SOFTBALL ACTIVITY CARD
Parts of the Body Worked
Upper & Lower Legs
Shoulder & Neck
Wrist & Forearm
Do you want to be a softball all-star?
You'll need a glove that fits your hand and skill level, and is geared to the position you play. There's a lot of truth to the old saying, "Fits like a glove" — if you're glove is too big, or small, you may have problems catching and fielding the ball. For beginners, gloves that are about 9 1⁄2 to 11 inches long are a good start.
You can't play without a bat and ball! Try aluminum or other non-wooden bats — they are lighter and easier to handle. As for the ball, you can find softballs at most stores that sell sports equipment.
Also, for organized team play, you'll need a pair of shoes with rubber cleats — they dig into the ground and can give you more traction while running the bases or fielding a ball. If you're playing a pick-up game with your friends, a pair of sneakers will do. If you're a catcher, you'll need special protective gear like a helmet with a facemask, shin guards, and a chest protector.
And remember, always wear a helmet to protect your head while at the plate, or on base!
Play it Safe
Before you hit the field, WARM UP! Get all of your muscles ready to play by stretching before every game.
Whether you're in the field or up to bat, don't forget to wear your safety gear in games and in practices. A helmet is important when batting, waiting to bat, or running the bases. If you're a catcher, make sure you wear your protective gear during all practices and games, and wear it properly — have your coach or a parent check it out for you. Don't wear jewelry like rings, watches, or necklaces — they could cut you (or someone else), or get caught when you're runnin' the bases.
Did you know that an umpire could call you out for throwing your bat? Well, they can! And, it's not just the out you have to worry about — it's your teammates' safety! Always drop your bat next to your side in the batters box before you head for first base.
Be a team player — always know where your teammates are before throwing the ball or swinging your bat. Make sure they are ready and have their glove up as a target before you throw the ball to them. Call loudly for every fly ball or pop up in the field, even if you don't think any of your teammates are close by. Teams that play together win together!
How to Play
Softball is a game of speed, skill, and smarts! Whether you're looking to play in your backyard or at the state championships, softball is a great team sport that everyone can play!
Many of the skills in softball are similar to those in baseball, but there are some unique differences that make softball a game of its own!
Did you know that a softball isn't really soft at all, and that it's almost two times bigger than a baseball? Because a softball is kinda' big, it doesn't go as far when you hit it. But, keep your eye on the ball — a softball can sometimes cross the plate at a very fast speed! Even with their underhanded pitching style (unlike baseball's overhand style), softball pitchers can put a lot of heat on the ball. Most beginners play in slow pitch leagues where the hitting game is having a sharp eye and timing your swing. Keep your eyes peeled for pitches that are shoulder high and that drop right over the plate — they are perfect for driving into the field.
If you're interested in playing at a more competitive level, fast-pitch softball is what you'll see — you can steal bases and bunt, and you only need nine players to get a game going. If you're playing a pickup game with your friends, you'll probably play slow pitch softball. You only need ten players to field a team, but invite as many people as you want — it's more fun that way!
Did you know that it's easier to hit a home run in outer space? That's because the density (thickness) of the air on earth plays a role in how far a ball travels when it's been hit. The particles that make up air on earth are close together — this makes it difficult for things (like a softball) to travel through it. If you took away the air altogether, the ball would keep going. In places like Colorado where the altitude (height of the land above water level) is higher, the air is thinner, and a ball can fly much farther. Under these conditions, a hit that might be a routine fly ball can sail over the fence with no problem.
Softball, including slow pitch and fast pitch, is the #1 participation team sport in the United States with more than 40 million players.
In its early stages, softball had lots of funny names such as kitten ball, mush ball, and big ball.
The U.S. won the gold medal in softball's first Olympic appearance in the 1996 Atlanta Games.
- Division of Population Health/School Health Branch
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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