding Concepts and Rules. Recognize the goal of the game. As in most field games, the goal of cricket is to score points, called runs, against the opposing team by running from one point to another before the play can be ended or you're run out by the defenders, who are called the "fielding team." The team at bat is called the "batting team." Learn the basics of gameplay. Each team in cricket is comprised of 11 players (though an alternate twelfth player may be held in reserve in case of injury, but is not otherwise used for anything). At any given time, the fielding team has all 11 players on the field, whereas the batting team has 2, called the batsmen. The batsmen try to hit the ball after it is bowled by the bowler for the fielding team, and then switch positions without getting an out to score runs. All of the positions on the pitch have official names. The person who bowls the ball is the bowler, and the batsman who is facing the bowler is called the striker. The other batsman, who stands near the bowler at the far side of the pitch from the striker, is called the non-striker. Finally, the fielding team member who stands behind the wickets at the striker's end of the field is called the wicket-keeper. Other positions in the field have colloquial names, but none are official. Understand the structure. Cricket, much like baseball, uses specialized terms to describe each section of the game. Depending on the length of the game to be played, the number of innings varies between 1 and 2 per team. Each innings (the word "innings" is used both singular and plural) can contain any number of "overs," which are sets of bowls. Every time the bowler bowls the ball, whether or not it is hit by the striker, a tally is counted. Once a bowler has bowled the ball 6 times in one direction, an "over" is declared. At the over, the bowler must be replaced with a new bowler. Bowlers can't bowl consecutive overs, but they can rotate back in after at least 1 bowl from another bowler, so theoretically 2 bowlers could trade off bowling for the entire innings. When there's an over, the position of the bowler changes from one end of the pitch to the other. Any time a batsman is declared out, they must leave the field and be replaced by a teammate. If the fielding team manages to score 10 outs in an innings, the innings is over, as there are no more batsmen to fill in the second spot on the pitch. Recognize the importance of the wickets. Wickets are a central part of cricket. One of the chief ways to out a batsman is to knock 1 or both of the bails off of his wicket with the ball, which is called "breaking" the wicket. There are several conditions under which this will result in an out: If the bowler manages to directly hit the striker's wicket on a bowl and break it, the striker is considered out "bowled." If a batsman is outside either popping crease on the pitch, the bowler may break their wicket, either by hitting it with the ball in their hand, or by hitting it with the ball directly. In this case, the batsman is said to have been "run out." Since non-strikers often leave the popping crease as the bowler is about to bowl (in much the same way that baseball players edge away from bases in anticipation of a run to the next base), the bowler can out the non-striker by stopping the bowl and breaking the wicket before he returns to the crease. This is also considered a run out. If the striker misses the ball while attempting to hit it, and steps outside the popping crease, the wicket-keeper can break his wicket by catching the bowl cleanly and striking the wicket with the ball, resulting in an out. This type of out is called being "stumped." If the striker intentionally uses any part of their body to block the ball from hitting the wicket, they are out "leg before wicket." This is usually abbreviated LBW. If the striker hits their own wicket by accident and breaks it, they are out "hit wicket." Hit wicket outs happen no matter what struck the wicket, but only happen if the striker was attempting to hit the ball, or has hit the ball and is attempting to run to the other end of the pitch. On the other hand, if the striker has hit the ball and it directly flies into the non-striker's wicket, the non-striker isn't out. The bowler can still pick up the ball and redirect it at the non-striker's wicket to run him out. Learn the other ways to out a batsman. In addition to the wicket, there are several other ways to out a batsman. Some of them are very common, while others happen rarely, if ever, at higher levels of play. Some of the more technical outs can only be decided by umpires, of which there are always 2 (and sometimes 3) on the field at any given time. Understand extra runs. There are a few conditions under which extra runs can be awarded. These are noted as such for purposes of calculating player averages, but are otherwise identical to any other type of run for the purpose of determining a winner.

