Why Do Softball Players Pitch Underhand?

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While baseball and softball share many similarities, there are also some very obvious distinctions between the two sports, not the least of which is that in softball you throw underhand.

Pitchers in softball throw underhand for a variety of reasons. From a purely mechanical perspective, throwing underhand is much simpler than throwing overhand since it puts far less strain on the shoulder joint.

Softball was initially intended to be a game that could be played indoors during the winter months when it was too cold to play on a diamond, one that was substantially slower paced and “safer” than baseball.

In the sections that follow, we delve a little deeper into the specifics of this decision-making, highlight a few advantages of softball underhand pitching, and even briefly discuss the game’s history to give you a better understanding of why it differs from baseball.

Let’s get started right away!


What Is The History Of Underhand Pitching?

While softball and the underhanded pitch have come to be synonymous, this was not always the case. In actuality, overhand pitches were absolutely forbidden for baseball players until 1884. It didn’t take long for the concept of indoor baseball to emerge.

It is understandable to speculate as to why underhand pitch has persisted in the softball world for so long. Many players were still using the underhand pitch in the game when the overhand pitch was made legal in 1884.

The popularity of indoor baseball as a casual, low-stakes activity was growing at the same time. Softball continued to use the underhand pitch, in part because the ball was used in the game, whereas baseball later changed to be a game dominated by overhand pitches.

In its early years, the game was often slower-paced and was regarded as a game that could be safely played in relaxed situations. This was especially true during the winter when it was impossible to walk outside and play in a field or a garden.

Softball, or more precisely “indoor baseball,” was a fantastic way for committed players to maintain their physical fitness in social settings. The pitching generally represents the introduction of a play mechanism that was generally a safer alternative to baseball.


What Are The Reasons For Underhand Pitching?

Why have you been playing softball in the same manner for so long if it’s such a wonderful sport? The finest softball pitching technique is underhand. It is secure, has a close pitch distance, and is easier on your shoulders.


  • Safer

Because it is safer, softball is played with hands.

Softball is an underhand sport, thus instead of using a bat to strike the ball, players instead throw it toward the batter. This is due to two factors:

First off, softball is significantly safer than baseball and other outdoor sports because it is played indoors.

Second, there is less chance of damage if someone misses their target because the ball can be thrown more slowly than a bat can be swung.


  • Short Pitch Distance

Due to the close proximity of home plate to the pitcher’s mound, softball is played underhanded.

The distance between the pitcher’s rubber and home plate is much closer on a softball field than it is on a baseball field because of this.

Because of the close proximity of the pitcher and batter, you can play against almost anyone. No specialized equipment is required, and the rules are clear enough to be explained in a few minutes.

That does not mean that it is without difficulties. Pitchers and catchers alike must practice a lot to perfect their form and aim. But once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be able to effortlessly hit all sorts of pitches.


  • Less Wear and Tear on the Shoulder

The strain that playing baseball might put on your shoulders can be avoided by playing underhand softball.

Instead of throwing the ball overhand like in baseball, underhand softball players throw the ball underhand. This lessens the strain put on the muscles and joints in your shoulders, which can cause pain or damage if you play for an extended period of time.

Underhand softball is a fantastic fitness option if you’re searching for something enjoyable that won’t tax your body.


Can Softball Players Throw Overhand?

Rarely do we think of softball when we think of overhand pitching. There is a valid explanation for this, too. For pitchers in the game, overhand pitching is expressly forbidden and unlawful. This begs the crucial question, “Why not let overhand pitching?”

All things considered, overhand pitching would be fantastic in softball from a pitching standpoint. Pitchers can throw with a lot more force when using this motion, and because of the increased speed that results, the ball can cover more ground in less time.

The batter may be affected, which is the sole drawback to this. This would give the batter even less time to react to the ball due to the close proximity of the pitcher and hitter, which can significantly disadvantage them and possibly put them in danger.

All things considered, it’s crucial to remember that overhand throws are solely prohibited for the pitcher. The overhand pitching technique can therefore be used to toss the ball by other players on the field. However, a pitcher must hold back from doing so in order to protect the batter.



A combination of “that’s how the game was intended,” “that’s how it’s always been done,” and “that’s the way that makes the most sense for this sport” can be used to explain why softball players toss underhand.

We hope that by shedding some light on the subject, you now have a better understanding of underhand pitching in the game of softball.

Clark Harris

Clark Harris

"I live and breath Softball"

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