As we previously talked about the different leagues you can play in (Men's only, Women's only, and Co-Ed) there are also different types of formats within those leagues.
Overhand Fast Pitch - This is mostly played by the all Men's leagues that are more athletic and skilled than the average man.
Underhand Fast Pitch - This is mostly played by all Women's leagues that are more athletic and skilled than the average woman.
Overhand Slow Pitch - This is played by every league but more commonly with all men's leagues. The idea of overhand slow pitch is that the ball must be pitched with an arc unlike the overhand fast pitch.
Underhand Slow Pitch - This is the most common format of them all. Played ball all leagues but more popular with the Co-Ed leagues. The ball must be pitched with an arc.
Now depending on which league you join and the format of that league the equipment changes. Lets start with the Softball Gloves. There are various gloves to choose from. Gloves are for every gender as well as the format you choose to play. The pricing can also range from $20 to well over $150. This would all depend on if you are looking for Slow Pitch Gloves, Fast Pitch Gloves, or the ones that are dual format. The best option is to go to a local sporting goods store and see what fits you properly. After that it would be best to look online and find the best price. Here is an example of a great mid price range glove.
Mizuno's Franchise slowpitch glove series is constructed from pre-oiled, Java Leather that is game ready and long lasting. Hi-Low Lacing maintains the integrity of a fully laced web while providing added flexibility for easier closure. The Parashock palm pad provides added protection while the PowerLock closure ensures a secure fit for maximum performance. 12.5 Inch Model Tartan X Web Pre-oiled, Java Leather Hi-Low Lacing Parashock Palm Pad PowerLock Closure -
Next we have bats. Bats are the same as gloves, in that every bat is for a different format. Besides Fast Pitch Bats or Slow Pitch Bats you will also find that softball bats vary in length and weight as
well. However unlike gloves, most leagues require you have a bat that is USSSA Certified. When looking for a bat you want to find one in you budget. Bats can range in price from $25 - $300+. Women should look for a bat that is lighter than men ranging in the weight of 16oz - 28oz and length of 28in - 32in depending on their size, ability, and league. Men will go with something heavier in weight and with more length, usually in the range of 30in -36in and a weight of 24oz - 30 oz also depending on their size, ability, and league. A good bat for both Men and Women starting out and not expensive is this:
There is always other equipment that you need such as Softballs themselves which also have differences for Fast Pitch Softballs and Slow Pitch Softballs as well as for men and women only leagues. Everyone should have at least one softball, but usually the team captain gets these. Just as it is up to the captain to have a catchers mask for the team.
The only other pieces of equipment you should purchase is Softball Cleats. There are specific style cleats for softball and at most parks they can not be metal. When it comes to finding the right pair of cleats the first two things that should be looked at first are the comfort and style. Once you find a brand that is comfortable and a style you like then you can start searching by price. Comfort is the most important factor, you need to protect you feet as you could be doing a lot of running. The style is important too, if you don't like they way they look on you that mentally may make them feel less comfortable than they are.
Last you may want to look at a bag to carry all your equipment in. This is more of a personal preference. Some people use a traditional backpack or gym bag while others get the full bat and equipment bag big enough to carry the whole teams equipment. We recommend the following one. Not expensive and plenty of room for what you need to carry.
The Worth Sports BKPK2 is an equipment backpack for either baseball or softball. The bag holds 2 bats and has 3 total compartments along with padded shoulder straps.
We hope this has helped you learn more about the equipment needed for Softball. Our goal on everything we write, even with our Golf Course reviews, is to educate everyone and provide everyone with information.