Modified & Updated: 30 Dec 2023

Girls in action playing in a softball game

Softball, the sibling sport of baseball, is a thrilling game that combines skill, strategy, and a whole lot of fun. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a curious newcomer, there are fascinating facts about softball that will make you appreciate this dynamic sport even more. Get ready to step up to the plate as we unveil 11 amazing facts that will knock your socks off.

Table of Contents

A spinoff of baseball

Softball was born in the late 19th century in Chicago as an indoor version of baseball. It was initially a form of indoor baseball to allow baseball players to practice during winter and rainy days. Who knew a cozy gymnasium could give rise to such a fantastic sport?

Name evolution

The sport wasn’t always called softball. Other names included kitten ball, mush ball, diamond ball, and even indoor baseball before it was officially named softball in 1926.

Young girls playing the sport of fastpitch softball
Image from Adobe Stock

It’s all about the pitch

Softball is unique in its pitching style. The pitcher’s mound is flat rather than raised, and pitchers throw underhand, also known as the windmill pitch, unlike baseball where overhand and sidearm pitching is common.

Softball pitchers also have quite the arm. With the underhand pitching technique, they can whip the ball at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour (112 kilometers per hour). Talk about unleashing some serious heat!

Softball in the Olympics

Softball was added to the Summer Olympics in 1996. However, it was later removed after the 2008 Olympics and returned in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Fast-pitch and slow-pitch softball

There are two types of softball: fast-pitch and slow-pitch. The main difference is how the ball is pitched to the batter. Fast-pitch is generally considered more competitive.

Women in softball

Just like Volleyball, Softball is a sport that promotes gender equality. Women’s softball became popular during World War II as a sport for women to play while men were fighting overseas. Today, it’s a prominent collegiate sport for women. It’s a testament to the inclusivity and universality of softball.

Filipino softball batter hitting a line drive.
Image from Adobe Stock

Size of the ball

Softballs aren’t soft! They are larger than baseballs, ranging from 11 to 12 inches in circumference for fast-pitch and slow-pitch games, respectively.

Duration of the game

A standard game of softball lasts seven innings, compared to nine innings in a baseball game, unless extra innings are needed for a tie.

Diamond dimensions

The distance between bases in softball is shorter compared to baseball. In softball, the bases are set 60 feet apart, while in baseball, the bases are 90 feet apart. A smaller diamond means quicker plays and lightning-fast action.

Softball team huddle before the start of a softball game
Image from Adobe Stock

Strategic mind games

Softball is not just about raw power and athleticism; it’s also a mental game. Coaches and players strategize to outwit their opponents, employing tactics such as bunting, stealing bases, and executing precision plays. It’s a chess match on the field.

A popular sport

Softball is played in more than 100 countries around the world. It’s estimated that 40 million people play the sport in the United States alone.

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