Is Softball Harder Than Baseball? Get Facts Here!

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Written by

Michael Rogers

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FACT-CHECKED BY

Leo Hagenes

is softball harder than baseball

Is softball harder than baseball? The answer is yes; softball is more challenging to play than baseball. This is not just based on polls, ‘softball is harder than baseball’ essays, or top Reddit answers. Softball is scientifically proven to be more complex and challenging compared to baseball.

To help you understand this, we’ll explain what factors determine which sport is harder to play. We’ll also tackle the difference and similarities between the two sports. Not only that, we’ll answer some FAQs as well!

Which is Harder Between Softball and Baseball?

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As we mentioned, when discussing softball compared to baseball, there is scientific proof that the former is harder to play.

But why? Due to the difference in field distance and pitching speed, softball players have less reaction time in batting compared to baseball batters.

And because softball fields are more compact, the basepaths are shorter, and the pitching style is more challenging.

As we tackle the differences and similarities between these two popular sports in America, it would be easier to understand the answer to questions like “is baseball or softball harder?”

What is the difference between softball and baseball

To give you a quick summary of how softball is different from baseball, we created this matrix below:

Factors Softball Baseball
Infield Size 7,200 ft 16,700 ft
Base Distance 60 ft 90 ft
Pitching distance 43 ft 60 ft
Pitching speed 60-75 Mph 85-105 Mph
Pitcher’s mound 60 ft 43 ft
Pitching Style Underhand Overhand
Batting Speed 60-80 Mph 70-90 Mph
Speed to Steal Base 3 seconds 3.1 seconds
Cather’s Reaction Time 25 milliseconds 55.5 milliseconds
Time to Reach First Base 3.2 seconds 4.3 seconds
Game Length 7 innings (shorter) 9 innings (longer)

This table represents the science of softball vs baseball.

1. Pitching distance and field size

harder-to-hit

From the pitching distance alone, you can tell that playing softball would be more challenging as there is less room for players.

Since softball players are 17 ft less than baseball players in terms of distance, everything happens much faster, thus pitching is harder.

And when we take into consideration the size of a  baseball field compared to a softball field, a softball field is smaller. Naturally, the overall distance in softball is shorter as well.

Also, now that we know which field is bigger, you’d understand why softball players have less time to react to whatever is happening, like hitting a thrown ball and running from one point to another.

2. Ball size and weight

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In addition, the size and weight of baseball vs softball make the former sport even harder to play.

You see, a baseball only weighs between 142-149g or 5-5.25 oz, and it measures about 9-9.25 inches.

Whereas, a softball weighs 6.25-7 oz or 177-198g, and its circumference is 12 inches.

Now that you know the difference between baseball vs softball size, what does this scientifically imply? A baseball can fit your palm better than a softball. Plus, it’s lighter, making it easier to throw in the field.

You may think that a softball is easier to hit because it’s bigger in terms of “softball vs baseball weight and size”, but it actually makes it harder for pitchers to make a good swing. Realistically, it makes it difficult to hit a softball accurately in the middle.

3. Pitching style

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Moreover, the style of pitching is harder in softball. In baseball, you’d typically see pitchers make an overhand throw, while softball players use a windmill motion where pitchers throw harder upward.

And because it’s hard for us to notice motion going up, a softball is harder to hit. When you take into account both the smaller field distance and the windmill throw, you’ll naturally have less reaction time in softball.

To be more specific, a softball batter only has 25 milliseconds to decide if she’s going to swing. And to put them in comparison, softball batters have 55 percent less reaction time than baseball batters.

On the other hand, softball infielders have only 3.2 seconds to throw the runner out. Add the sixty feet softball base distance, and it’s clear which sport is harder to play!

4. Game length

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Finally, since softball has shorter innings than baseball, the chances of winning a game are also smaller.

What Are the Similarities Between Softball and Baseball?

Now that we have discussed the difference between the two sports and answered, “Is softball harder than baseball?” What can you expect to be similar about them?

By the looks of the field and by watching both sports, or by reading ESPN, you’ll know that they have a lot of things similar between them such as:

1. Field format

Their field size may differ, but the layout of both baseball and softball fields are the same.

You don’t need to look closer to see that both fields have a diamond-shaped format. This includes the home base and three bases, as well as the infield, outfield and warning track.

2. Player positions

the-science-of-softball-vs-baseball

First off, there is an equal number of players in both baseball and softball, where nine individuals play for each team. Moreso, the positions of each player are similar.

3. Scoring system

Both sports adopt the same scoring system where the team who scores more runs wins the game. The rules are also similar for softball and baseball.

A run takes place when players round the bases and reach the home plate. Also, in both sports, an out takes place when players miss the ball or when it hits the strike zone. Ultimately, three strikes would mean an out for the opposing team.

Slowpitch Vs. Fastpitch Softball

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If you’re new to the world of baseball, you may have come across terms like slowpitch and fastpitch. But what do they mean, and what’s the difference between them?

Basically, there are two types of softball. As we mentioned, a powerful windmill style of pitching is evident in softball, especially for the first type, which is fastpitch.

Slowpitch is basically the same, but as the name implies, the pitcher throws the ball slower.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Why do girls play softball instead of baseball?

One factor that can contribute to why women play softball instead of baseball is the lack of professional women’s baseball leagues.

Plus, there is also a lack of funding for women’s baseball in educational institutes. What’s more apparent is the support given to men’s baseball teams. For girls, funding is typically provided in softball, so you see more girls playing that sport.

However, it does not mean that girls can’t play baseball or that boys can’t play softball. Both sports are not gender specific, and there’s no direct answer to questions like “Is softball better than baseball for girls?” because everyone can enjoy softball.

Can I use the same equipment for baseball and softball?

As we mentioned, softball is different from baseball, so using one for the other sport may become a problem. At the same time, softball gloves are larger than baseball gloves.

When it comes to bats, baseball bats can be used for softball, but a softball bat can easily break when used in baseball.

Can men play softball?

Of course, men can play softball. As we mentioned, softball is a gender-neutral sport, and there are no laws that hinder men from enjoying it!

Conclusion

Now that you know the answer to questions like “‘is softball harder than baseball?” or “is softball easier than baseball?”, there’s no need to spend so much time on the internet.

We’re happy to help you understand the scientific reasons why softball is harder than baseball, and remember that you can always go back to this page to check the summary we made for your reference.

Whether you’re a baseball or a softball fan, or both, the most important thing is to enjoy each game. If you can think of more reasons why one sport is harder than the other, let us know and let’s have a fun discussion!

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