Softball and baseball may look similar, but there are some certain differences between the two games! The most noticeable difference is the size of the ball. Grab a baseball and a softball in each of your hands, and you will see that the softball is bigger than the baseball.
But what’s the reason behind it? Why can’t both balls be of the same size when the hitter has to hit them with a bat?
Well, baseball and softball may share a common history, but both games were invented to play differently. This post covers some amazing information you should know if you are a baseball or a softball player.
Why Is a Softball Bigger?
Created as an indoor sport, softball came into existence in 1887. The game was first played by men looking for something to play indoors during winters, and now softball is more popular among girls. The reason the ball was made big is that it travels less and doesn’t damage anything inside the short/closed room.
An oversized ball is heavy, so it has less travel even when the batter hits it hard, and this was the only reason why a softball is bigger than a baseball.
The popularity of softball grew tremendously, and a lot of changes have been introduced in the game. However, the ball size is still bigger, and one can easily figure out the difference between a softball and a baseball.
Why Did the Ball Remain Larger, Even Today?
As I told you, softball came to existence as an indoor game, which was the reason the inventors kept the ball larger. However, it is now an outdoor game like baseball, but the ball is still larger.
The reason why softball is still bigger is that they are designed to travel less as compared to baseball. Furthermore, the distance from the batter box to the pitcher’s mound is around 15-20 feet which is less than baseball.
A larger ball is easier to hit, and because the pitching distance is small, the batter finds it easier to see the large softball coming towards him.
Why are Softballs Yellow?
Visibility is the reason why softballs are yellow. The softball field is smaller than a baseball field, so batters are only able to see it due to the yellow color. All the branded balls that you find in the market are bright yellow in color.
How Heavy and Wide a Softball Should Be?
Just like a baseball bat, softballs also have to meet some standards. In 2002, NAIA and NCAA came to an agreement and rolled out some standards softballs have to meet.
According to the NCAA standards, a softball used in collegiate matches should be 11.875 to 12.25 inches in circumference. Furthermore, the weight of the ball can be between 6.5 to 7 ounces.
As you can see, the weight is pretty heavier than an average baseball. Also, the circumference is bigger, and this is the reason why one cannot use a baseball glove while playing softball.
A lot of softball leagues, including the NFHS (National Federation of State High Schools Associations), follow this standard. However, some leagues like the Little Softball League lowered the standard, and their softballs are 6.25 to 7 ounces in weight, whereas the circumference is between 11.8-12.13 inches.
Are Softballs Softer than Baseballs?
A lot of people ask me if softballs are softer than baseball! Well, the answer is yes! The core of a softball is softer than a baseball, so the ball springs off the bat in a different way.
However, that doesn’t mean that these balls don’t hit harder. If someone gets hit by a hard-pitched softball, the results can be fatal. And that’s why it is essential to wear proper gear while playing softball.
Here are some safety tips softball players should adhere to.
Always Wear Safety Equipment
Never play the game without wearing safety gear. The gear includes the helmet, softball gloves, and other types of pads designed to protect the player from injuries.
Know the Rules
It is essential to know the rules of softball to play the game safely while not giving the opposing team any opportunity.
Use Proper Technique
Proper technique is the key to pitching properly and hitting the ball harder. Practice a lot, and you can learn the essential techniques required to play softball safely.
Wrapping It Up
Now you know everything essential about softball and why they are larger than baseball. Both games may look the same, as both of them involve the batter hitting a ball. But there are some major differences, like the playfield of softball is shorter.
This information will surely help you learn more about the game while being better at it. So stay tuned for more exciting and useful information about baseball and softball.