Softball Pitch vs Baseball Pitch: The 5 Key Differences

Last updated on July 20, 2023

If you’re a fan of baseball or softball, you may have noticed that the pitches in each sport are quite different. While both sports involve throwing a ball towards the batter, the way the ball is thrown and the speed at which it travels can vary significantly. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between softball pitches and baseball pitches.

A key difference between softball and baseball pitches is the type of pitches that are commonly used in each sport. While baseball pitchers may use a variety of pitches, including fastballs, curveballs, and sliders, softball pitchers typically rely on just a few different types of pitches. These include the fastball, changeup, and riseball. Additionally, softball pitchers may use a windmill motion to generate more power and speed in their pitches.

Field Size and Dimensions

When it comes to softball and baseball, one of the most obvious differences is the size of the playing field. While both sports are played on a diamond-shaped field, there are some significant differences in the size of a softball field and that of a baseball field.

The pitching circle in softball is also smaller than the pitching mound in baseball. In softball, the pitching circle has a diameter of 16 feet, while in baseball, the pitching mound is a raised area that is 18 feet in diameter and 10 inches higher than home plate. The pitching rubber in baseball is 60 feet, 6 inches away from home plate, while in softball, it is 43 feet away. Even though they’re pitching from different distances, that actually causes the pitches to be much more alike; creating similar reaction times for both baseball and softball hitters.

Home plate is also a key component of both softball and baseball fields. In both sports, home plate is a pentagon-shaped plate that is 17 inches wide at the back and 8.5 inches wide at the front. In softball, the plate is set at ground level, while in baseball, it is raised slightly above the ground.

Differences in Pitching Style

Pitching in softball and baseball is quite different. In softball, the pitching technique is underhand, while in baseball, it is overhand. The difference in pitching style affects the speed, accuracy, and movement of the ball.

Injury Risk

Ever wondered how come you see the same pitcher going game after game for a softball team, then see their baseball counterpart use four different pitchers just to get through one game? This is because softball pitching is underhand, which is a more natural motion for the shoulder. In contrast, overhand pitching in baseball can put repeated strain on a pitcher’s biceps tendon, which connects to their shoulder. This can lead to injuries such as rotator cuff tears, elbow tendinitis, and shoulder impingement.

Softball pitchers are allowed to pitch more games in a row than baseball pitchers. This is because underhand pitching puts less strain on the body. In softball, pitchers can pitch up to three games in a day, while in baseball, pitchers are usually limited to one game per day. However, softball pitchers can still suffer from injuries if they overuse their arm or pitch with incorrect technique.

To reduce the risk of injury, it is essential to warm up properly before pitching and use proper technique. Softball pitchers should focus on their leg drive and hip rotation to generate power, while baseball pitchers should focus on their arm motion and release point. Both softball and baseball pitchers should also work on their flexibility and strength to prevent injuries.

Ball Size and Speed

Ball Size

A major factor affecting the speed of the pitch is the size and weight of the ball. Softballs are larger and heavier than baseballs, making them more difficult to throw at high speeds; the larger size of a softball makes it harder to cut through the air, which puts an increased focus on spin-rate. The weight of a softball is around 6.25 ounces, while a baseball weighs around 5.25 ounces.

Speed Comparison

On average, baseball pitches are faster than softball pitches. The current average pitch speed in Major League Baseball (MLB) is around 93.9 miles per hour (MPH), while the average softball pitch speed is around 60 MPH. However, it’s important to note that the speed varies depending on several factors, including the age and skill level of the pitcher.

In fastpitch softball, the fastest pitches can reach up to approximately 75 miles per hour. This is comparable to the speed of some professional baseball pitchers. A 75 mph softball pitch actually gives less reaction time for the hitter than a 95 mph baseball pitch! Here’s a video breaking down the science behind it all:


Are softball and baseball pitches the same?

Softball and baseball pitches are not the same. The pitching distance in softball is shorter than in baseball, which causes softball pitches to feel comparable to baseball for the hitter. However, softball pitches are slower than baseball pitches due to the larger and heavier ball, as well as the underhanded throwing technique. The average softball pitch speed ranges from around 45 to 65 miles per hour, while the average baseball pitch speed is higher, ranging from around 80 to 95 miles per hour.

Why can softball pitchers pitch every day?

Softball pitchers can pitch every day because they throw underhand, which puts less stress on their arms and shoulders than overhand throwing. This means that softball pitchers are less likely to experience arm injuries than baseball pitchers. In addition, softball games are typically shorter than baseball games, which means that softball pitchers are less likely to experience fatigue from pitching.

Why do softball pitchers throw underhand?

Softball pitchers throw underhand because it puts less stress on their arms and shoulders than overhand throwing. This means that softball pitchers are less likely to experience arm injuries than baseball pitchers. Read our article explaining the real reason softball pitching is underhand: “THIS Is the Real Reason Softball Pitching is Underhand”

Why is there no pitcher’s mound in softball?

There is no pitcher’s mound in softball because the pitching distance is shorter than in baseball. The pitcher’s mound is used in baseball to give the pitcher a higher point from which to throw, which allows them to throw harder and with more accuracy. However, in softball, the shorter pitching distance means that pitchers do not need a mound to throw effectively. Additionally, the lack of a pitcher’s mound in softball makes it easier for fielders to make plays on bunts and ground balls.


Both softball and baseball pitching require significant skill and practice to perfect, but many people believe that softball pitching is easier due to the underhand motion. However, this is not necessarily true as softball pitchers still need to have excellent control, speed, and accuracy to succeed.

Overall, the differences between softball pitching and baseball pitching make both sports unique and exciting to watch. Whether you prefer the overhand motion of baseball or the underhand motion of softball, both sports offer their own challenges and rewards.

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