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Recreational Softball

Recreational Softball Select/Travel Softball Umpire Signals Positions and Field Terminology


What is Softball?

Softball is a game resembling baseball that is played on a smaller diamond, with a larger ball, and it is pitched underhand.  It is popular as an amateur sport in the U.S., and  has grown in popularity outside of North America over the last 50 years.  In U.S. high schools and colleges it is a popular women's sport.

Who plays Softball?

Softball is primarily for girls with boys playing baseball.  The goal of softball leagues is to teach fundamentals and skills in a fun, instructive and supportive environment. Your daughter will learn to hit, throw, scoop a grounder and catch a pop fly.  She will learn sportsmanship, friendly competition and the value of teamwork.

The Divisions in Softball are....

Softball has two distinct levels of play the recreational  league and the travel or select league.

Recreational softball leagues have divisions for girls ages 5 to 18.  You will find that division breakdowns vary based on the league.  A common age division breakdown is as follows:  T-Ball, 8U, 10U, 12U, 14U and 18U. 

This sport is based on skill level and ability rather than just age.  If your child is in a t-ball or an instructional division he or she will be assigned to a team in late March. If your child is in a competitive league (any league with an umpire) he or she will go through a draft which is normally held in March.  Once your child is drafted to a team he or she will receive a phone call from the the team's coach.

Instructional Divisions...

T-ball is for players 5 and 6 years old (6 and Under).  The emphasis in this division is fun.  The girls will learn the fundamentals of the game: throwing, catching and safety when handling a bat.  Games will be shorter in innings, and coaches will be on the field to assist with safety and game play.  All girls will bat every inning regardless of outs, and every girl gets to play in the field.   Scores will not be recorded nor will wins and losses. This allows the girls to get as much playing time as possible.

Coach pitch is for players 7 and 8 years old (8 and under).  Instruction and fun are the focus at this level. Throwing, catching, hitting, base running and sliding will be taught to your daughter.  Focus is usually on teaching the girls how to play all positions. In this instructional division  the coach pitches to his players.. Each batter is allowed three strikes or five pitches, whichever comes first. Every girl will bat once an inning and every girl gets to play in the field. Games will be a little longer than 6U games, three to five outs per inning.  Scoring may be kept, but wins and losses are not recorded. 

10U age group allows the girls to pitch against other girls. The instruction levels and game strategies are increased.  The girls still have the opportunity to play various positions.

The Competitive Divisions...

12U - Instruction and game strategies are emphasized at this level. Skills such as bunting and defense against base runners are more prevalent. Stealing bases is only permitted in 12U divisions and up.

14U This division offers a higher level of play and this age group plays using the ASA (American Softball Association) rules with very minor modifications.

18U – The 18U division plays straight ASA rules

All Star Division...

Local leagues have the option to select an All Star team from their division to enter into state and regional tournaments.  This team is established to give the kids the opportunity to experience competition.  It is a chance for selected league players to compete at a higher level through area tournaments.

Starting at nine years old, girls are eligible to play on an All Star league for the first time. Players submit their name to their coach if they’re interested in being considered for the All Star team. Prior to the end of the season, try-outs will be held for each leagues respective All Star team(s). If your daughter plays All Stars, you’ll need to buy the all star uniform!

The first round of playoffs is against the teams in your district, and the team that wins moves on to the state championship. That is as far as it goes at this age level. Once the girls are 11 and 12 years old, they can go to state and regional championships. The ultimate goal is to reach the World Series. For each age group, one city will host the playoff games for several years.


How Do I Register My Daughter?

Registration for softball can be from November through January depending on the league .  Forms for registration can be obtained on the organization's web site or at your local sporting good store.  Many organizations give you the option to register on line.   A birth certificate is required at this time to prove the age of your child.


When Is the Softball Season?

