Softball is a popular American pastime. Whether you are playing recreational softball or competitive softball, you will need a few basic pieces of equipment. Use the equipment specified by the Amateur Softball Association of America to ensure that it is safe and conforms to the rules of the game.
The ball is the most basic piece of equipment in softball. The ball must be smooth and have a regular surface. Amateur Softball Association of America regulations allow for the ball to be covered in either leather or a synthetic material. Depending on the level of play, balls range from a minimum circumference of 10 inches to a maximum circumference of 16 inches. Depending on the level of play, balls range in weight from 5.5 ounces to 9 ounces. Balls certified by the Amateur Softball Association of America display the association's logo, indicating that they meet association standards.
Next to the ball, the bat is the most essential piece of equipment. The Amateur Softball Association of America requires that bats be no longer than 34 inches and no more than 2.25 inches in diameter at the widest point. The maximum weight for bats is 38 ounces. All bats used in play sanctioned by the Amateur Softball Association of America must be included on the association's list. If the bat was manufactured prior to 2000, the umpire may allow it if he thinks it would comply with current performance standards.
Any players playing the field are allowed to wear a glove. Only the catcher and first baseman are allowed to wear a baseball mitt. A mitt is a larger glove with additional padding that protects these players from especially hard throws. In fast pitch softball, the pitcher's glove can be any color other than white, gray or yellow.
In adult fast-pitch softball and modified-pitch softball, players must wear a helmet approved by the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment. Catchers must wear a face mask. Depending on the level of play, they may also be required to wear a helmet and throat protector. Players are allowed to wear sliding pants -- tight-fitting pants with protective padding -- which can be long or short, but all players must wear sliding pants in a matching color and style.
- Amateur Softball Association of America: Official Rules of Softball
- Complete Guide to Slowpitch Softball; Rainer Martens and Julie Martens