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Growing up, you probably played either softball or baseball in your town’s youth leagues. Heck, also as adults you’ve likely played in a neighborhood baseball league or slow-pitch, bar organization softball tournament at part point. Follow to Statista, roughly 30 million americans play at the very least one game of either soft ball or baseball every solitary year. Both sports carry out not take the physics toll on our bodies choose football or basketball can, which renders them much more popular amongst all ages than any type of other team sport.

You are watching: What is harder softball or baseball

Both games may look comparable at an initial glance, but they couldn’t be an ext different. Sure, the basic concept is the exact same ? fight a ball and also score more runs 보다 the various other team ? yet each sport provides its own set of challenges. Everybody loves a good debate, but the feud between fast-pitch softball supporters and baseball die-hards is one that never seems to be answered. I’m walking to take you through each page of these wildly renowned games and determine, once and also for all, which sports is really harder to play. Let’s dig into the fight of baseball vs. Softball.


Did softball or Baseball Come First?

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If you’ve heard the surname Abner Doubleday floating around, you could remember the he’s often attributed with inventing baseball in Cooperstown, brand-new York back in 1839. It turns out, that’s not completely true, yet the Cooperstown businessmen heralded the story together a truth when creating the National Baseball room of Fame.

As History.com tells us, the genuine story is much simpler:

“References to gamings resembling baseball in the United claims date ago to the 18th century. That most straight ancestors appear to be two English games: rounders (a children?s game brought to brand-new England by the earliest colonists) and also cricket.

“In September 1845, a group of brand-new York City men founded the new York Knickerbocker Baseball Club. One of them?volunteer firefighter and also bank salesperson Alexander joy Cartwright?would codify a new set that rules the would type the communication for modern-day baseball, calling because that a diamond-shaped infield, foul lines and the three-strike rule.”

Baseball is widely recognized as America’s Pastime even though it’s played almost everywhere the world and also has been for over 100 years. Only recently have rule changes begun to modernize the game, however baseball tho remains one of our country’s most famous sports come play.

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AP Photo

Many people think softball is a straight descendant the baseball. In fact, it was in reality a college football game that very first created softball. ~ above Thanksgiving job 1887, several human being awaited the outcome of the Yale matches Harvard football game at Chicago’s Farragut boat Club. ~ Yale was announced the winner, the celebration that ensued inadvertently produced a brand brand-new sport.


The civilization Baseball soft ball Confederation explains:

“During the merriment, a reporter from the Chicago plank of Trade, George Hancock, tied up a boxing gloves (with its very own strings) right into a sphere, take it a broomstick handle, and, making use of chalk, marked lines ~ above the floor. The night a video game took location with 80 operation scored, and also from over there the sport had actually been born. The first rulebook is stated to have actually been authorize (by Hancock) in 1889.”

Although initially played indoors, softball moved outside and evolved into a substantial amateur sport played by American servicemen during people War II. In 1952, the International softball Federation became the sport’s administrate body and still is today. In 1991, women’s fast-pitch softball was included to the 1996 Olympic Games, i m sorry is thought about its crowning minute as the game ultimately arrived ~ above the international stage.

Throwing a softball vs. Baseball

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The most evident difference is the pitching format of both sports ? Baseball pitchers throw overhand and softball pitchers litter underhand. Both deliveries offer advantages and disadvantages, but the most notable room the wide selection of means a pitcher litter the sphere in baseball together opposed to softball.

In softball, there space a couple of popular pitches many softball pitchers start with, prefer the fastball, changeup, drop ball, curveball and rise ball. Pitchers use these with various grips and also releases, which offers them a differed arsenal, together CoachUp.com explains.


When it concerns baseball pitching, the story is lot different.

? Four-Seam Fastball? Two-Seam Fastball? Changeup? Cutter? Curveball? 12-6 curveball? Eephus (check this point out)? Forkball? Gyroball? Knuckleball? Knuckle Curve? Palmball? Screwball? Sinker? Slider? Slurve? Splitter

When it concerns variety, baseball wins this category. A smaller sized ball and also various arm angles ? from classic overhand deliveries to sidearm and also submarine professionals ? a baseball pitcher’s shipment adds so countless possibilities come what a batter might see as soon as the round leaves the pitcher’s hand. However, even though there are a lot of different pitches, the doesn’t median a fastball in baseball is necessarily harder to hit than a fastball in softball.

Don’t worry, I’ll touch on the comparison later.

Softball ar vs. Baseball Field

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Credit: MLB.com

It doesn’t take lengthy to establish that, while castle look similar, softball and baseball areas are considerably different.

