Did you know that softball used to be called “kitten ball” because it was played by girls and women? Well, that name changed quickly, because we know that women and girls are competitive and tough. No one calls it kitten ball now!
The reason it’s called ‘soft’ball is because the ball is a little softer than a baseball. Have you ever held or thrown a softball? You might not think it is soft at all!
Did you read the article on the page before this? There are a lot of similarities between baseball and softball. The fields are the same shape, and the basic rules are the same. And the skills you need are the same.
Softball is a team sport. It’s a great way to make friends and do something that’s healthy and fun. In Iowa, school and league fastpitch softball is played mostly during the summer, and here in Des Moines, we are lucky to have lots of teams to watch or join.
Check with your school’s athletic office and your city’s parks and recreation department for information about their softball leagues. Almost every community has a league for girls as young as six or seven!
Many Des Moines area community colleges and universities have softball teams. They would love to see you at their games. Ticket prices are definitely family-friendly.
Local high schools have softball teams. You might even know some of the players (or their younger brothers and sisters).
Here are some of the things you learn when you play softball:
Softball players have to remember lots of hand signals that their coach might use to tell them to:
- Bunt – hit the ball a very short distance.
- Take a pitch – let the ball go past them without even trying to hit it.
- Swing away – hit the ball if they want to.
- Hit a fly ball – hit the ball as high and as far as they can.
Players have to really concentrate on the pitcher, the catcher and, of course, the ball!
A line drive in softball can travel at about 70 miles per hour. The glove – and quick reflexes of the players – is the only thing that keeps the ball from hurting them.
It is not easy to hit a softball. It’s only about six inches in diameter (from side to side). Imagine hitting a ball that is only six inches wide and traveling 70 miles per hour!
Running between the bases is called sprinting because you have to go very, very fast for a short distance. The people who play in the outfield also have to run when they are trying to get to a ball that has been hit into their territory.