Unlike rugby, which was
created during a soccer game, softball was created as its own game after a
football match between Harvard and Yale but is considered a variant of
baseball. Although softball is a sport that is played internationally, not many
people know its roots. The origins of softball is an important piece of
information to know. Just like in all sports there are a set of rules you need
to follow, some are league specific while others are general. There are many
techniques when it comes to playing softball so no two people play the same
Softball was invented in
1887 by a reporter, known as George Hancock, at the Farragut Boat Club. After
the first game, Hancock and his friends did not expect softball to become such
a well-known game with more than forty million players in the United States
alone (sportsdestinations.com 2012). Different variations of the sport appeared
over time and it slowly spread. During World War II, American soldiers played
and taught the game on the fields which helped softball gain an international
Today, softball is played
internationally at a variety of levels ranging from international leagues to
school leagues, and recreational leagues. Softball was introduced to the
Olympics in 1996 for women only, but it was removed in the 208 Summer Olympics.
At a regional level, colleges in the United States play under the National
Collegiate Athletic Association. It is further broken up into divisions,
Division I, Division II, and Division III. Division I softball teams are
considered athletic powers and have advanced facilities. In the United States,
there is one women’s fastpitch league. It is known as the National Pro
Fastpitch (NPF). There are currently five teams, the Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits,
Shougang Eagles, Scrap Yard Dawgs, USSSA Pride. On Guam, we have the Guam
Softball Association and many club teams that represent Guam nationwide. At a
high school level, female students play under the Independent Interscholastic
Athletic Association of Guam (IIAAG).
The objective of softball
is to score runs by hitting the ball and running around the four bases. On each
team, there are nine to ten players. While in a game you are given the
opportunity to play offense and defense. While on offense you are able to use a
variety of techniques to try and outsmart your opponent and score points. When
playing defense your goal is to try and stop the other team from scoring.
Umpires, the game official, can eject a player or a coach from a game if they
break a rule and they feel it’s necessary. They are also able to suspend
players or coaches, this means that the player or coach will not be able to
take part in two to three games depending on the severity of the offense.
While there are things
you are able to do, there are also things you aren’t able to do. A player is
not allowed to fake tag a runner. A fake tag occurs when a fielder, a player on
the field, who doesn’t have the ball tags the runner and causes them to slow
down or stop. A player is not able to steal a base before the ball is released
from the pitcher’s hand.
There are seven kinds of
pitches in softball. They are called the fastball, changeup, slider, screwball,
drop, rise, and curve. When playing the offense you are able to hit the ball in
two different ways. A player can do a full swing, this requires them to do a
full range of motion (Diagram 1) or they can bunt. A bunt occurs when a player
does not swing through and meets the ball at a specific point. In softball, in
order for a player to steal a base, the ball has to leave the pitchers hand
before they make an attempt.
There are annual
competitions. At a global level, there is the World Baseball Softball Confederation.
At a national level, there is the National Pro Fastpitch League. Regionally,
there is the Asia-Pacific Regional Tournament.
Softball is a universal
sport, it is enjoyed by people of all ages and races. Its roots are just as
important as the game itself.