  5. Playing the Game. Set up the pitch. One batsman stands at each end of the pitch, behind the popping crease but ahead of the bowling crease. The bowler also stands at one end of the crease, starting behind the bowling crease, and bowls to the other end. The batsman to whom the bowler bowls is the striker; the batsman at the same end as the bowler is the non-striker. Bowl the ball. The bowler starts behind the bowling crease, and bowls the ball before reaching the popping crease by moving forward and throwing the ball. A cricket bowl is always performed over-the-shoulder, with a completely straight arm. The ball is allowed to bounce on the pitch once before reaching the striker, though it doesn't have to. Hit the ball and run. Using the flat side of the cricket bat, the striker can attempt to hit the ball. There are many different types of strike, each with a different advantage over the others. Once the striker has hit the ball, they and the non-striker can choose to run from end to end of the pitch, exchanging places. If both batsmen manage to run safely to the far side of the pitch, 1 run is declared, and 1 point is scored. If either batsman is declared out while trying to reach the far side of the pitch, no point is scored. Finish the game. Play according to whatever type of game you've chosen until the appropriate number of innings has been reached. The team with the highest number of runs is the winner.

Part 3: How to Play Basketball

  1. Originally invented as a way of keeping students busy during the cold winter months, basketball was invented by James Naismith in 1891. The first game was played by shooting a ball into a peach basket nailed to a railing, and the ball had to be retrieved with a long dowel after each successful shot. Fast-forward through the decades and names like Jordan, Shaq, Kobe, and LeBron are almost immortal. Basketball is one of the most entertaining, challenging, and exciting sports in the world. You can learn the basic rules and the fundamental skills necessary to play.

  2. Learning the Rules. Get a ball and a hoop. All you need to play basketball is a ball of the appropriate size and a net that it fits through, set at a challenging-enough height. The specific requirements for regulation basketball are included below, but the history of basketball is the history of making do with what you have. The first basketball hoop was a peach crate nailed to a railing. Use empty boxes, soccer balls, or whatever is available if you don’t have access to a hoop. Break into two teams. For a full-court game, basketball is played by two teams of five players each.[4]While it's also common to play half-court ball with teams of three, however many people you've got playing, it's important to have an even number of players on each team. Alternate basketball games for uneven numbers are included in the last section. Score points by shooting the ball through the hoop. In basketball, an offensive player can score between one and three points with a shot, depending on where the shot is taken on the floor. Extending in a half-circle, about 20 feet (6.1 m) from the hoop on most courts, should be the "three-point line," beyond which shots are worth an extra point. Inside that arc, all shots are worth two points. Move the ball by dribbling or passing. When you have the ball, you have to either be stationary, with one foot planted on the floor to pivot from, or you have to be dribbling the ball, bouncing it up and down on the floor. When you're planted, you can pivot around on one foot, but that foot has to remain planted if you're not dribbling. You can still jump to shoot or pass, but when you come back down you need to have gotten rid of the ball.

  3. Dribbling and Passing. Stand correctly. If you've got control of the ball on offense, you need to crouch in a low position to guard and protect the ball while you dribble. In a proper dribbling stance, you should be crouched, knees flexed and shoulder-width apart, standing on the balls of your feet. Bounce the ball with your fingertips. To control the ball properly and control is securely, it's important to dribble with your fingertips, not the palm of your hand. When beginners first touch the basketball, it's common to slap or chop at it with the palm of the hand, rather than gripping and pushing with the fingertips. With some practice, you'll be able to get a good feel for how much force to put on the ball to get it to pop right back to your hand. Try to keep the ball about waist-high. It's difficult to control the ball at first, and beginning players have a hard time keeping it down and controlled without looking at it constantly. But practice dribbling as low to the ground as is comfortable. Dribbles that come all the way up to your chest are easy for defenders to pick off. Try to keep it at your waist, no higher. Keep your head up. If there's one thing coaches will harp on when you're learning to ball, it's this. As you're learning to play, it's critical to keep your head up and look around, instead of looking straight down at the ball as you bounce it. Good ball players can see their teammates, opponents, and the hoop at the same time. Practice dribbling without looking at the ball and your skills will improve immensely. It's hard to know where to go and where to pass when you've got your eyes locked on your sneakers. Start moving, when you're ready. Basketball isn't played from a standing position most of the time, so it's important to start dribbling on the move. Start by walking as you dribble, at a comfortable lope. When you're comfortable dribbling and walking, start jogging, and eventually start trying to do short sprints while you dribble. Don't worry about going super-fast, just worry about controlling the ball. Practice dribbling with both hands. When you start learning to dribble, it'll be most comfortable to dribble with your dominant hand, the hand that you use to write. Unless you want to always go to one side, though–which will make you a very predictable ball player–you'll need to diversify your ball-handling skills. Practice making different kinds of passes. Don't listen to the ball hogs: a great pass is always better than a mediocre shot. Learning to make crisp and accurate passes is an essential part of the basketball game. You should get comfortable making passes that go straight to your teammate without making them move for it.

