Softball is fast paced bat and ball sport of skill, timing and power played between two teams over 7 innings. Each team alternates at bat and in the field. The fielding team tries to get the batting team out in each innings and to keep them from reaching the home plate to score a run. Once the fielding team dismisses the opposing team, it is their turn to bat.
Although Softball began as an indoor sport, it's now generally played outdoors on a diamond shaped field made up of a home plate and 3 bases. While elite Softball requires international-standard facilities, social, community and junior Softball can easily utilise existing parks and fields, which makes the game accessible to everyone, and easy and affordable to set-up.
Softball requires minimal equipment – a bat and ball, as well as gloves for the each member of the fielding team. The batter and infielders should wear helmets and the catcher requires specialist protective gear.
Fastpitch & slowpitch
Softball & baseball differences
Softball is played on every continent and there are regional, continental, national and world championship events. Softball is or has featured in many multi-sport competitions, including the Olympic Games, Pan American Games, Asian Games, South Pacific Games, Southeast Asian Games, Masters' Games, Arafura Games and the Central American Games.
Australia affiliated with the ISF in 1953 and is currently one of more than 128 country affiliates. The ISF is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and SportAccord, formerly the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).
The ISF provides the official playing rules for international competition, including world championships, regional championships, regional games and other sanctioned competitions.
Softball encompasses all the requisites of Olympic sport – athletic agility, strength and speed. Softball had its spectacular Olympic debut in Atlanta, USA in 1996, where it attracted more than 120,000 spectators. The Atlanta success was followed by Sydney (2000), the Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008), where it attracted more than 180,000 spectators.
Despite the success of Softball at these Games, Softball has not been included in the program for the 2012 and 2016 Games, much to the disappointment of the international Softball community. Through its Back Softball Campaign, the ISF continues to lobby the IOC for Softball's reintroduction to the Olympics in 2020.
The ISF has also worked with the Official Special Olympics Sports Rules to modify the game for the Special Olympics Softball competition. The Special Olympics began in Australia in 1976 and more than 7,500 athletes from 185 nations gather annually for this event.
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