Softball vs. Baseball – What’s the Difference?


Here’s a fun question: what’s the difference between baseball and softball? As a parent you’ve probably heard of both, but is there really a difference? Well, there are a few major variables to consider, and the first is that these two sports are almost always aligned by gender. There is no inherent rule that separates them, but typically, women play softball while women play baseball. This is just the start of the differences, and it should be noted that according to Sporting Goods Manufacturer’s Association, or SGMA, 62% of adult slow pitch softball players were men in 2010, so the dynamic is definitely changing. So, now that you know some of the most obvious differences, what are the similarities?

Exploring the Similarities Between Softball vs. Baseball

To start, both sports use a round ball, a bat, and a glove. In addition to that, the sports both require a pitcher to throw a ball to a batter, and the idea is to get the batter ‘out’. In addition to that, they require three outs to end an inning. So what is it that differentiates them? We already covered the potential gender requirements, and we’ve already mentioned that those gender walls are starting to come down, so is there any other real difference to consider? Yes, there is.

It’s All in the Size

When it comes down to it, it’s all going to be about size. You will use similar equipment, but the softball is bigger than the baseball, and with that being the case, the sport uses bigger gloves and even thinner bats. You will also find that a softball is not nearly as hard as a baseball.

The Proof is in the Pitch

In softball, there is a slight difference in the way the ball is pitched. For example, in baseball, the pitch is thrown overhand, but in softball, it’s entirely underhand. In addition to that, softball pitchers will throw from a level surface rather than a pitching mound. Also, keep in mind that the softball pitching area is placed much closer to the batter. Mostly, this is due to the weight of the softball being much greater than a baseball.

Fielding the Difference

The baseball diamond is larger than the softball diamond. In baseball, the bases are 90 feet apart, but in softball, the bases are only 60 feet apart. In the end, this means that there is a much shorter distance to run to get to home plate, though it doesn’t necessarily mean the game is going to be easier.

The Ruling

The rules are mostly the same in both games, but in softball, the biggest difference is how the bases are handled. Take baseball, for example, the runner can leave the base any time they want, but in softball, the runner needs to wait until the ball is pitched.

The two games play relatively the same but there are some significant differences to consider. Either sport, however, is great for either men, women, boys, or girls!


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