  4. Shooting. Square up with the basket each time you shoot. Every time you want to shoot, it's important to "square up," which means you need to point both sets of toes so they're pointing straight at the hoop, then align your hips so you're aiming your front-side parallel with the hoop. Your shots will be more accurate when you square up, if you're following the correct fundamental techniques for shooting. Balance the ball on your dominant hand. Your shooting hand is your dominant hand, the hand you write with and the hand it feels most comfortable to dribble with. Keep your shooting elbow in tight to your hip, and keep the ball balanced on your finger-tips on the bottom of the basketball. Bring it up even with your chin and bend your knees, crouching. Roll the ball off your hand. When you've got the ball in the proper shooting position, extend your shooting elbow straight up and forward, rolling your wrist forward, as if you were trying to reach into a cookie jar on a high shelf. Continue extending your shooting arm, up and out, toward the hoop. Let the ball pop forward when your arm extends to the end, rolling backward as you release it. Keep following through with your hand, putting it in the cookie jar, after you've released the ball. Push off with your feet, jumping straight up. To get extra power from your shot, crouch down and pop up with your legs as you shoot. When your arm gets to the highest point, you should jump slightly, extending your legs and putting some extra power under the shot with your jump. Aim for getting the ball just over the rim and into the basket. Some coaches will tell you to try and get the ball just over the rim of the basket. However, trying to do that might lead to constantly hitting the rim and bouncing back at you. What you really want to do is go cleanly through the center of the rim. Practice lay-ups from both sides. Lay-ups are an important part of playing basketball and a great fundamental drill to learn. Good basketball players should have lay-ups locked down so well they'll never miss one in a game situation. it should be an easy two points. Shoot constantly, from everywhere. Shooting practice is a great way to get a little exercise and have some fun. Just shooting around is one of the best parts of basketball practice, so there's little excuse to skip it. Try shooting from all around the court, inside the key, from different angles. Dribble around while you shoot, so you're killing two birds with one stone. Practice shooting when you're tired, and when you're fresh.

  5. Playing Defense. Learn your role on defense. When you're playing defense, your goal is to keep your opponents from scoring. That means you need to disrupt passes, try to steal the ball if possible, and block shots. It's your job to be annoying, sticky, and disruptive to the other team's ability to pass and score points. Learn the correct defensive stance. Basketball isn't all about offense, and your game needs to be fluid on both sides of the ball. To learn to play sticky defense, learn to get low and get wide. Crouch, with your feet more than shoulder-width apart and put your arms straight out at your sides, extending and making yourself as wide as possible. Stand on the balls of your feet and make sideways movements to guard the player with the ball. Lock your eyes on the ball. Practice your side-to-side movements. The hardest thing about playing defense is staying in your defensive crouch and trying to stick to the offensive player like glue. It's hard to move side-to-side quickly, so the more experienced you are at doing the side-to-side shuffle step, the better a defensive player you'll be. Practice running sideways, taking a big step to the side in one direction, crossing your trailing foot just behind your lead foot, and pushing off again. Then, go back the other way. Practice this until your legs are sore. Stay on your feet as much as possible. Beginning basketball players often make a common mistake: jumping in the air too much. It's tempting to try to block your opponent's shot by jumping in the air with your arms outstretched every time it looks like they're going to shoot, but train yourself to keep your feet on the ground as much as possible. It's very easy to pump-fake, going up for a shot and pulling it back down as soon as you take off into the air, leaving you vulnerable and useless as a defender. Grab rebounds. Another essential part of playing defense is training yourself to grab the rebounds when they come. If your opponents have taken a shot that's failed, don't let them have a second chance for it. Post-up down by the basket and grab the ball when it bounces free. If it's up for grabs, be the one to grab it. Avoid fouls. While charging into a defender will earn you a foul on offense, most fouls that happen are called on the defense. In your attempts to be a disruptive presence on the court, you've also got to learn where the line is and avoid crossing it, or you're going to get a foul called.

