Difference Between Fastpitch and Slowpitch Softball Games

By | May 14, 2022

You may enjoy softball, but not everyone understands the differences between fastpitch and slowpitch games. You’ve come to the correct place if you’re one of them or a newbie looking to learn more about softball. We’ll go through the differences between fastpitch and slowpitch softball in depth in this guide!

The pitching style is the fundamental distinction between these two forms of softball. The regulations of each game are heavily influenced by the type of pitch necessary, as well as the gear that the participants must wear.

Fastpitch and Slowpitch Softball 

Here are the game’s fundamentals.

Softball: Fast-Pitch vs. Soft-Pitch

Softball (slow pitch)

Half-windmill pitch — The player throws with an angle of 6-12 feet in this style of throw.
The infield is occupied by ten players in slowpitch softball, with the 10th player serving as the extra or fourth outfielder.
Pitching distance from home plate should be 50 feet.
A face mask is essential for the catcher.
Slowpitch softball is played over seven innings.

Softball (Fast Pitch)

Full-windmill pitch — the player turns 360 degrees while throwing the ball in a straight line at 60 miles per hour.
The required number of players is nine.
The pitching distance varies by age and is between 35 and 43 feet.
For safety reasons, the catcher must wear full protective gear, including a high-quality batting faceguard.
The length of a game in fastpitch softball is 9 innings.
As you can see, the type of pitch influences every aspect of each game. Another simple distinction is that there are only two types of pitches in Slowpitch softball: underhand and slow. In a fastpitch game, on the other hand, there are various methods to throw the ball, making it much more difficult.

The main differences between fastpitch and slowpitch softball are as follows. Now we’ll go through each distinction to assist you better understand and determine which sort of softball is best for you.

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1-The Pitch

As we’ve discussed above, pitching is the main factor that differentiates slowpitch vs. fastpitch. And as the name suggests, the fastpitch aims to create a throw that produces faster speeds. In addition to that, fastpitch softball involves a more complicated pitching style. It requires excellent skills and talent; that’s why older players mostly play it.

Because of the’speed’ component inherent in the game, fastpitch became immensely popular in the United States throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Fastpitch softball has been the main attraction on American televisions because to its competitive and difficult-to-hit underhand pitches. Furthermore, the adrenaline surge makes this sport enjoyable for both players and spectators.

What is the best way to throw a FASTPITCH softball?

The full-force “windmill” throw is used in fastpitch softball, and the shot must be thrown faster and straighter. Fastpitch pitchers begin at the hips and rotate 360 degrees around the shoulder before shooting the ball toward the batter.

The pitching distance is 35-43 feet due to the high velocity, which is substantially less than the slowpitch throwing distance. There are various different types of pitches, but the two-seam and four-seam fastballs, curveballs, and screwballs are the most common.

How to Throw a Fastball in Baseball (Video)

Slowpitch softball, on the other hand, is the most prevalent and popular sport. It’s a game that’s mostly played by kids and co-ed athletes. This is because it is simple to use and does not necessitate any training or practice.

Fastpitch became more popular among women in the mid-1950s. Men’s teams began to switch to slowpitch since it is more enjoyable to watch women play fastpitch. They were able to dazzle the fans with more severe hits and longer strokes due to the larger fielding.

What’s the best way to throw a SLOWPITCH softball?

The half-windmill motion is used in the slowpitch throw. Begin by holding the ball in your dominant hand. The hip is the starting point for this pitch. Swing backwards to your shoulder, wind the ball forward and upward, then release the ball swiftly and forcefully enough to travel 50 feet. To avoid a strikeout, establish a high arc to slow the ball down and prevent a hard hit. It’s important to remember, though, that pitchers should throw a softball pitch in a 6-12 foot arc. The umpire may rule the pitch illegal if the pitcher fails to meet this condition.

