Have you developed an interest in softball? This is okay and understandable because softball is one fine sport that is a bit underrated. Once you get to know more about it though, your tendency is to like it even more.
Like in other sports, softball comes with some rules that should be followed to ensure that people will be disciplined enough to finish the matches. The main thing that you should remember when it comes to softball is you should always have fun hitting the ball.
If you are a beginner, you will most likely do slow pitch soft ball because this is easier than fast pitch softball or even baseball. Even if you do not have great athletic ability, you can still do this as long as you are passionate about it and you can hit the ball from time to time. The best slow pitch players usually advance to becoming fast pitch players but most people who love slow pitch just continue playing it.
What You Will Learn From This
There are different things that you are supposed to learn before you start playing softball and being confused about the rules will not help you. Here is a run down of the things that you will learn:
- The differences in the rules between slow pitch softball and fast pitch softball.
- The equipment that you are going to use when you play slow pitch softball.
- Some basics of slow pitch softball.
- Home run rules
- Player conduct you ought to remember
Differences Between Slow Pitch Softball and Fast Pitch Softball
Even though slow pitch softball and fast pitch softball are the same category with softball, you have to know these basic differences:
- There is a difference in the speed that the ball will be put into play. Fast pitch softball requires the fast delivery of the ball. In slow pitch softball, the ball is thrown in an arch so that it can go down slower and it will be easier to hit.
- In fast pitch softball, the main objective is to make the ball so fast that it is not hit. On the other hand, soft pitch softball encourages the players to hit the ball so that the game can go on.
- Fast pitch softball requires 9 players while slow pitch softball only has 10 players.
- When it comes to fast pitch softball, there are nine innings and in slow pitch softball, there are only 7.
- Another evident difference between fast pitch and slow pitch is that when it comes to fast pitch, base stealing is possible but this is not possible in slow pitch.
The Equipment to Use
You may not realize this but there are some rules that you are required to know for the equipment that you are going to use for your slow pitch softball game. Rules include the following:
- There may be different bats that you can use in order to play softball but there are some bats that cannot be used because they do not pass the standards that have been set by the league. Most bats are required to be about 34 inches long and they should be 2.25 inches barrel in diameter.
- If there are some officials that would ask to see your bat before you can play, you have to let them do it.
- The size of the ball that will be used can be different depending on your gender. If you are male, the ball is 12 inches and if you are female, the ball that will be used is 11 inches.
- In order to complete the run after hitting the ball, you need to touch the scoring plate.
- Metal cleats on the shoes that you are going to wear are not allowed.
Some Basics of Slow Pitch Softball
Here are some of the basic rules that you have to remember when you are playing slow pitch softball:
- Pitch – The pitch that will be done should come slowly. Like mentioned earlier, the ball’s movement should resemble that of an arch. It would have to move about 6 – 12 feet from your ground. If you are the pitcher, you should keep one foot on the plate until the ball has been released.
- Base – There is no base stealing when it comes to slow pitch softball so if you are the runner in this case, you need to be in contact with your base until the ball has been passed over. You can also go away from the base after a home run.
- Strikes – Similar to playing fast pitch softball and even baseball, the striker would have a chance to hit the ball three times. If after three times, the ball has not hit the bat, then the player is out.
- Hit by Ball – If a player has been hit by a ball then the ball will be called a dead ball.
- Pitching Illegally – A pitch can be considered illegal if it is too fast or if it does not follow the rules wherein the ball should go in an arch form before reaching the opponent. Even if the ball is hit, a strike will be called.
Some Terms to Be Familiar With
As you become more familiar with the sport, you will come across some terms that you will usually hear and possibly, you would use often as well. Get to know these terms and familiarize yourself with this to be sure.
- Interference – If in case you hinder a batter or a striker from hitting the ball when you know very well that the batter could have hit it is called interference.
- Out of Play – This refers to the ball that has gone beyond the set boundaries of the playing field.
- Turn at Bat – From the very moment that you enter the batter’s box up to the very moment that you become a base runner, this is your time at bat.
- Time – When the game has to be halted by the umpire.
- Obstruction – This is done by a fielder who does not have the ball who may stop the progress of the base runner.
- Play Ball – This is easy to understand as this indicates the time when the game can be played again or will start.
- Bunt – This is known to be a ball that has come in contact with the bat illegally even though it should not be hit.
- Batter’s Box – This is the area wherein the batter should stay.
- Sacrifice Ball – This is the fly ball that allows runners to advance or score but this means that the batter or the runner will be out in the process.
- In Jeopardy – This means that that the ball is in play but there might be a player who has committed a foul that will be put out.
There are still other terms that you will get to know more as you continue playing softball but the ones that are mentioned above are the most common ones.
Other Important Rules to Take Note Of
Aside from the ones that are mentioned above, it would not hurt if you could also become familiar with these miscellaneous rules:
- There is a 50 minute time limit for each inning.
- Players are not allowed to steal balls or do bunting.
- If in case the weather would not allow the game to push through, rescheduling is quite normal as compared to other games.
- If in case you are part of a team, you have to remind your team to have a score keeper especially if you are not the home team. The home team will have their own scoreboard and if there are discrepancies with the score, the umpire will make a decision.
- Practicing after the first inning is not allowed.
- You are not allowed to bring artificial noise makers that can distract other players.
- If you are a catcher, you are required to wear a mask otherwise, you will not be allowed to play.
- You are required to bring not only your own bats but your own gloves as well. Only balls will be provided for you throughout the whole game.
- In the third inning and one team is ahead by 20 runs, the game will be called. A game will be called in the 4th inning if one team is ahead of 15 runs. The game will be called in the 5th inning if one team is ahead by 10 runs.
- The home team will always have an advantage and if by chance the home team is ahead by the mid inning, the game will be officially over.
As you can see, there are so many rules that make up slow pitch softball.It can be hard to get to know and memorize all of these rules immediately. You are recommended to learn the rules little by little. Also, if you play more, you will get to understand the rules even better. Playing more will ultimately let you know more about the game. Did you like the things that you have learned? You can share this article and discuss it with other slow pitch softball lovers like you. Share your thoughts too through the comments section below.