Major league Baseball field sizes differ follow me the outfield fence depending on the style of every ballpark, but everything within the lines stay the same. A baseball pitchers mound is increased 10 customs in the air and also is 60 feet, 6 inches away from house plate. The street from house to very first base is 90 feet and is the very same at each stop around a baseball diamond.


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Credit: iSport.com

Softball pitching mounds, or pitching circles, are unlike baseball mounds in the they’re not increased off the ground. Soft ball pitchers stay within a designated pitching area on their release, and pitching street is only around 35 come 43 feet native the mound to home plate. Also, the base paths in soft ball are simply 60 feet away from each other, which room actually similar to tiny League baseball fields.

This distinction in the base paths enables baseball football player to lead off while on base, while soft ball players cannot.

Softball fields are much an ext compact, which provides it means more complicated to acquire on base, though the doesn’t necessarily make it any easier top top the fielders. This is confirmed by the huge numbers that no-hitters and also complete games thrown by soft ball pitchers in ~ every level compared to the relatively small variety of baseball pitchers gift able to do it.

Since 1983, there have been 331 no-hitters in ALL of NCAA division I university baseball. Over that very same time, girlfriend only require the height 25 pitchers on department I university softball’s all-time list to surpass that number. Those 25 girl threw 333 no-hitters.

Score this one for soft ball by a landslide.

Softball vs. Baseball Equipment

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By design, softballs are bigger than baseballs. The an initial softballs were in reality 16 inch around, but today, the size of the sphere is around 11 or 12 inch in circumference and weigh around seven ounces. This difference is consisted of in both gloves. Regulation softball gloves have a deeper bag while baseball gloves are more shallow but are slightly longer.


Baseball areas are naturally bigger 보다 softball since the size of the baseball, which weighs around five ounces and also is nine inches around, reason it to fly farther. Isn’t physics fun?

Softball bats are generally longer, but baseball bats have a bigger diameter to strike the sphere with. While MLB football player strictly use wooden bats, all soft ball teams, university baseball teams, every high school levels, and on down through youth baseball commonly use some type of composite or alloy bats.

The the bat each sport uses, add to the gloves that players usage to catch, consist of for the difference in size between a softball and also baseball. This one’s a wash.

No advantage here through equipment. We’ll call it a tie.

Does soft ball or Baseball key Faster?

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If you ever before look at a radar gun measuring pitch speeds at the greatest level that both games, baseball pitches are frequently 15 come 20 miles per hour quicker than softball pitches. But when you take into account the baseball piles are farther away (and greater up) compared to softball mounds, the gap between these two games gets also further apart.

ESPN’s sports Science broke down the rate of both games, mentioning that a 70 mph softball pitch ? native the much shorter distance ? reaches residence plate quicker than a 100 mph baseball pitch. That method a softball player has actually less than fifty percent the time (.025 seconds) to decide to swing compared to a baseball player (.055 seconds).


Need even much more proof? ~ above average, a soft ball shortstop has less time to reaction to a soft ball hit their means (.61 seconds) 보다 a tennis player has actually reacting come a serve from Serena Williams (.65 seconds).

Do yourself a favor and also watch USA soft ball gold medalist Jennie Finch make MLB slugger Albert Pujols ? a three-time MVP v over 600 career residence runs ? look prefer a complete fool.

Sorry, Albert. Soft ball goes up on baseball, 2 to 1.

Game Length

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Softball gamings are most typically only 7 innings, just like college and high institution baseball games are. One of the best knocks on the MLB and also college baseball is that gamings are SO damn LONG. They’re the only level of either sport where gamings are nine innings.

Even with major League Baseball doing whatever it can to shorten its games in current years, professional baseball gamings are getting much longer every decade and also today are commonly at the very least three hours long.

Not only are soft ball games shorter in length, however fewer innings means less avenues to score and, obviously, win. International softball rules even begin extra innings through a runner on 2nd base in an initiative to keep gamings from going also long. MLB has actually not embraced this dominion as well.

Chalk up one more win for softball.

The last Tally: Which sport Is Harder?

Traditional baseball gurus will certainly take the video game as the is remained in 1845 to their graves, but the fact of the issue is the softball is harder to play, requires faster reaction time, and also is much more fun because that fans come watch. The work of 400-foot home runs in significant League Baseball aren’t walk anywhere, yet home operation distance and also gaudy numbers does not equal a more difficult sport.

Overall, fast-pitch soft ball is harder to play and, honestly, a lot more fun to watch 보다 baseball.

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This post was originally published April 3, 2019.

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About the author: john Duffley
John join the yellowcomic.com team with five years of endure freelancing as a sports writer for TheDupes.net and also Football.com. A graduate of penn State University, John currently lives and works in Austin, Texas. That is also a member the the Football writers Association of America (FWAA).