Female athletes that have not yet tried the sport of girls softball are certainly missing out on lots of action. This game is experiencing a rapid surge in popularity and girls youth softball is drawing players from early ages to learn and compete in the sport. Played in the same manner as mens softball, there are several key differences.
While the majority of mens softball teams play the slowpitch variety of the game, all-female teams usually play girls fastpitch softball. This influences how the game is played in a dramatic fashion.
While slowpitch is mainly geared to hitting long balls and home runs, girls fastpitch softball is a more complex game, featuring extensive and complicated strategical maneuvers. In addition, the role of pitcher is greatly magnified. Strikeouts are a rare occurrence in the slowpitch version, but a successful pitcher playing fastpitch softball can record a number of strikeouts per game.
Another major difference between girls and mens softball is the level of competition. Many mens leagues are simply for recreation between church or business teams. On the other hand, girls leagues for softball are a primarily competitive endeavor with recreational leagues typically only found in the early girls youth softball leagues.
Girls softball uniforms can be found for teams at every age level. The beginning teams for younger girls are mostly recreational, but as the girls grow up and improve their skills, there are more serious options available to good players. Club teams exist that play tournaments all year. It is at these tournaments that college and university scouts look for good players. A strong competitor can play well in one of these tournaments and then find herself wearing one of the girls softball uniforms from her favorite school with a full scholarship. Competition at the college level can be very tough as many teams compete for the chance to be called national champion.
In international competition, the teams from the United States and Japan are two of the best. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, the American team was able to take the gold medal while Japan netted the silver medal for their strong performance. The USA Junior Women’s team was also able to take a world championship at the 2007 tournament in Europe. Other countries such as Australia and China are fielding good teams and positive results are expected from these squads in the near future. The next major championship for girls softball will be the 2010 World Championships which will take place in July in the South American country of Venezuela.