The season begins in March with practices.  T-Ball teams generally practice once a week in pre-season while other divisions will have two practices per week prior to opening day.  During season practices usually are held only once a week.  Practices for teams other than t-ball will last approximately 1 1/2 hours. In addition, there may be an additional batting cage practice time scheduled for your child. Games are scheduled to start in mid April and will end in June. Games last approximately 2 hours and are played during the week or on weekends.  T-ball will play one game a week with an occasional second. Other teams play two games a week with an occasional third. The season is approximately 10 weeks long.



Cost To Participate...

The league fees vary based on the organization and whether it is a T-ball league, instructional or competitive division. Cost can range from 65.00 to 160.00 dollars.  The fee covers such things as field rental and maintenance, umpire costs, hats, shirts, pants, socks, equipment, and other program costs.  Many organizations will give a discount for a family with multiple children enrolled in the program.


Equipment Needed....

Equipment required in softball includes protective gear, a bat, gloves, a ball, helmet, softball cleats, water bottle and a uniform

You must provide your child with a fielding glove, made of leather or similar material.  You should check with your coach or local sporting goods store to determine the size and style that your child needs.  There are a variety of gloves based on the position that your child plays. Gloves used in softball are generally larger than the ones used in baseball.


Leather glove used by players in the field.  Allows the fielder to catch the ball easier. Approximate cost: 30.00 - 300.00.

Catcher's Mitt

Leather mitt worn by catchers.  It is better padded and much wider than a fielders glove.  Approximate cost: 30.00 - 300.00.

Batting Glove

Glove worn on one or both hands by the batter. They offer additional grip when batting. A batting glove is not normally required but may be preferred. 
Approximate cost 15.00.


Helmet worn by batter.  This is a required piece of equipment used for head protection. Approximate cost 40.00.

Face Mask (optional, highly recommended)

Attaches to helmet for face protection.  Approximate cost 40.00.

Baseball cap

Designed to shade the eyes from the sun.   Baseball cap should be used for practices.
Reebok Vero FL MR9 Low II Baseball/Softball Cleat Kids


Softball shoes that increase traction on dirt or grass.  Approximate cost 30.00.

Sliding Shorts

Some players use "sliding shorts" otherwise known as compression short for other sports like soccer, football etc... These shorts help, to protect the upper thigh when sliding towards second, third, or home plate

Equipment bag

Bag used to hold and carry equipment.  Approximate cost 100.00.


The bat used by the batter is made of metal or composite materials (carbon fiber etc). It may be no more than 34 in (86 cm) long, 2.25 in (6 cm) in diameter, or 38 oz (1.08 kg) in weight.  Approximate cost 250.00.

Catcher's gear

If your daughter is a catcher, in addition to the above, you will need to buy catching gear.  Chest protector, leg protectors, and mask.  Approximate cost 100.00 - 200.00
Uniform Each team wears distinctive uniforms. The uniform includes a cap, a shirt, an undershirt, tight sliding shorts, and shorts or pants; these are the components for which standards are set.

These items can be purchased at any sporting goods store, Wal-Mart, Kmart or Target. 

6U, and 8U divisions will use an 11" ball known as a "softie ball".  Incrediball, Dudley, Wilson and others make this ball and it is softer than a normal softball.  Sometimes these balls are called practice balls. 

 If your daughter plays 10U, she will use an 11" ball.  These balls are the regular softball used by ASA and other leagues. 

The girls in 12U, 14U, 16U or 18U divisions will use a 12" ball.  These balls are the regular softball used by ASA.

Did you know....

Softball has a set number of innings, usually seven or nine. An inning is one series of both teams playing offense and defense. At the end of the nine innings the team with the highest score wins.

There are 9 players on a softball team.

The playing field is divided into the infield and outfield

The lines between the bases are 60’ apart and when joined they form a “diamond”, inside the baseline is known as the infield

Outside the baseline but inside the playing field is called the outfield.

Any ball going outside the 1st or 3rd base line is a foul ball.  In this situation the runners can not advance and the batter gets another try unless the ball was caught in the air, which translates to an out.