What is Softball?
Softball is a game that is quite similar to baseball. Softball is played with a hard large ball but on a smaller field as compared to baseball. The ball is pitched to the batter at a relatively slow pace. The pitcher has to pitch the ball in an underarm manner which means that the hand should be below the shoulder high. The game is played all over the world with little variations. The two main types of sport are fastpitch and slowpitch.
Slow-pitch softball is more engaging and requires more skills. Softball has become an international sport that is even played in Olympics games. Like any other game, softball aims to score more runs than the other team before the game ends, which ends in seven innings. The batting lineup repeats until the game ends, so even if some is out it’s likely that they will bat again multiple times. There is a constant switching between batting and fielding which keeps the game more exciting and helps in developing skills quickly.
The game originated in Chicago USA.
How Softball is played?
Softball is played just like baseball but with some variations. The batter tries to hit the ball before getting three stricks. Also attempting to advance the round four bases and scoring a home run. On the other hand, the fielding team tries to catch the ball or hit the base which the batter is trying to reach or tag the batter before reaching the base. All this is done by the fielding team to put the batter out of the game.
Each team has nine players. The basic goal is to score a run which is the team used for points. Once the batter hits the ball and the ball is in play, he then runs to the first base. The batter then has to wait until the next player hits the ball and once that is done the first batter runs for the second base. This keeps happening until there are three outs referred to as stricks. And same as bat ball once the batting team has done their play they go on fielding and the other team bats.
Equipments used in Softball
Unlike its name softball isn’t played with a “soft” ball. The balls are larger than a typical baseball. The balls also have different sizes according to which type of game is in play, for fastpitch the ball weighs 6.25-6 oz and for slowpitch is the weight of the ball is 5.87- 6.12 oz.
Defensive players have to wear gloves. Defensive players are the fielders which have to catch the ball when is hit or to throw it to another player during the play. The gloves are made of leather. The catchers have extra protection inside the gloves to protect the hand. The first baseman who is behind the batter has a special glove that has a bigger pocket for catching the ball easily because the ball is thrown to them multiple times.
The bats are used by the offense team which could be made out of wood or aluminum depending on the preference of the batter. Some bats are also made of carbon fiber. The length of the bat cannot be longer than 34 inches and should be less than 6.0 inches in diameter.
Fastpitch Softball is more commonly played by women although coed fastpitch leagues also exist. The pitching distance in this game can be from 35 to 45 feet. The pitches can travel up to a speed of around 60 mph. the pitching style of fastpitch softball is different from slowpitch softball. The arm of the pitcher rotates 360 degrees around the shoulder before the ball is released. A common way of teaching how to pitch is by using the motions, repel, rock, kick, drag, toss. There are many other ways of pitching the ball, one of which is the “figure 8”. With this style the ball is not brought over the head but instead down and behind the body, tracing the figure eight. Catching is also important in fastpitch softball, with the help of a fast-running catcher the pitcher cannot succeed. The catcher has to make slite second decisions to change the tempo of the game.
Slowpitch is played by both men and women. It is preferably a sport for adults. The pitching distance is 50 feet for both male and female players and the arm or the pitcher rotates 180 degrees in haft a windmill motion which means that it is an underhand throw. Strikeouts are very rare in slowpitch because the speed of pitching the ball is slow. Slowpitch softball requires more strategy as the pitcher cannot reply on speed. The pitcher has to pitch the ball with enough arc so that the batter cannot hit in a direct line. The pitching style used in slowpitch softball is referred to as a half windmill technique.
Difference between Fastpitch Bats and Slowpitch bats
Although both types of Softball are played the same way and do have some similarities in them, they do have some differences too. Because the pitching speed of each type of softball is different the bats are also constructed in different ways. The design can vary. The bats vary in use as well as weight and size. Because of these differences, the user needs to pick the right bat for the right game as it has an impact on the way the game is played.
A fastpitch bats weights between 23 to 28 ounces.
Fastpitch Bats: These bats come in one-piece or two-piece construction. One-piece bats are stronger and stiffer. They are designed for the powerful hitter who swings with force. On the other hand, the two-piece bat consists of two separate pieces joined together, a barrel and a handle. This provides flexibility to the bat when it is swung. In the end, it all comes to the personal ability and liking of the hitter. If the hitter doesn’t have the power to swing a one-piece bat then the two-piece bat can maximize the hitting power.
Slowpitch Bats: Slowpitch bats are normally 34inches long and are made of aluminum, carbon fiber, or wood. As both, slowpitch and fastpitch games are different, if a slowpitch bat is used in a fastpitch game, it likely that the bat will get damaged or even break. The slowpitch bat can be a little heavier than the fastpitch bat which can compromise the hitting ability if used in a fastpitch game. Furthermore, if a fastpitch bat is used in a slowpitch game the bat will crack or even break since the batting material used for the fastpitch bat is slightly thinner.
A slowpitch bat weights about 26 to 30 ounces.
Softball is a very interesting game which getting popular very fast. The game originated in Chicago, USA in the year 1887 but is played worldwide now. Softball is even played in the International Olympics games.
Choice of the right bat depends upon which game is being played as well as the liking of the batter.