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Baseball to Softball Transition

May 19, 2009
Hello Everyone,

I have a daughter who has played baseball since she was 6. it is now her last year on the small diamond and she is thinking about transitioning to softball next year. What are some of the adjustments she will face?

In our state, MS & HS prohibits girls from playing on the school baseball teams. She has played at a high level and regulary sees high 60's/ low 70's pitching and throws that herself.

What are some of the differences between the 2? Do batters and pitchers have to wear those face shields?

I figure we'll try to search out a decent travel team for the fall to help with the transition after the summer AS season is over.


Amy in AZ.

Super Moderator
May 7, 2008
I do believe that all HS state org. require the face masks on the batting helmets. I haven't heard of a state requiring face masks at pitching, yet.

She may want to research the types of injuries we are seeing in softball, though and see why players are going to the mask.

I bet she will love softball and her hitting probably won't be effected.

Oh, make certain that you get her a decent bat, some are $300.00 - but they may be worth it. Also, there are many good bats on Ebay.
May 13, 2008
Welcome to fastpitch! I don't know if this is a Yogism or not, but I think that you'll find that the similarities between baseball and softball are different. With the shorter base paths there is more of an emphasis on the short game. This means that instead of having 4 seconds to gun down a runner, you only have 3 seconds. A bobble means a fast runner is safe.

Similarly, the distance of the pitching plate is only 40'-43' from home plate; so the ball, while coming in slower, still gets to the batter in a very short time. For example, a baseball thrown 70 mph from 60.5' takes 0.589 seconds to reach home. A softball thrown 47 mph from 40' takes 0.580 seconds. In baseball the pitches start high and move down as they approach the plate. In softball the pitch starts lower and stays lower (generally).

The good news is that the baseball and softball swing are the same. So, assuming that she has good mechanics she should be able to adjust. I'd suggest lots of live BP. Also work on bunting and if she is a lefty, learn to slap.

As far as fielding goes, because of the speed of the game she won't be able to sit back on even a hard grounder. She'll have to learn to charge the ball and quickly transition the ball with a quick release. An excellent resource is Howard Kobata's fielding videos on Howard Kobata Teaches Defensive Softball Skills

Good luck!


Super Moderator
Staff member
May 26, 2008
Dallas, Texas
The difference between baseball and softball relate to the size of the field. Baseball players always underestimate the importance of the geometry in the game. Everything in softball is about ten times quicker than in baseball.

Bases are 90 ft in baseball, 60 feet apart in softball. In baseball, it takes a runner about 4.3 seconds to go from base to base. In softball, it is 3.0 seconds or less. This translates into a need for greater skill in fielding and throwing than in baseball. E.g., in baseball, you'll often see an infielder field a grounder, adjust the ball to get the seams right, double pump, and then get the runner out by three steps. In softball, the infielders have to learn to pick up the ball and throw. They have to start their throwing motion as soon as the ball enters the glove. The same for the outfield.

I'll give you an example: On a relay after a double from the CF to 3B, the 3B coach watches the alignment of the players for the throw. If there is one mechanical mistake (e.g., throwing to the right side of the relay instead of the left side), then the runner takes 3B. It usually won't even be close pat 3B.

The reaction time required to hit a softball thrown at 60 mph is the same as for a 90 mph baseball pitch because the pitchers mound is 20 feet closer to home. Therefore, her swing will need to be compact. If she has a hitch or loop, she won't hit the ball. If she plays HS softball, she will face pitchers throwing 60 mph and above.

Pitchers in softball are generally more skilled than baseball pitchers. A good pitcher in softball generally have had six to eight times more experience pitching than that of a baseball pitcher. It isn't unusual for the good ones to pitch 7 games a week in summer ball.

You will like the speed of the games. With a couple of good pitchers on the mound backed by a good defense, a full seven inning game often last less than an hour. My DD's personal best was 45 minutes in an 18U game.

It is a great game. After watching softball, watching baseball is like watching paint dry.

May 13, 2008
Ray and I were obviously typing our replies at the same time. Its funny how we said almost the same thing.
May 12, 2008
Yes. Excellent advice. Baseball is a fine way to prepare for softball. Especially if the level of softball available in your area is low. Try out for the best fp travel teams in your area. Worst thing you could do would be get her on a team that bored her. Do NOT let anyone tell you the fp swing is different from the bb swing. Without taking a lot of time comparing video, you can shut them up by saying, "That's not what Mike Candrea says".
May 19, 2009
Baseball to softball

Thanks for the responses. She is currently on the small diamond (45/60) which is what I believe softball is played on. I would expect the speed of the game to slow down once once she makes the transition to SB. I agree that 13/14 baseball can be pretty ugly on the 60/90 but I have to believe that 12U tournament ball on the 45/60 has to be played much faster in BB than SB? The 65-75 mph pitching on a 45 mound gets there pretty fast and goes back out the other way even faster.

Mark H, you point out two of my 3 biggest fears. First that someone will try to change her rotational swing and second that she will be bored. I really have to find her a competetive team to play with. The rec, MS & HS softball I've seen be played in our area is painful to watch.

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