Last updated on May 30, 2023
Have you ever wondered why softball is played underhand? Unlike baseball, where players pitch overhand, softball players pitch underhand. There are a few reasons why this is the case, and they all contribute to making softball a unique and exciting sport.
One reason why softball is played underhand is that thought to be is safer than the overhand style of baseball. Throwing underhand is said to put less strain on the shoulder joint than throwing overhand, which can help prevent injuries and prolong players’ careers.
- 1 Short Answer: Why Softball Is Underhand
- 2 Why Softball is Underhand
- 3 Comparing Underhand and Overhand Pitching
- 4 Is it Even Really Safer to Throw Underhand?
- 5 Is it Legal to Pitch Overhand in Softball?
Short Answer: Why Softball Is Underhand
To reiterate — softball is underhand mainly because of mechanics and safety.
Why Softball is Underhand
Basically, it all comes down to safety concerns and player development.
One of the main reasons why softball is played underhand is because it is a safer way to play the game. Softballs are larger and softer than baseballs, which means that they are less likely to cause serious injuries when they are thrown or hit. Additionally, throwing underhand puts less strain on the shoulder and elbow, which means that players are less likely to experience injuries related to overuse.
Playing underhand is also beneficial for player development, particularly for younger players who are just starting to learn the sport. Because throwing underhand is easier on the body, players are able to practice more frequently without risking injury. Additionally, throwing underhand requires a different set of mechanics than throwing overhand, which means that players need to develop a unique skillset in order to be successful. This can help players to develop their overall athleticism and coordination, which can be beneficial for their long-term development as athletes.
Comparing Underhand and Overhand Pitching
Differences in Mechanics
When it comes to softball and baseball pitching, the mechanics differ significantly. In softball, the pitcher delivers the ball underhand, while in baseball, the pitcher delivers the ball overhand. The underhand motion in softball requires the pitcher to bring the ball back and then release it in a sweeping motion, while the overhand motion in baseball requires the pitcher to bring the ball back over their head and then release it in a forward motion.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Overhand Pitching
One of the main advantages of overhand pitching in baseball is that it allows the pitcher to generate more speed and power behind the ball. This can make it more difficult for the batter to hit the ball. However, overhand pitching can also put more strain on the pitcher’s arm and shoulder, leading to a higher risk of injury.
Is it Even Really Safer to Throw Underhand?
This is not necessary a given. The stress on the shoulder may actually be very similar, according to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. And without sufficient rest, players are at risk to sustain injuries.
Is it Legal to Pitch Overhand in Softball?
OK, so you know you’re supposed to pitch underhand in softball, but what if you want to throw overhand?
The answer is no. According to Team USA’s Softball Rules, “Delivery must be underhanded with the hand below the hip and wrist not farther from the body than the elbow.” Pretty clear.
If you disobey? The batter gets a ball and the runners move up one. So don’t do it!
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