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So why DO girls play softball? Are girls more suited to it?

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  • So why DO girls play softball? Are girls more suited to it?

    We had a recent thread about girls playing baseball.

    What I'm wondering about is... what's the deal with softball? Why do little girls play softball and little boys play baseball? Is softball somehow a less physical game? I know those balls aren't as soft as they sound, lol! It does seem like bunting and slapping, etc, is more a part of softball.

    Is it just tradition? Did the balls used to be softer in the past? Did the game start out as a very casual slow pitch game where it wasn't so hard to get a hit... but then pitchers adapted to the underhand requirement and learned to throw hard?

  • #2
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...toryId=4675763
    @noontimegifs

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    • #3
      Thanks for the link Noon. It explains a lot. I don't think it still explains why it became a women's sport vs baseball. I'll say this much though, softball is not "soft" at all. With my daughter practicing with the 10u team some, I've noticed some differences. Some things seem a little easier. The ball comes off the bat slower. It's heavier and I think the ball construction is different. That's not to say it's slow, but it does seem to be slower than baseball. Batting... this is where the BIG difference is. The timing is sooooo different. Girls throwing mid 40's (and even 50) from 35 feet is almost jaw dropping. How do these girls have time to judge the balls? My daughter took one to the knee and it flat out took her down. She's taken a 50mph baseball straight to the leg and center of the back and it didn't phase her. Being hit by that "softball" gave her a limp the rest of the day. Anyhow, my biggest thought while watching the girls practice? That team would mop up 9 out of 10 10u teams if they could pitch.

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      • #4
        Another good quick read:
        http://www.midwestsportsfans.com/201...play-softball/
        @noontimegifs

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bbrages View Post
          We had a recent thread about girls playing baseball.

          What I'm wondering about is... what's the deal with softball? Why do little girls play softball and little boys play baseball? Is softball somehow a less physical game? I know those balls aren't as soft as they sound, lol! It does seem like bunting and slapping, etc, is more a part of softball.

          Is it just tradition? Did the balls used to be softer in the past? Did the game start out as a very casual slow pitch game where it wasn't so hard to get a hit... but then pitchers adapted to the underhand requirement and learned to throw hard?
          Softball was created for girls to get exercise. It was played with a larger, soft ball. Life just evolved with boys playing baseball and girls playing softball.

          If you think girls slap and bunt rather than hit away you're not informed about softball. Rotational hitting came to softball years ago. I was ahead ofrthe curve by not knowing the difference. I taught all the girls I coached to hit rotational. The only slappers you see are left handed hitters who fly. My daughter was a lefty who could fly. Her college coach didn't change her since she was big 5'10" and could drive the ball. My daughter weighed 145. During the recruiting process one coach was drooling about her getting to 170-175. My daughter asked me in the parking lot if it means she would have to get a crewcut and date women.

          The balls are just as hard as baseballs on the outside. But since girls were driving the balls hard and beaning pitchers and corner infielders ASA softened the core of the ball. My daughter was moved from short to center in high school. Her senior year she had to play two games at short due to an injury. She said she was scared to death after not being that close to the hitter for three years. She was grateful the coach didn't move the third baseman to short (was JV shortstop) and played her at third.
          Last edited by tg643; 07-25-2012, 01:50 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tg643 View Post
            Softball was created for girls to get exercise. It was played with a larger, soft ball. Life just evolved with boys playing baseball and girls playing softball.

            If you think girls slap and bunt rather than hit away you're not informed about softball. Rotational hitting came to softball years ago. I was ahead ofrthe curve by not knowing the difference. I taught all the girls I coached to hit rotational. The only slappers you see are left handed hitters who fly. My daughter was a lefty who could fly. Her college coach didn't change her since she was big 5'10" and could drive the ball. My daughter weighed 145. During the recruiting process one coach was drooling about her getting to 170-175. My daughter asked me in the parking lot if it means she would have to get a crewcut and date women.

            The balls are just as hard as baseballs on the outside. But since girls were driving the balls hard and beaning pitchers and corner infielders ASA softened the core of the ball. My daughter was moved from short to center in high school. Her senior year she had to play two games at short due to an injury. She said she was scared to death after not being that close to the hitter for three years. She was grateful the coach didn't move the third baseman to short (was JV shortstop) and played her at third.
            My understanding is that softball was developed in the late nineteenth century by a small group of students stuck in a gym waiting around for the score of a Harvard/Yale football game. The ball was originally soft (first ones made from socks) and softball was an indoor alternative to baseball.