  6. Playing Well. Learn the role of each position on the court. If you're on a basketball team, the major positions have specific rules and roles that govern each job. To improve your skills, it's a good idea to learn the specifics of each position and learn what place you might fill on the court. Centers are the big players who guard the hoop. Forwards are the second-biggest players on the court, physical enough to play defense and go down low, but dexterous enough to shoot from the outside. Guards are the architects of the offense. Practice your fundamentals to improve your skills. If you want to be a better basketball player, practice your fundamentals. Good dribbling, shooting, and defensive skills are the best way to spend time becoming a good player. Don't practice making behind-the-back passes, or lowering the hoop so you can practice your 360 dunks until you can shoot lay-ups from both hands, 10 times out of 10, and you can make 20 free throws in a row. Pass frequently and keep the ball moving. Good basketball teams can keep the ball moving at all times, keeping the defense off balance and on their heels. When your team has the ball, keep your passes quick and crisp to move the ball around and find an open lane to the hoop. Practice grabbing rebounds. One of the most unheralded basketball skills is the rebound. Because lots of shots miss, the ball will end up somewhere unpredictable, bouncing off in one direction or another, sometimes straight up in the air. When the ball goes wild, both teams have a chance for getting control of it, meaning that the ability to out-jump your opponents and grab it is very valuable. When you practice shooting, practice running up on the hoop to grab your own rebound, if possible. Learn to set picks for your teammates. As you learn to work as a team, you'll eventually want to start working out plays and formations, most of which involve some kind of pick and roll. Setting a pick means using your body as a barrier, for one of your teammates to run a defender up against. Most of the time, forwards will set picks for guards, though any player may set a pick on offense. Learn to make cuts. When your teammate has the ball, you need to move around. Don't just stand there flat-footed waiting for a pass! Make cuts under the hoop, Try to shake your defender, and get open. Give your team supporting options by moving around and staying fluid. Find open space and look for the open shot.

Part 4: How to Play Baseball

  1. Baseball is one of America's most beloved and iconic sports. For those new to the game, the rules can seem confusing and complicated. But once you understand how to set up the field, how to play offense, and how to play defense, you can join or start a baseball game of your own.

  2. Team Setup. Gather nine players. You will need at least nine people to be able to field a team for defense. It is possible to play with fewer people, but you'll need to expand each player's coverage on the field. This may make it difficult for players to reach the ball after it's hit though, so get as close to nine as possible. Assign the pitcher and catcher. The pitcher is the player who stands in the middle of the field and throws the ball to the batter. The catcher will be squatting just behind the batter at home plate to catch the ball if the batter doesn't hit it. Select the infielders. The players in the infield (or the diamond) protect the bases. There should be a player stationed at first, second, and third base, and they will be referred to as "basemen." Make a fourth player the shortstop, which is a roving position that backs up the the basemen and helps catch balls in the infield. Choose the outfielders. The three players in the outfield are the right fielder, center fielder, and left fielder. They're responsible for catching fly balls in the outfield and chasing down ground balls that make it past the infield.

  3. Field Setup. Place the bases on the field. There are four bases (first, second, third, and home plate), which are "safe spots" for runners during the game. They’re canvas or rubber-covered bags set up in a square, though it’s more commonly referred to as a diamond. Set up the pitcher’s mound. The pitcher stands on a mound of dirt in the center on the diamond, approximately 60 feet (18 meters) from home plate. On the mound, place a small rubber plate, where the pitcher will throw from. Paint the foul lines. A baseball that's hit and lands to the left of third base or the right of first base (as seen from home plate) is considered a "foul ball," which invalidates the play. The foul lines extend from home plate out to the first and third bases, and then beyond into the outfield. Paint the batter’s boxes. The batter stands either on the left side of home plate or the right side, depending on which is their dominant hand. Paint a 4-foot by 6-foot (1.2 meters by 1.8 meters) box on both sides of home plate. Paint the catcher’s box. Just behind home plate, paint a small box where the catcher and umpire (an impartial judge) will squat or stand and watch the ball after the pitcher throws it.

