Cardio Ball
Cardio Ball

Games: Cardio-Ball

Sandy Adams

We took the game of Mat Ball (or Four-Base) and turned it into our own version, which we call Cardio-Ball. Cardio-Ball has an enhanced fitness component.

For those not familiar with the game of Four-Base, the gym is set up with four bases plus home. We mark the bases with cones and make them fairly large. The game is essentially the same as kickball with a few changes.

Four Base Rules

  • Once on base, players run on a teammate's kick when they feel they can make it to the next base. As a result, you can end up with two, three, or four runners on one base. Base runners don't have to run in the order in which they kicked.
  • If the pitcher has the ball on the pitcher's mound, runners must stay on base, unless they are already more than halfway to the next base. If they are less than halfway, they have to go back.
  • In Salem we play with a soft foam ball. Runners are put out using the following methods.
  • Their kicked ball is caught, even if kicked off the ceiling.
  • They are hit with the ball, whether off the floor, wall or ceiling, or a teammate's kick. (A ball that bounces off the wall is not out unless caught).

Cardio-Ball Variation

Here are the changes that we made to convert Four-Base into Cardio-Ball:

  • Students have to run the bases twice. As they start their second time around, they pick up a pinney. As they score, they drop the pinneys in a pile — an easy way to count runs.
  • Instead of playing with three outs, we play with five outs.
  • If all kickers are on base, the team loses its turn to kick. This encourages aggressive baserunning and daring chances.


To discourage students from going “out” intentionally and not having to run, students must continue to run even if they're put out. If they get hit between bases, they go back to the base they were on. This assures that all students will run around the bases twice!

 Good Baseball/Softball Leadup Game

Cardio-Ball encourage students to learn basic softball/baseball strategies, such as:

  • Knowing where the lead base runners are.
  • Using aggressive baserunning.
  • Throwing ahead of the runners.
  • Realizing that a thrown ball is much faster than running with the ball in your hand.

Our Experience

We play this game in Salem with our classes grades 7-12, and all the students love

  1. Obviously we don't do an entire unit of cardio-ball, but it does make a nice fill-in game. It encourages quick thinking, good running, and if playing with small teams, provides cardiovascular exercise! See what you think.

 Contributor: Sandy Adams is a teacher at Salem Central School, in Salem, New York.

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