There are 2 main versions of softball – fastpitch and slowpitch. Fastpitch is played in sub-elite and elite international, national and State competition, as well as in many Association and Club competitions. Slowpitch, which is also played competitively, is very popular as a recreational or social sport.
The main differences between fastpitch and slowpitch are:
- Slowpitch requires the pitch to arc between 6 and 12 feet off the ground at its highest point
- In fastpitch, the ball is pitched in a straight line at speed – a pitch by Aussie Steeler pitcher Adam Folkard was recorded at 136.79km per hour.
- Slowpitch can be played by teams of 9 or 10, whereas traditional fastpitch is played by teams of 9
- Slowpitch can be played by mixed gender teams. In OzPitch, a recreational version of slowpitch, in mixed gender teams with a 5:5 ratio, men and women alternate at bat
- Slowpitch bats are usually heavier than fastpitch bats
- Slowpitch baseline and pitching distances are larger
In recent years many modifications of both games have developed to meet the demands of the diverse range of softball participants.