  4. Offensive Play. Send a batter to the plate. A batter will approach home plate and stand to the side of it in one of the batter’s boxes, waiting for the pitcher to throw the ball. Batters may take practice swings until the pitcher is ready to begin. During offensive play, all players act as batters, taking turns trying to hit the ball. Watch the ball as it’s pitched. The batter must try to predict whether the ball will be hittable. They can decide whether to swing and attempt to hit the ball, or to not swing, and allow the catcher behind them to catch it. If a legal hit is not made, the umpire will make one of three calls – a strike, a ball, or a foul ball. A "strike" is an indication that the batter either could have swung at the ball and didn't, or swung at the ball and missed. The batter is out on a third strike that is caught by the catcher. A "ball" happens when the pitcher pitches a ball that's too far outside the hitting area to be considered hittable by the batter and the batter did not swing at the pitch. After four balls, the batter "walks," which is a free advancement to first base. Batters will occasionally try to crowd the plate and earn a walk rather than hit the ball. A "foul ball" is a ball that the batter hits which lands outside the foul lines or goes into foul territory before reaching first or third base. The ball is then considered "dead," and all runners must return to their time-of-pitch base without any liability of being put out. Usually a foul ball just counts as a strike; however, in most cases, a foul does not count as a strike if there are already two strikes against the batter. Exceptions are if the batter foul-tips the ball into the catcher's glove or bunts it foul. Swing the bat. While standing with your feet parallel and knees slightly bent, hold the bat upright at the base with two hands. Swiftly bring it forward in a fluid motion, and at the same time, shift your weight from your back foot to your front foot. Don’t forget to keep your eye on the ball to increase your chances of making contact. Run the bases. While the hit ball is moving across the field, either through the air or along the ground, the batter (who is now called the "runner") drops the bat and runs as fast as possible towards first base. As long as the runner doesn't get an "out," they can stop at first base, or keep going until it's no longer safe. A runner can be tagged out if a defensive player has possession of the ball and touches the runner who is not touching a base (and has not overrun first base). The batter will automatically be called out if the hit ball is caught by a defensive player before it touches the ground or wall. This is called a flyout. If this is not the third out of the inning, all baserunners must return to their time-of-pitch-base after a flyout. Such runners can be "doubled off" by throwing the ball back to the base that must be reached. A batter can get forced out if the hit ball touches the ground, but then a defensive player gets possession of it and touches first base before the runner can get there. Runners who are "forced" to vacate their base on a ground ball can also be forced out in this manner. Steal bases. In most instances, the runner won't be able to complete an entire circuit of the bases on a single play, so they must stop at a base and wait for the next batter to step up to the plate. However, at any time, the runner may attempt to "steal" the next base by running to it as soon as the pitcher has pitched to the batter. Load bases. Only one runner is allowed on each base at any time. When all three bases have a runner, the offensive team is said to have the "bases loaded," meaning the next fair hit or walk will necessarily result in either a run or an out. Hit a home run. Sometimes, the batter hits the ball so hard or so well that they are able to run around the entire diamond before getting an out, scoring a run on the first hit. This is called a "home run." Most home runs are the result of the ball being hit past the fence at the back of the outfield, at which point it's completely out of play and all the fielding team can do is watch. Drive forward with regular plays. Home runs are fun, but not common enough to be relied upon as a means of winning the game. Instead, focus on learning how far to run after a normal hit. By knowing when to stop and wait, you can stay in play longer and raise your chances of scoring a run. Avoid getting three "outs." Once three batters/runners have gotten outs, the game shifts, with the defense and offense switching places. While you’re the defense team, you will not be able to score any runs. The game has nine periods, called innings. They’re each comprised of two parts: a "top" and a "bottom." When the offense of one team has received three outs, the game moves either to the bottom of the current inning or the top of the next one. A run scores for the offensive team whenever a runner safely advances to home plate. A run will not count if: 1) the runner at home plate was not at the time-of-pitch base during or after a flyout; 2) the runner touched home plate after the defensive team recorded a third out; or 3) the runner reached home plate during the same continuous playing action as a force out for the third out, even if home plate was reached before this out was recorded.

  5. Defensive Play. Pitch the ball. The pitchers will stand on the pitcher’s mound and throw the ball toward the hitter, attempting to get an out. Pitchers often use fastballs, curveballs, changeups, and sliders to confound batters. Try to catch the ball after it’s hit. Once the batter hits the ball, it will either fly through the air or it will roll along the ground. The defensive team, which is spread out across the infield and the outfield (the grass beyond the diamond), will attempt to catch the ball before it hits the ground. This automatically gives the batter an out and they can’t proceed to run the bases. Try to tag runners out. As long as they have the ball in hand, a defensive player can tag a runner as they are circling the bases, and the runner will then be out. Or a baseman (the person in charge of guarding a base) can catch a passed ball and step one foot on the base in order to get an out for a forced runner who was approaching that base. Get multiple runners out at once. When the field is set up just right, the fielders may be able to pull off a double play or even a triple play, in which they get two or three outs on a single play. Keep playing until the correct number of innings is reached. As opposed to basketball and many other team sports, baseball doesn't have a clock or timer. Instead, the game is played until all the innings are completed. At the end of the last inning, whichever team scored the most runs wins.

Part 5-7: How to Play American Football, Hockey and Volleyball (See another linked article)

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