Softball has long been one of the most popular sports in the United States. Millions of Americans play the sport every year and international popularity has also been on the rise. There are multiple reasons why softball has been becoming more popular.
Some softball players are elite athletes, but you don't have to be an elite athlete to play. Leagues exist for people of all ages, genders and skill levels. People can find recreational leagues that are purely for fun or competitive leagues. There are fast pitch and slow pitch varieties. Variations of the sport exist for people with physical and other limitations. Additionally, players and leagues don't need to purchase a lot of expensive equipment. Some comfortable clothes, a decent pair of athletic shoes or cleats, softball gloves and softballs will do for most recreational leagues. Competitive leagues may need additional safety equipment.
The health benefits of regular physical activity are well known. Practicing and playing games is a fun way for people to get regular exercise. Softball involves core and upper body strength for hitting and throwing. It also involves cardiovascular fitness for chasing down balls on defense or running the bases. Playing the game can also improve hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Playing a team sport is a unique opportunity to make friends. When you play softball, you get a chance to get to know your teammates, coaches and even the umpires. Depending on the league, you may travel together to games. You also will meet and make friends with players on the teams you compete against. Softball is a popular choice for office leagues because it is a good team-building activity. It is also an opportunity to network and make contacts who may help you in your career or other areas of your life.
4. Social Skills
Softball is a good opportunity to build social skills. You will meet and learn to work with people who have different backgrounds, beliefs and personalities. It's a great way to learn to settle differences productively and learn empathy and tolerance. Playing on a team also teaches communication skills and tact. All of these skills are transferrable to other areas of your life.
Being part of a softball team is a lot more rewarding than those group projects they used to make you do in school. It is also useful. No matter what type of work you do, you will need to learn how to work well with a team. Playing on a softball team teaches you how to put the needs of the team ahead of your own, how to accept the role you have on the team, but also work towards the role you want and how to work with other people to achieve a common goal. It also provides you the chance to learn how to be a good cheerleader for others and also what it feels like to have a team cheering for you.
6. Dealing With Failure
Even the very best teams tend to lose 30 to 40% of the games they play. It has often been said that baseball is a "game of failure." This is also true for softball. The best hitters in the game only get a hit about three or four times out of 10. The best pitchers usually give up at least two or three runs per game. To succeed at softball, you have to learn how to accept failure. Your team will lose games you really wanted to win. You'll miss the playoffs or get knocked out early. Sometimes you will play on a team that just isn't very good. It is important to be able to still enjoy yourself, even when things aren't going well.
7. Winning Gracefully
Playing softball also teaches you how to win with grace. There is nothing wrong with celebrating a victory or a great play or key hit. However, there is a difference between a joyful celebration and being disrespectful to your opponent. While winning is the basic point of the game, winning isn't the only important or even the most important thing. It is fun to win, but if you can't enjoy the sport without winning, then you have more to learn.
Athletes who have aspirations of going to college can win valuable scholarships by playing on competitive softball leagues. If they are good enough, they might even get the chance to play on an elite travel league, a college team or compete in the Olympic games. Additionally, softball is gaining popularity as a professional sport.
Whether it is exercise, fun, the chance to compete or something else, softball has a lot to offer. As more people catch on to everything the game has to offer, the popularity will continue to increase.