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Get Active!

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How to Do It

Softball

Girls throwing a softball

What you'll need

Glove. 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.

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.

Shoes. 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.

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!

For more information, visit: http://www.bam.gov/sub_physicalactivity/activitycards_softball.html.

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