FastPitch Softball vs Soft-Pitch Softball: Gameplay

Softball is a baseball variant that contains the same fundamentals as baseball but with a larger, softer, and heavier ball. Softball has been played since 1887 and was originally an indoor sport. When the original fastpitch softball regulations were codified in 1933, the first variety of softball was born. As a result, fastpitch softball has grown in popularity around the world, leading to the establishment of the International Softball Federation in 1952. Fastpitch softball became an official women’s-only medal event during the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996.

Slowpitch softball, sometimes known as lob ball, was introduced to the public in the early 1950s. While fastpitch softball relies on a talented pitcher who can throw with high velocity and intricate ball movement, slowpitch softball encourages batters to hit the ball with force and shift the game’s weight to the defense. In a nutshell, fastpitch softball relies on a batter’s ability to hit the ball and strikeouts, whereas slowpitch fastball games require the defensive team to make clever fielding plays and generate outs.

Fastpitch and Slow pitch Softball

Number of Participants

Aside from the pitching type, both slowpitch and fastpitch games are played on fields of equal dimensions. The number of players in both games, however, has a considerable impact on how teams play fastpitch and slowpitch softball.

In fastpitch softball, nine players, including the pitcher and catcher, are required on the field. Furthermore, the rules of fastpitch softball are quite similar to those of traditional baseball games, therefore both games use the same methods. Furthermore, fastpitch is typically a male-dominated sport.

Slowpitch softball, on the other hand, is played with ten participants. The tenth player usually takes a rover or stationary position in the outfield. Slowpitch softball games require one extra player because the game’s rules emphasize defense. Because slowpitch softball games are easier to bat, the defensive team can have a pretty simple plan for creating outs by having an extra player. The majority of slowpitch softball games feature a mixed team of men and women, with a typical 5:5 ratio.

In both games, the defensive team must prevent offensive players from progressing and scoring runs around the bases by stopping the batter’s ball. There are six positions in the infield and four in the outfield (three in a fastpitch game).

The Baserunners

In a standard softball game, the infield includes the pitcher, catcher, first base, second base, third base, and shortstop.


The pitcher is in charge of pitching the ball from the pitcher’s plate to the hitter at home plate. After throwing, the pitcher can transition into another infielder who can aid stop and catch balls as needed. A pitcher usually receives throws from the infielders or assists with relaying pitches from the outfield after pitching.


The catcher stands behind home plate and is responsible for returning the ball to the pitcher if the batter strikes out. A catcher also serves as a guard at home plate, tagging out oncoming baserunners as they attempt to score.

7 Fastpitch Catcher’s Gear: Ultimate Protection Behind the Plate you may like

The first baseman

Most balls are thrown to first base to prevent offensive players from reaching the base. Because a player must have exceptional catching ability to play first base, it is a critical position to fill. That is why it is critical that he has the best equipment, including the best first base gloves. A first base infielder also protects the right side of the infield against balls that come from that way.

Base number two

The right side of the infield is guarded by the second base player. A second baseman can also assist the shortstop in guarding the area between second and third bases. The majority of the time, though, a second baseman’s task is to receive throws to second base. It’s a common misperception that base players must stay at their base, but in actuality, base players can move around and cover their allotted field. Furthermore, when attempting to create an out from a player approaching their base, a base player should only stay on their ground.

The Shortstop’s Position

As previously stated, the shortstop plays between second and third base. A shortstop is a player who is in charge of catching and stopping any balls that come in from the left side of the infield. Because of the shortstop’s advantageous position, he is an outstanding thrower from second and third base.

Base three

Finally, the third base position is located within the third base area and is responsible for catching and preventing throws sent to him. Because the balls that come their way are more demanding than usual, a third-base player must have outstanding catching reflexes. Furthermore, because the distance between third base and first base is so great, a third baseman must have a strong throwing arm for long-distance throws.

Outfield players

Moving on, the outfield positions differ in a fastpitch and slowpitch softball game. An extra player is normally positioned in the outfield in a slowpitch softball game. Furthermore, unlike their infield counterparts, positions in the outfield are not well-defined. It’s because outfielders’ placements change depending on a batter’s talent. If a hitter is left-handed, for example, the outfielders’ playing area may move to the right in anticipation of the ball’s path.

