Softball – The Equipment Involved In The Sport
There are several equipment required in the game of Softball. These include a bat, a ball, uniforms, gloves, among others. The use of protective gear is also done in the game which also includes the use of protective helmets that are used by the players of the offensive team. The defensive catcher also makes use of the shin guards and the chest protector.
Though the name of the game is Softball, essentially speaking, the softballs are not really soft in nature. The ball is available in different sizes. This primarily depends upon how the play has been classified. The use of a ball with 12-inch circumference is generally made in case of a softball game where the use of a slow pitch is being made. At times, some of the balls that are used have a raised seam while the other balls may not have such a seam. In most of the cases, the use of a yellow or a white leather is generally made in order to cover the ball. The ball is generally covered by leather in a shape of figure-8. The sewing of the two colors of leather is usually ensured in a red color. The material that is used to make the core of the ball is generally made up of kapok which is a long fiber. The mixture of cork and rubber or the mixture of polyurethane is also used in some of the cases. The use of other approved material can also be made in this respect.
In most of the games of softball, it is primarily the yellow balls that are becoming more and more common. Although, the white balls are also allowed but they are preferred more in case of a slow pitch and especially they are preferred in cases where the game is being played by women. The tradition has always been to play this game with a ball having a circumference of 16 inches at the time the game was first invented that is in Chicago. The ball which is as large as this is generally soft in its texture. Therefore, when the use of this large sized ball is being made to play in the game, the fielders generally do not find it important to make use of the protective gloves.
The materials that are used to make the bat used in this game are wood, metal or composite materials such as carbon fiber, etc. There are different sizes in which the bats are available and in most of the cases, this size is not greater than 6 cms in diameter and 86 cms in length. Also, it is generally ensured that the weight of the bat is not greater than 38 oz. in weight. The use of wooden bats is not made in case of fast pitch softball. A smaller barrel of bat is preferred by most of the players in Softball. This is because it helps in lightening the weight of the bat. This is also useful in providing a greater swing speed.
Fielding gloves are worn by all the defensive players. The material that is used to manufacture these protective gloves is leather or some other similar material. None of the parts of the gloves should be of absolutely the same color as that of the ball as per the regulations followed in the game.