Softball Players Pitch Underhand Reasons
Softball pitch underhand is done because it provides safety for the elbows and arms and is easier to perform than the overhand style.
Here are three reasons why softball pitches are thrown underhand by players across all levels:
1. Less Strain On The Pitcher Body
Softball utilizes underhand pitches since they result in less strain on the pitcher's muscles, particularly the shoulder joints in it.
When the ball is released from under the hand, it puts less in your shoulder region and hands. However, performing overhand results in more stress in it as the baseballer has to unnaturally elongate their arms over their head and then release the ball with power for faster velocity.
Moreover, the softball size is bigger than the baseball counterpart, so making continuous overhand pitches will only lead to faster wear and tear of the muscles. This strain on the muscles will ultimately result in injuries and degradation of pitching effectiveness.
MLB players routinely require rotator cuff surgeries due to the wear and tear, and since the game warrants fastball pitches (especially the last innings), the game will not deter from the overhand pitching. However, softball has the advantage of protecting players with their pitching style rule.
It is also important to note that softball was invented with safety in mind so that baseballers could maintain their form during the off-season. Thus, it is no wonder that an underhand pitch is suitable for this sport.
2. Easier Than Overhand Pitching
The second reason is that the underhand pitches are easier to perform than the overhand version.
Since the underhand is more natural, new players can easily accommodate this pitch compared to the stressful overhands. This softball pitch provides an instinctive feel acting as if tossing an item.
In contrast, new players should practice a lot to perfect their overhand motion since they bring that natural feel to them. You should stress your muscles, pull and push them and move your rotator cuffs and legs at the right time to make a fine pitch.
So, because of the pitch's natural feel to throw the ball from under the hand, underhand is easier to perform and is effective for new athletes to learn them quickly. Furthermore, even new baseball players practice with underhand pitches.
3. Short Pitching Distance
The third reason for the utilization of underhand motion is the short pitching distance in softball.
With 43 feet of pitching gap between the home plate and the mound, softball has a considerably smaller distance, when compared to baseball's 60 feet and 6 inches. Moreover, some softball tournaments also employ a 35 feet gap.
The shorter distance complements the pitching speed and the under-hand motion's velocity and trajectory. The fastball in baseball can reach up to 90+ miles per hour, while the fastest pitch speed record in softball is 77 miles per hour.
If the softball batter faced overhand from the 43 feet gap, they would have fewer chances of making a run, putting them at a disadvantage. Whereas, increasing the distance will put an unfair drawback on the pitchers.
Can You Pitch Overhand In Softball?
Softball players can not pitch with an overhand motion in any games or tournaments.
The rules of softball have implemented the usage of only underhand motions for their sport. Regarding this issue, no exceptions are placed in any leagues, matches, or tournaments.
The over-hand style is only employed in baseball, is one great way of distinguishing the two similar sports. Moreover, it is not a gender issue as men's softball also throws balls with underhand motions. One notable example is Eddie Feigner, who struck out many MLB players with his underhand styles.
It's important to note that softball players have to throw a bigger ball than their baseball peers. Combining this with the issue of safety and shorter pitching space, the softball rules have been strict regarding no over-hands.