Outfielders, on the other hand, have designated positions such as left fielder, center fielder, rover, and right fielder. A left fielder will play on the left side of the outfield, a center fielder will play on the left side of the center field area, a rover will play on the right side of the center field, and a right fielder will play on the right side of the center field area. Their job is to catch and stop balls in their respective regions and return them to the infield as quickly as possible.

Distance Between Pitches

Both fastpitch and slowpitch softball games feature distinct pitching methods, resulting in pitching distances that are significantly different in both sports.

Both games include two plates, one for the batter and one for the pitcher. The home plate is a 17′′ diameter five-sided heavy rubber plate. The pitcher’s plate, on the other hand, is a heavy rubber that measures 6′′ by 24′′ and requires the pitcher to make contact with the plate with one foot when delivering a pitch.

The pitching distance in a fastpitch game is 35-43 feet to accommodate the pitcher’s high-velocity throws. This distance also allows the pitcher to send the ball at a sharp angle. In a slowpitch softball game, on the other hand, the distance between the pitcher and batter is 50 feet. This distance allows the pitcher to shoot the ball in a 6-12 foot high arc. The hitter has adequate time to hit the ball accurately at an upward angle with this arc-shaped pitch.

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Although both fastpitch and slowpitch are softball games, the winning strategies differ significantly.

The speed and manner in which softballs are pitched in fastpitch creates a unique set of rules and techniques for winning the game. Because fastpitch games demand pitchers to throw fast and deceptive pitches, the game makes use of offensive strategies like strikeouts and bunting to gain an advantage over the other team. Because batting is more difficult in fastpitch softball games, strikeouts and base stealing are common strategies used by teams.

A batter in a slowpitch baseball game, on the other hand, must strike the ball at an upward angle. In a slowpitch baseball game, pitchers must also lob the ball in an arc of 6-12 feet towards the batter. This rule causes the ball to enter the field on every pitch, emphasizing the fielders’ defensive play. Because it is easier to pitch the ball in a slowpitch softball game, the rules force the defensive team to make planned and decisive fielding plays.

Equipment for catching

A fielder’s glove is worn by all defensive players to help them stop the ball quickly. Furthermore, each glove has specifications that assist each defender in playing their role more effectively. A pitcher’s glove, for example, is designed to conceal the pitcher’s throwing hand in order to confuse a batter’s ball prediction. Furthermore, these defensive gloves serve as protective equipment since catching a high-velocity softball without catching gloves is harmful.

The catching gloves are an important aspect of the game because they allow players to make catches that would otherwise be impossible. Furthermore, these catching gloves are meant to assist them in stopping and catching the ball efficiently, allowing them to provide the field with quick and decisive plays that will keep the fans on the edge of their seats.

Equipment for Batting

A softball batter’s gear includes more than just a bat. A batter must wear protective equipment in order to perform their job well.

Softball batting gloves provide the best hand protection for batters. It is not a mandatory piece of softball equipment, but it has grown in favor in recent years. Softball batting gloves can protect a batter’s hands from the vibrations caused by a powerful hit on the softball. Softball gloves also help to prevent blisters on the batter’s hands from gripping the bat for long periods of time.

A softball batting helmet is another important component of batting equipment. When hitting the ball in softball, you must wear a helmet. This softball batting helmet protects players’ heads from the full force of a softball. Slowpitch softball games require this equipment the most. Slowpitch pitches move in an arc, which can result in injury if thrown at an incorrect angle.

A batter’s arsenal would be incomplete without a quality softball bat. A fastpitch softball bat and a slowpitch softball bat are the two types of softball bats. A fastpitch softball bat is usually made up of one or two pieces, depending on the batter’s demands. A hitter who can swing hard and transfer more energy to the ball with more speed and power will benefit from a one-piece construction.