            Interestingly, prejudices against girls playing baseball have existed for a long time. Take for example the movie A League of their Own. Complete fiction. The league started in 1943 and didn't allow overhand pitching until 1948. Naming it a "baseball" league was a misnomer as it was really just modified softball. They didn't think it "lady-like" to let girls pitch overhand.

            I'll say it again. As a coach, I could care less about gender. If a girl trys out for me and she can contribute to winning she'll make my team.

            To me, softball is as different from baseball as cricket is.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Roothog66 View Post
              To me, softball is as different from baseball as cricket is.
              State athletic associations see baseball and softball as gender equitable sports. But you are right. Softball is a very different game. With grown women/girls playing travel and college baseball it's a bang-bang game. The pitch is coming off the hip from 43 feet. Infielders must have a very quick release to throw out half the hitters on grounders. Even outfielders have to snap their throws. Coming over the top can mean giving up two steps on short base paths. If you think Jennie Finch can pitch you should see some of the top level men. Hitters don't have time to think. They guess. It's coming in off the hip at the MLB distance equivilant of 115 mph.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                State athletic associations see baseball and softball as gender equitable sports. But you are right. Softball is a very different game.
                one could argue that men's and women's basketball are very different games also.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by TexAg View Post
                  one could argue that men's and women's basketball are very different games also.
                  The only difference in men's and women's basketball is the women's ball is slightly smaller. As far as play goes the only difference is the women's game isn't played above the rim. But men's basketball isn't played above the rim until college.

                  In softball the field size is different, the base lengths are different. the mound is different, the pitching distance is different and the pitching angle is different. These differences create a different game than baseball whether it's women or men playing softball.

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                  • #10
                    I don't know.... I played fast-pitch softball with 250 lb men who could hit the XXXX out of the ball. It may be a different game, but in some cases it's faster and tougher, especially when playing 3B 60' away from a line drive hit by the guy above.
                    "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                    - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                    Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TexAg View Post
                      one could argue that men's and women's basketball are very different games also.
                      I've coached both and IMHO the differences, HS and under, are subtle...
                      "He who dares to teach, must never cease to learn."
                      - John Cotton Dana (1856–1929) - Offered to many by L. Olson - Iowa (Teacher)
                      Please read Baseball Fever Policy and Forum FAQ before posting.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Jake Patterson View Post
                        I've coached both and IMHO the differences, HS and under, are subtle...
                        From having kids who both played and having coached boys and girls travel up to 14U I would say the boys rely more on athleticism while the girls rely more on being fundamentally sound. It doesn't mean boys aren't fundamentally sound. They are more likely to get outside that realm and go with athleticism. Boys tend to get in the open court more.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                          It's coming in off the hip at the MLB distance equivalent of 115 mph.
                          I hate the idea of "MLB distance equivalence". If you put the best male softball players in the world up against 115 mph from a baseball pitcher, they wouldn't touch the ball. Same with the LLWS, if you put Luke Ramirez up against a 95 mph fastball, he'd be blown away. There isn't any truth in the "MLB equivalent" speeds shown on TV.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by tg643 View Post
                            The only difference in men's and women's basketball is the women's ball is slightly smaller. As far as play goes the only difference is the women's game isn't played above the rim. But men's basketball isn't played above the rim until college.

                            In softball the field size is different, the base lengths are different. the mound is different, the pitching distance is different and the pitching angle is different. These differences create a different game than baseball whether it's women or men playing softball.
                            thats what I have always wondered. Why are girls high school softball fields essentially boys U12 dimensions?
                            Just a baseball layman trying to make sense of it all...

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by trademark View Post
                              thats what I have always wondered. Why are girls high school softball fields essentially boys U12 dimensions?
                              Same reason softball fields are not same dimensions as a basketball court or a rugby pitch, different game.
                              Ask a softballer do they want to play baseball, male or female.

                              Male pitchers jump up to six feet off the plate set at 46 feet before they release the pitch with an average speed of 78/80 mph, that aint much reaction time, 60 foot basepaths give very little time to turn plays makes for a very quick game.

                              Why do you try to compare, go watch a game of mens high level fastpitch, you will enjoy.

                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vhBZDU7WBg

                              Alan
                              Last edited by Aussie Al; 07-27-2012, 01:10 AM. Reason: you tube link

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