Softball is a complex sport that can be hard to follow if you don't understand the rules. There are nine players on each team. The objective of the game is for the offensive team to have players hit the softball and advance around all four bases to score points. Softball is interesting because the defense controls the ball. The defense wants to limit the offensive team's amount of hits and baserunners. Softball is a game of details and it is important to understand the rules.
Softball is an untimed sport broken up into periods of play called innings. An inning is concluded once both teams have had 3 offensive players called out. In the top of the inning, the home team will be in the field and the visiting team bats. Once 3 offensive players have been called out, the teams switch who is on offense and defense. Then, after the home team reaches 3 outs, the current inning ends and the next one begins. The team with the higher score after 7 innings wins the game.
The playing field in softball is comprised of an area covered in dirt known as the infield, and a grass section of the field called the outfield. The infield features four different bases that are spread 60 feet apart in the shape of a diamond. The most significant base is home plate where the batter stands. Surrounding home plate are two identical rectangles that are drawn in chalk. These rectangles are known as the batter's box.
In addition, there are two chalk lines that start at home plate and extend to the outfield wall in a "V" shape. These lines, known as the first and third base lines, mark the areas of fair play on the softball field. The pitcher's mound, a white rubber strip, is directly 45 feet away from home plate.
The softball uniform is made of thicker material to prevent rips when players slide. All softball players wear cleats for better grip. A softball bat can be made of aluminum, composite or a hybrid of both. Each softball league has specific regulations regarding what bat compositions are allowed. All offensive players must wear a helmet to protect themselves from serious injuries.
When players are on defense, they wear a glove on their non-dominant hand. A softball glove is made of leather and has deep pockets to accommodate for the size of a softball. The catcher and first baseman have specially designed gloves that help support the duties of the position.
In softball, the pitcher throws the ball to their catcher behind home plate, while the opposing batter aims to hit the ball. The home plate umpire stands behind the catcher and determines whether each pitch is a ball or strike. The strike zone is an imaginary rectangle that extends the width of home plate. Generally, the strike zone is considered to be between a batter's belly button and knees.
Any pitch that is thrown within this zone will be considered a strike. Pitches outside of the strike zone that a batter does not swing at will be called a ball. Any pitch a batter swings at will be ruled a strike. If a batter swings and contacts the ball but it does not land in fair territory, it is considered a foul ball. Foul balls count as strikes, but a batter cannot strike out on a foul ball.
If a batter gets three strikes during an at bat, the batter will consequently strike out. A strikeout results in an out for the offensive team. However, if the pitcher throws four balls, then the batter has drawn a walk and is awarded first base.
The goal of the defense is to try and get each batter out. The easiest way for a fielder to accomplish this task is by catching a ball hit by the batter. Catching the ball before if bounces on the ground results in the batter being called out. However, if a ball does hit the ground before being caught, the defense can throw the ball to first base before the batter reaches the base to get the hitter out. Also, while offensive players are running between bases, the defensive can tag runners out if they have possession of the ball.
Softball and baseball are very similar, but there are slight differences between the two sports. First, a softball field has much smaller dimensions than a traditional baseball field. The pitchers mound, base paths, and outfield walls are all shorter for softball. In addition, a softball game is completed in 7 innings compared to 9 in baseball. In terms of game play, the pitcher in softball must throw underhand unlike the overhand motion used in baseball.
A softball pitcher starts by facing the catcher with their dominant foot in front of the rubber. Next, a pitcher must bring their hands together before releasing the ball. Then, the pitcher will rock their throwing arm backwards. Immediately after, the pitcher will begin to swing their arm forward while stepping with their non dominant foot. In conclusion, the pitcher will push off their non dominant foot and release the ball in a flicking motion.
Regulations on bat composition all depend on the league or tournament. Bat composition rules are set in place to protect fielders from injury. The NCAA has a list of banned bats players are not allowed to use. Before each game, officials will check every bat used in play to make sure the pressure is at legal limits. In addition, the NCAA does not allow any bat lower than drop 8, meaning there is a strict guideline on bat weight.
In softball, the more common pitches thrown are a fastball, change up, rise ball, and drop-curve. The fastball generates the most speed and is the easiest pitch to locate. The change up is a slower pitch that devices the hitter by looking like a fastball. The rise ball is a unique pitch that rises up on a hitter, causing them to swing under the ball. The drop-curve is a pitch with movement designed to drop out of the strike zone as it approaches the hitter.