Two-piece bats, on the other hand, come into play when a hitter lacks the strength necessary by a one-piece bat. A two-piece softball bat has a separate barrel and handle that allows it to bend during a swing, allowing it to unleash additional force on the ball via a trampoline effect.

Count of Innings

In both fastpitch and slowpitch softball games, the number of innings varies. A slowpitch softball game usually lasts 3-7 innings, while a fastpitch game lasts 9 innings. A softball game’s number of innings varies based on the league and skill level of the participants. High school, collegiate, and professional baseball leagues all play seven innings every game. The overall number of innings played by players decreases as they get younger. The game usually lasts 3-4 innings in children’s softball.


Because fastpitch softball and regular baseball are so similar, both games use nearly identical methods. Bunting is a prevalent technique in both games. The batter purposefully limits the swing and contact between the bat with the ball with a bunt. The impact between the bat and the ball is limited, and the ball is sent into the infield. Bunting is a method used by batters to get to first base quickly. Sacrificial bunts, in which the batter bunts the ball to allow another baserunner to advance to next base or make a run for home, are also possible.

In slowpitch softball games, though, bunting is a different story. The rules of softpitch softball require the batter to take a full swing at the ball, making bunting prohibited in this sport. Furthermore, even if the batter meant to play a bunt, an umpire can declare it a weakly hit ball.

Rule of Mercy

Both fastpitch and slowpitch softball games have separate mercy rules. In a slowpitch softball game, if the winning team has a 15-run advantage over the losing team after 4-5 innings, the game can usually be called.

Because the basic goal of fastpitch softball is not to score a lot of runs in games, an authority can call a mercy rule on the losing side if the winning team leads by eight runs after five innings.


Fastpitch and slowpitch baseball have different approaches to stealing. In fastpitch games, base runners are allowed to move as soon as the pitcher throws the ball. Furthermore, fastpitch players are allowed to steal as many bases as they wish under these regulations. However, if a runner leaves the base before a pitch, the officials have the authority to remove the runner from the game.

Stealing in a slow pitch softball game, on the other hand, is a more difficult task. A pitched ball is deemed a dead ball if it lands on home plate or if it strikes a runner. A base runner must return to his original base after a dead ball is called. If the ball does not land on the plate or is caught by a catcher, it is ruled live, and the base runner is allowed to steal a base. In a slowpitch softball game, a base runner must wait for the ball to reach home plate or be caught by the catcher before attempting to steal a base, contrary to fastpitch softball rules, slow pitch softball rules .

slow pitch softball


What are the two types of softball game?

Slow-pitch softball and fast-pitch softball are the two types of softball rules. The most popular version is slow-pitch softball, but women’s fast pitch softball is an Olympic sport and is played professionally by women.

Is softball and fastpitch the same?

Softball is divided into two types: slow-pitch and fast-pitch. Both variants share the same rules but differ in a number of ways. 2. The biggest distinction is in the way the ball is thrown.

Whats the difference between a fastpitch and slowpitch glove?

Softball gloves are all made to catch balls of the same size. Because there are more fly balls hit in slowpitch, the glove pockets are usually a little deeper. It’s easier to trap balls in the web and make catches with a deeper pocket. Fastpitch gloves, on the other hand, feature shallower webs.

Can you use a baseball bat for fastpitch softball?

You can use a baseball bat for softball if your league allows it. However, we’re not sure if such a league exists. Both types of bats are specifically developed for their respective games. Baseball bats have longer barrels and are heavier in general.


Fastpitch and Slowpitch Softball 

In conclusion, despite the fact that both fastpitch and slowpitch are softball games, they differ significantly. Both games have very different rules and are played in quite different ways! Because of the manner softballs are tossed in fastpitch softball games, offensive is used. Slowpitch games, on the other hand, emphasize defense because pitches are easier in slowpitch than in fastpitch. Despite their many differences, both games are fantastic and well worth playing!

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