page title icon Softball Vs Baseball: Is Baseball Harder than Softball?

Baseball and softball athletes or fans have a favorable opinion of their preferred sport. But those who are interested in both sports tend to compare them and wonder which one is more difficult.

Is baseball harder than softball? Both athletes and enthusiasts ask this age-old question. The similarities between both sports draw the attention of most sports lovers to this question.

Baseball may look like a harder sport to play if you consider the dimensions of the playground, the circumference of the ball, and the speed at which it is pitched. But is it so? We will find it out in this article.

Throwing a Softball Vs Baseball

Throwing a Softball vs. Baseball

Is softball harder to chuck than baseball? Or, is it the other way around?

If you’d like to find out different opinions of other sports enthusiasts, you can also visit platforms like Quora, Reddit, etc where people frequently pose or answer questions such as this, based on their experience.

Pitching is the primary aspect that defines throwing in both sports. When it comes to chucking a softball and a baseball, the primary differences include the following:

  • In a baseball game, balls are thrown overhand, whereas balls are thrown underhand in a softball game. Thus, there is a visible difference in the mechanics.
  • While throwing a softball, a player focuses on a good backswing, strong leg drive, and hip rotation. 
  • For pitching a ball in the desired manner, baseball players rely on hip-shoulder separation, lead leg extension, and trunk acceleration.
  • Softball players control the speed of the ball with their fingertips. As a result, the speed variation can be dramatic. This explains why a softball batter gets almost half the time to react compared to a baseball batter.

Apart from these points, you might also want to consider the variety of pitches available for both softball and baseball.

The popular pitches for softball include the following:

  • Rise ball
  • Curveball
  • Drop ball
  • Changeup
  • Fastball

Speaking of the range of pitches, baseball has a much longer list of options. It involves the following names:

  • Splitter
  • Slurve
  • Slider
  • Sinker
  • Screwball
  • Palmball
  • Knuckle curve
  • Gyr-ball
  • Forkball 
  • Eephus 
  • Curveball
  • Cutter
  • Changegap

As it is evident from the above, baseball has a wider range of pitching options than a softball. On this basis, it wins the pitching comparison round by a huge margin and takes a 1-0 lead.

Size of the Field

Softball vs Basebball: Size of the field

When it comes to baseball and softball comparison, the size of the field for either sport assumes importance. Though the actual size of the field for both sports varies depending on the age of the players of the participating teams, the size of a softball field is relatively smaller compared to the one used for playing a baseball game

Fields are laid out for both sports in a similar fashion with differences in the distance between bases. 

  • Bases on baseball and softball fields are 90 feet and 60 feet apart from each other respectively.
  • This is the standard distance between the bases on both baseball and softball fields on the Olympic stage.

Going by the data, it is understandable why there have been 331 no-hitters in college baseball against 333 no-hitters in college softball. Thus, softball scores a point over baseball based on the size of the field to level the score at 1-1.

Softball Vs Baseball Pitching

Softball vs Baseball Pitching

Is softball pitching harder than baseball pitching?

To find an answer to this question, you need to pay attention to the pitching techniques used by the players in both sports. If you gather information about this topic, you are likely to come across the following points:

  • Baseball players generate high-low formation via an elevated mound at the time of pitching which gives a batter a slightly higher time to react in comparison to softball.
  • In softball, players throw a ball at a speed of 60mph as per a radar gun and stand at a distance of just 43 feet from the batter. The speed may go up to 70 mph, depending on the pitch and pitchers.
  • In baseball, though, a pitcher stands at a distance of 60 feet 6 inches and throws the ball at a speed of 90mph as measured on a radar gun.

When you take the speeds of balls in both sports into consideration, coupled with the distance between the bases, you would understand why hitting a softball is harder than a baseball.

If a softball pitcher pitches a ball at 70 mph, it is likely to get to the home plate quickly compared to a baseball pitch at 100 mph. ESPN’s Sport Science advocates this theory.

As a result, softball players get a reaction time of 0.025 seconds against a reaction time of .055 seconds that baseball players generally get. Mathematically, the former is almost half the latter.

Thus, in the softball vs baseball pitching comparison, softball emerges as a clear winner between the two sports. As a result, it takes a 2-1 lead over baseball.

Softball Vs Baseball Equipment

Softball vs. Baseball Equipment

Both sports involve the use of bats, balls, and gloves.

From the standpoint of baseball vs softball size, you are likely to come across the following points:

  • The current size of softballs ranges between 11 and 12 inches, whereas they weigh about seven ounces.
  • The size of a baseball is nine inches, whereas its approximate weight is five ounces.

The following points account for the differences between the gloves used in baseball and softball:

  • The pockets of most softball gloves are deeper than baseball gloves.
  • Though pockets for baseball are much longer than softballs, they are shallow compared to softballs.

While drawing a baseball vs softball bat comparison, you might want to take into account the details given below:

  • On average, softball bats are longer than baseball bats.
  • The larger diameter of a baseball bat allows a batter to strike the ball well. 
  • Softball bats are made of composite and aluminum alloy involving a layered material. 
  • Though alloy or composite baseball bats are available, professional leagues such as MLB use wooden baseball.

Here, it seems that none of the sports have a clear advantage over the other. As both have almost the same share of pluses and minuses, you can safely assume the competition between to be a tie on the equipment front. Thus the lead figures for comparison between both sports remain unchanged at 2-1.

Game Length

Softball vs baseball: Game Length

Is baseball or softball harder from the standpoint of game length?

Considering the number of innings for each sport can help you get the answer to this question. 

On average, a baseball game lasts for nine innings. A softball game, on the other hand, lasts only for seven innings. In general, a game with lesser innings is more challenging for players than the one that involves more innings.

Thus, softball scores yet another brownie point for the aspect of game length and takes a 3-1 lead over baseball with another victory.

The Final Tally: Which Sport Is Harder?

Taking into account the final tally, softball leads baseball by 2 points with a 3-1 lead. In other words, softball is harder to play than baseball. This answers the following age-old question on the level of difficulty between both sports based on facts. 

We have compared both sports based on five distinct parameters. It resulted in 3 points for softball, a solitary point in the favor of baseball, and a tie between both sports. From the above, it stands out that the less reaction time and the other criteria listed above account for the reasons why softball is harder than baseball. Because softball is more challenging, it looks more engaging in the eyes of its fans. This explains why in 2019 the viewership for college softball broke all the previous records.


John is the leading Product Review Specialist at 99sportz. He breathes Soccer, Baseball & Tennis and speaks fluently on all aspects of these sports. With his in-depth understanding of the sports, he curates product reviews & buying guides related to his idols sports. Know more about John Brown on 99Sportz About page.