Is Baseball Actually Harder than Softball?


Chris Bird

Size comparison of a softball next to a baseball.

Anica Graney , Editor-in-Chief 

The age-old question that has turned athlete against athlete, brother against sister: which sport is more difficult, baseball or softball?

Baseball players and softball players have been battling against each other since the formation of each sport, each trying to prove that their sport is more difficult to compete in than the other. As a softball player with 10 years of experience under my belt, I can attest to the many arguments I’ve had with baseball players who claim baseball is a harder sport.

Here are some facts for both sports:

Baseball is played on a 400 ft. diamond from home plate to center field; bases are 90 ft. apart, and the pitcher’s mound is 60 ft. from home plate at an elevated level. Baseballs are white, nine inches in circumference, and pitched overhand at over 100 mph at the major league level.

Softball is played on a 200 ft. diamond from home plate to center field; bases are 60 ft. apart, and the pitcher’s mound is 43 ft. from home plate. Softballs are yellow, 12 inches in circumference, and pitched underhand at over 65 mph at the professional level.

At first glance it looks like baseball would be more difficult than softball, right?


Softball and baseball are very similar in appearance, but their differences are what makes them more challenging than the other.

One of the most difficult skills to learn out of all sports is hitting a baseball. The speeds reached at the major league level are almost impossible to hit off of. Softballs aren’t thrown as fast, but the pitching distance is shorter than in baseball. That being said, I do concede that by pure pitching speed and reaction time alone, hitting a baseball is a bit more difficult than a softball.

That’s where softball adds in the rise ball. Speed is all good and fine for a while until a good hitter gets up to bat and times a pitch up just right. Both sports add movement to their pitches to throw batters off even more. There are variations of drop balls, curve balls, screw balls, and changeups in both softball and baseball, but softball has something that baseball traditionally does not: the rise ball, a devastating pitch when used in combination with other pitches. Based on hitting moving pitches alone, I’d say that softball has baseball beat in that category.

Now for homeruns. Baseball is played on a much larger field than softball and needs almost double the length of a softball field to hit a homerun. However, baseballs are much lighter and travel much farther once hit due to the high speed of the pitch. Softballs are much heavier and denser, but only have to travel 200 ft. to get out of the park. With that analyzed, I’d say that both sports are equal in difficulty of hitting a homerun.

The execution of each game is quite different as well. Softball plays what is known as a short game. Almost every softball team implements bunting or slapping during a game, which is something baseball does not normally do. In fact, slapping is something that is completely unique to softball, making it more complex than baseball.

Ultimately, the battle of which is more difficult is objective and there’s no clear answer. But at least there’s one thing that both baseball and softball players can agree on: soccer sucks.