Differences Between Slowpitch and Fastpitch Softball

Softball is one of the best sports for somebody who wants to enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle, a sense of belonging to a community without a demanding training schedule. Softball players can enjoy two different types of softball: slowpitch and fastpitch softball. Which type of softball is best for you depends on multiple things, like your physical condition, your gender, and your age, and what kind of team you can find in your area. This article will show you some of the differences between slowpitch and fastpitch softball.

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Gender and age

Fastpitch softball is played almost exclusively by female athletes. Fastpitch softball is played all over the world, with athletes competing from a very young age all throughout college and even as adults.

Slowpitch softball can be played by both female and male players of all ages. There are leagues for just women, just men as well as mixed leagues. There are four different categories of leagues going on all over the world. Here are the kinds of slowpitch games you may find in your area:

Men’s: Only for the gentlemen.
Women’s: Only for women.
Mixed or coed: Teams feature players from both genders.

Class B: The highest level of softball, these games are the most competitive.
Class C: Players competing in these leagues are of a mixed skill level. These games are still considered to be relatively competitive, but they have a bit of recreational feel to them.
Class D: In these games recreation is more important than winning. Mostly played by beginner and average players.
Class E: These games are the lowest level, they are games for beginners, with very little competitive edge.

The pitch

Probably the biggest difference between the two types of softball is the way players have to pitch.
In fastpitch softball the pitching distance can be anywhere between 35 and 43 feet. However in slowpitch softball the pitching distance has to be at least 50 feet regardless the gender and age of the players.

In fastpitch softball the pitching motion is a windmill-like motion which rotates a full 360 degrees before the ball is released. In slowpitch softball the pitching motion is only a half windmill around the shoulder.

This gives more speed to the ball in fast pitch softball and less time for the hitters to get ready for the ball. In slowpitch softball the ball travels slower and for a greater distance before it gets to the hitter.

In fastpitch softball the pitch can go anywhere between the knees and upper body of the hitter, it can bend, curl and change its trajectory in the air. However in slowpitch softball the pitch has to fall onto the plate in order for it to count as a strike.

In conclusion in slowpitch softball the ball flies slower, for a greater distance and the hitter knows where it will fall. In fastpitch softball a more powerful throw and a faster ball, combined with an unknown destination makes it harder for the hitter to strike the ball.

The bats

Bat manufacturers make different types of bats for both fastpitch and slowpitch softball. Fastpitch bats have a maximum length of 34 inches. The drop of fastpitch bats must not be bigger than 12. The drops is the length of the bat in inches minus the weight of the bat in pounds. Softball bats can be heavier than fastpitch bats.

Most fastpitch leagues use ASA regulation to determine what kinds of bats players can use. In slowpitch softball some leagues use USSSA and others use ASA regulations.

Players

Fastpitch and slowpitch softball differs in the number of players teams can have on the pitch.
In fastpitch softball a team can field nine offensive players, but in slowpitch a tenth player can be on the team, who either plays as a “rover” between shortstops and second base, but most likely as a fourth outfielder.

The catcher has to wear a complete protective gear in fastpitch softball prior to the start of each inning. Not all slowpitch leagues require the catchers to wear full protective gear, but most catchers wear a protective mask. Additional protective gear might be used, but it is not required.

Bases

In fastpitch softball the base runners are allowed to take lead-offs as soon as the pitcher releases the ball. This is not the case in slowpitch softball, so the two games differ in the rules of playing bases. In fastpitch base runners are allowed to steal and they may score on passed balls, but stealing is against the rules in slowpitch softball. Base runners can leave the base only when the hitter makes contact with the ball, so later than the moment the pitch is made. Since scoring on passed balls essentially counts as a steal this is against the rules in slowpitch softball as well. As far as the clothing of hitters and pitchers go, pinch runners are banned as well as metal cleats.

The mercy rule

In slowpitch softball the mercy rule states that the game will be over if the winning team has more than a fifteen points lead by the time of the fifth inning. This is needed because slowpitch games tend to be very high scoring.

Fastpitch softball games are generally lower scoring, so the mercy rule comes into play if the winning team is eight points in the lead by the time of the fifth inning.

Conclusion

Fastpitch slowball is for those female athletes who enjoy the competitive nature of the sport. However if you are looking for a more laid back environment and less cut throat competition, slowpitch softball can be perfect for you. Search for a team in your area and start playing either slowpitch or fastpitch softball, whichever suits your needs the most. If you choose slowpitch softball then you want to find the best one bats so just visit slowpitchbatcenter.com and then you will find the best slow pitch bats that suit your need. This site provide everything you need about softball.

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