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Growing up, you most likely played either softball or baseball in her town’s youth leagues. Heck, even as adults you’ve likely played in a regional baseball league or slow-pitch, bar organization softball competition at part point. According to Statista, about 30 million americans play at least one video game of either soft ball or baseball every solitary year. Both sports do not take the physics toll on ours bodies favor football or basketball can, which renders them an ext popular amongst all ages than any type of other team sport.

You are watching: What is harder softball or baseball

Both gamings may look comparable at first glance, yet they couldn’t be an ext different. Sure, the straightforward concept is the same ? fight a ball and score much more runs than the other team ? but each sport offers its own set of challenges. Everybody loves a an excellent debate, but the feud between fast-pitch soft ball supporters and also baseball die-hards is one that never seems to be answered. I’m walking to take you v each side of this wildly renowned games and determine, once and also for all, which sport is really harder come play. Let’s dig right into the battle of baseball vs. Softball.


Did soft ball or Baseball Come First?

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If you’ve heard the name Abner Doubleday floating around, you can remember the he’s often attributed with inventing baseball in Cooperstown, new York ago in 1839. It transforms out, that’s not entirely true, yet the Cooperstown businessmen heralded the story together a truth when developing the National Baseball room of Fame.

As History.com speak us, the actual story is lot simpler:

“References to gamings resembling baseball in the United says date back to the 18th century. That most direct ancestors show up to be 2 English games: rounders (a children?s game carried to brand-new England through the earliest colonists) and also cricket.

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

Baseball is widely recognized as America’s Pastime even though it’s played anywhere the world and also has been because that over 100 years. Only recently have rule changes begun to modernize the game, yet baseball still remains among our country’s most well-known sports to play.

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AP Photo

Many people believe softball is a straight descendant that baseball. In fact, that was in reality a college football game that an initial 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. After Yale was announced the winner, the celebration that ensued inadvertently created a brand brand-new sport.


The people Baseball softball Confederation explains:

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

Although initially played indoors, softball relocated outside and evolved right into a large amateur sports played by American servicemen during civilization War II. In 1952, the International softball Federation ended up being the sport’s governing body and also still is today. In 1991, women’s fast-pitch softball was added to the 1996 Olympic Games, i m sorry is considered its crowning minute as the game lastly arrived on the global stage.

Throwing a soft ball vs. Baseball

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The most obvious difference is the pitching format of both sports ? Baseball pitchers litter overhand and softball pitchers throw underhand. Both deliveries offer advantages and disadvantages, but the many notable are the wide variety of ways a pitcher throws the sphere in baseball as opposed to softball.

In softball, there space a couple of popular pitches most softball pitchers begin with, choose the fastball, changeup, drop ball, curveball and rise ball. Pitchers use these with miscellaneous grips and also releases, which gives them a varied arsenal, as CoachUp.com explains.


When it involves baseball pitching, the story is much 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 involves variety, baseball wins this category. A smaller ball and various arm angle ? from standard overhand deliveries to sidearm and also submarine professionals ? a baseball pitcher’s delivery adds so countless possibilities to what a batter can see when the sphere leaves the pitcher’s hand. However, even though there are a many of various pitches, that doesn’t typical a fastball in baseball is have to harder come hit 보다 a fastball in softball.

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

Softball ar vs. Baseball Field

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Credit: MLB.com

It doesn’t take long to realize that, while lock look similar, softball and baseball areas are significantly different.

Major league Baseball field sizes differ follow me the outfield fence relying on the style of every ballpark, but everything within the lines continue to be the same. A baseball pitchers mound is elevated 10 inch in the air and also is 60 feet, 6 inches far from residence plate. The distance from house to an initial base is 90 feet and also is the very same at each stop about a baseball diamond.


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Credit: iSport.com

Softball pitching mounds, or pitching circles, room unlike baseball mounds in that they’re not raised off the ground. Softball pitchers stay within a designated pitching area on your release, and pitching street is only around 35 to 43 feet native the mound to residence plate. Also, the base courses in soft ball are simply 60 feet away from each other, which are actually identical to little League baseball fields.

This difference in the basic paths allows baseball football player to lead turn off while ~ above base, while softball players cannot.

Softball fields are much much more compact, which renders it way more difficult to obtain on base, though the doesn’t necessarily do it any easier on the fielders. This is shown by the large numbers the no-hitters and complete gamings thrown by soft ball pitchers in ~ every level contrasted to the fairly small variety of baseball pitchers being able to do it.

Since 1983, there have been 331 no-hitters in ALL the NCAA division I university baseball. Over that same time, you only need the peak 25 pitchers on department I college softball’s all-time perform to surpass the number. Those 25 girl threw 333 no-hitters.

Score this one for softball by a landslide.

Softball vs. Baseball Equipment

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By design, softballs are larger than baseballs. The first softballs were in reality 16 inch around, but today, the size of the ball is around 11 or 12 inch in circumference and weigh about seven ounces. This difference is comprised in both gloves. Regulation soft ball gloves have a deeper pocket while baseball gloves are much more shallow yet are slightly longer.


Baseball fields are naturally bigger 보다 softball because the size of the baseball, i beg your pardon weighs about five ounces and also is nine inches around, cause it to fly farther. Isn’t physics fun?

Softball bats are commonly longer, yet baseball bats have a bigger diameter come strike the round with. While MLB players strictly usage wooden bats, all softball teams, university baseball teams, all high institution levels, and also on down with youth baseball generally use some kind of composite or alloy bats.

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

No benefit here through equipment. We’ll speak to it a tie.

Does softball or Baseball key Faster?

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If you ever before look in ~ a radar gun measuring key speeds in ~ the highest level that both games, baseball pitches are frequently 15 to 20 miles every hour much faster than soft ball pitches. But when you take into account the baseball piles are farther away (and higher up) contrasted to softball mounds, the gap between these two gamings gets also further apart.

ESPN’s sport Science damaged down the speed of both games, discussing that a 70 mph soft ball pitch ? native the shorter distance ? reaches residence plate much faster than a 100 mph baseball pitch. That means a soft ball player has actually less than fifty percent the time (.025 seconds) to decide to swing contrasted to a baseball player (.055 seconds).


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

Do you yourself a favor and also watch USA softball gold medalist Jennie Finch do MLB slugger Albert Pujols ? a three-time MVP with over 600 career home runs ? look favor a complete fool.

Sorry, Albert. Softball goes up on baseball, 2 to 1.

Game Length

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Softball games are most commonly only 7 innings, as with college and also high institution baseball gamings are. Among the greatest knocks top top the MLB and also college baseball is that gamings are SO damn LONG. They’re the only level of either sport where games are ripe innings.

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

Not just are softball games much shorter in length, yet fewer innings means less methods to score and, obviously, win. International softball rules even begin extra innings v a jogger on 2nd base in an initiative to keep games from going too long. MLB has actually not adopted this rule as well.

Chalk up one more win because that softball.

The final Tally: Which sports Is Harder?

Traditional baseball gurus will take the video game as that is was in 1845 to your graves, however the truth of the issue is the softball is harder to play, requires much faster reaction time, and is much an ext fun for fans to watch. The days of 400-foot house runs in major League Baseball aren’t going anywhere, however home run distance and also gaudy numbers does not equal a more difficult sport.

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

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This short article was originally published April 3, 2019.

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About the author: john Duffley
John join the positiveeast.org team with 5 years of suffer freelancing together a sports writer for TheDupes.net and also Football.com. A graduate of pen State University, John right now lives and works in Austin, Texas. The is also a member the the Football writers Association of America (FWAA).