What Is Softball?

Softball is a popular bat-and-ball sport that is a variation of baseball. It is played between two teams on a large field, where batters hit a ball pitched by the opposing team and run the bases to score runs. Softball is beloved for its community spirit, recreational fun, and competitive edge.

Definition Of Softball

Softball is a team sport played between two squads on a large diamond field. One team bats while the other pitches and plays defense. Batters hit a 12-inch circumference ball and run the bases, aiming to score runs. It’s an evolved form of indoor baseball adapted to allow for easier play.

How Do I Play Softball?

How Do I Play Softball?

Softball is played between two teams of 9 players who take turns batting and fielding. The batting team tries to hit the ball and run around the bases to score runs. The fielding team works together to get three outs and stop runs. 

To play, you’ll need a bat, glove, and proper attire. Familiarize yourself with basic hitting, throwing, catching, and base running skills. Work with your team to excel on defense and offense. Focus on strategies like bunting, base stealing, and positional play. With practice, you’ll gain the abilities and game sense to succeed on a softball diamond.

Why Play Softball?

There are great reasons to play softball:

  • It’s fun! Softball provides an enjoyable way to be active through recreation or competition.
  • Build relationships through teamwork and bonding. Softball teams create lasting social connections.
  • Improve your athletic skills with running, throwing, hitting, and more.
  • Achieve goals both personal and shared with your team.
  • Experience the thrill and excitement of game days and winning.
  • Stay healthy through physical activity.

For players of all ages and skill levels, softball offers memorable experiences.

Are There Different Types Of Softball?

Yes, there are a few major types of softball:

Slow Pitch Softball

Slow Pitch Softball

Slow pitch is played with an underhand pitch. The ball arches high and comes in slow, allowing batters more time to swing. Slow pitch is popular for recreational leagues since it’s easier to hit.

Fastpitch Softball

Fastpitch Softball

Fast pitch features a windmill pitch delivered overhand at speeds up to 85 mph. It requires fast reaction times to hit. Fast pitch is played competitively including the Olympics.

Indoor Softball

Indoor Softball

Indoor softball is played in gymnasiums and sports domes. The field is smaller than outdoor softball. Indoor softball allows year-round play.

When Is Softball Played?

You can play softball all year long thanks to indoor facilities. But it’s most popular in summer as an outdoor pastime. Softball season runs spring to fall in high school and college. Competitive leagues play June through September culminating in championship tournaments. Pickup games happen anytime the weather cooperates.

What Is The History Of Softball, And How Did We Get To Where We Are Today?

Softball originated from indoor baseball games played in Chicago in 1887. George Hancock formalised rules in 1887 including a larger ball for indoor play. The sport spread through YMCAs and was called indoor baseball. The name softball arose in 1926, and the first World Series was held in 1933. Fast pitch, slow pitch, and modern rules evolved through the 1900s. Today softball thrives with elite competitive play, international popularity, and widespread casual participation.

Firefighters Helped Spread The Game

In the early 1900s, firefighters played a key role in propagating softball’s growth. Fire stations fielded formidable teams and firefighters organized games when traveling or meeting other fire crews. This helped make softball a coast-to-coast sport prior to mass media. Firefighters’ passion for softball expanded its reach.

Softball Took On Many Names Through The Years

Early forms of softball had numerous names including indoor baseball, mush ball, playground ball, kitten ball, and diamond ball. The name “softball” first appeared in 1926 but took decades to become the consensus term. Other names persisted through the 1930s and 40s as the sport grew. Standardizing on “softball” helped unify play and rules across the country.

Is Softball Getting Popular?

Yes, softball has been gaining popularity worldwide over the past 20-30 years. Key growth factors include:

  • Added to the Olympics in 1996, spurring international interest. 
  • Greater participation among women and girls at all levels.
  • Increased marketing and television coverage of elite softball.
  • Growth of casual recreational softball leagues.
  • Higher profile college softball programs.

Softball’s community spirit, relative safety, and athleticism make it appealing to more people every year.

What Is Softball’s Mass Appeal?

Softball has mass appeal for many reasons:

  • It’s accessible – easy to learn and play recreationally.
  • Fun, social atmosphere at games. 
  • Teamwork builds bonds and community feel.
  • Fairly safe relative to contact sports.
  • Burn calories and get exercise through play.
  • Competitive outlets from youth to college/pro.
  • Gender inclusive for both men and women.

With so many ways to enjoy softball, it’s no wonder participation continues rising.


What is the difference between softball and baseball?

The main differences between softball and baseball are:

  • Softball uses a larger 12″ ball, baseball uses a 9″ ball. 
  • Softball field is smaller, with bases 60′ apart rather than 90′.

What is simple softball?

Simply put, softball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams on a field with four bases. Teams take turns batting and fielding. Batters hit pitches and run the bases to score runs while the fielding team gets outs. Most runs after seven innings wins.

What is softball’s short history?

Softball originated from indoor baseball played in Chicago during the 1880s. George Hancock formalized the first rules in 1887, including using a soft ball. The sport spread across the US under names like indoor baseball and mush ball. The name “softball” appeared in 1926. Softball gained popularity through the 1900s and was added to the Olympics in 1996.

Why is it called a softball?

It’s called softball because the ball used in early indoor baseball variants had softer cover material than a baseball. This allowed the ball to compress more on impact, lowering the risk of indoor damage. The name softball distinguished it from its hardball cousin and the name stuck as the sport formalized.

What is a softball field called?

A softball field, like a baseball field, is called a diamond due to the shape made by the four bases. It may also be referred to as a softball park or complex. The area encompassing the infield is sometimes called the skinned portion since base paths are bare dirt rather than grass.

Is softball a sport?

Yes, softball is definitely considered a sport. It meets all the criteria that define a sport: involves physical athleticism, competition between opposing teams, an established ruleset, and skill development. Softball is included in major competitive organizations like the Olympics, NCAA, and American Softball Association. Millions play recreationally worldwide.


Softball is a beloved bat-and-ball sport that evolved from indoor baseball over a century ago and today thrives as a recreational and competitive activity. With variants like slow pitch, fast pitch, and indoor leagues, softball offers fun and community for all ages and abilities. Its rising participation and mass appeal demonstrate softball’s place as an outstanding team sport.

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