When I think about softball, I immediately start thinking about women on the field in the same way when I’m thinking about baseball and men on the field. These sports are clearly divided by gender, so the interesting question about all of this is that can boys play softball?
Boys can play softball the same way girls can play baseball. There are various teams boys can play softball, including little league teams for 5-16 year olds, recreational teams, and church leagues. However, boys can’t play professional softball as there isn’t a league for that.
Luckily softball can be played regardless of gender, even though there aren’t any pro-level fastpitch softball teams for men.
It’s funny how softball is perceived as the lesser sport when compared to baseball, as it is supposed to be easier and less athletic. However, at the pro-level softball, the average aesthetics are far better amongst women than men in baseball.
Now, you are probably eager to learn what teams are available for boys and men in softball. Let’s take a look!
Related: Ultimate Guide of 17 Softball Drills
Are There Any Men’s Softball Teams?
There are many different leagues and teams boys can play softball, so to make it clear where it is possible to play as a man, I’ll walk you through the most common leagues and available teams. I’ll start with the little ones!
1. Little League
The Little League Softball is a softball program meant for kids and children. The age gap there is between 4 and 16 years old, which are divided into five divisions.
The Little League Divisions Include:
- Tee Ball – Tee-ball is a division for 4-5 year olds with some options for 6-7 year olds. The idea of Tee Ball softball is to teach the fundamentals of softball to the children with the core focus on having fun. Tee Ball is the only little league division that often has mixed-gender teams.
- Minor League – Minor League, is a division for 5-11 year olds. Many divisions within the minor league are categorized based on age, ability, and gender. There are teams for both girls and boys but no mixed ones.
- Little League – Little League, also called Major Division, is a division for 9-12 year olds. Again, most teams at this age are already divided by gender but rest assured there are teams for boys as well!
- Junior Division – Junior Division is for 12-14 year olds, and at this age, the regulation dimensions (60ft diamond & 43ft pitching distance) are taken to the game. There are teams for both boys and girls.
- Senior Division – Senior Divison is for 13-16 year olds, and there are teams for both boys and girls.
Note that boys can play in every little league division but can’t play on girls’ little league softball teams other than tee-ball. So depending on the local capabilities, there may not be boys teams if there aren’t enough players.
There are countless recreational hobby teams for boys and men to join scattered around the United States and other countries.
These can include various types of teams such as:
- Hobby Association Teams
- Church Teams
- Workplace Teams
- Local Group Teams
These certainly aren’t all team types out there as anybody could gather softball enthusiasts together and start a team!
Advancing to pro-level fastpitch softball as a man isn’t currently possible as there aren’t any teams or leagues for them. However, in the 70s and 80s, this wasn’t the case as men’s professional softball was popular back then. It didn’t last very long, as its popularity faded quickly.
Unfortunately, college softball is a different story than recreational. Generally, there are very few men’s college softball teams because there are baseball teams.
Baseball and softball are considered very similar as they are. So, most colleges have canceled men’s softball teams and women’s baseball teams which is understandable as it would need a lot of resources to keep up two similar sports with two teams for both genders.
The rule Title IX requires that girls have equal participation opportunities in school sports than men, which is good. However, if there were men’s baseball and women’s softball teams, other teams would be required for other genders. This doesen’t make sense for the colleges, so they have decided that baseball is for men and softball is for women.
There are some softball teams for men within the college; however, the team isn’t usually competing against any other college. These teams are recreational teams and very rare.
4. Professional Level
Finally, there is the professional level. There is no professional level for men’s softball as there is no pro fastpitch league for men.
In fact, most men’s little league and recreational teams play slowpitch softball when women play considerably more often fastpitch softball.
Anyways, the highest leagues a man can advance in softball are the two leagues that are: USSSA Slow Pitch and USA Softball (formerly ASA). The United States National team is part of USA Softball as well.
Men’s softball isn’t nearly as competitive as women’s softball, especially when discussing the women’s pro-level league, the National Pro Fastpitch league.
How Many of the Softball Players are Male?
Softball is clearly favored and known by women, but what is the exact number of women in softball compared to men?
According to Zippia, 85.1% of all softball players are women, 13.4% are men, and 1.5% are unknown or doesen’t want to identify themselves as either.
After seeing these numbers, it is no wonder that women’s softball is much more famous, respected, and competitive as the vast majority of the players are women.
If you are a male and love softball, don’t get discouraged by these numbers. As you can see from the available options for men, you can play softball as a man nearly at any level.
Is Softball Sexist?
A popular topic subject considering softball is whether it is sexist or not. Before diving deeper into the subject, what does sexism mean in the first place?
Characterized by or showing prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex.Definition of Sexist
To determine whether softball is sexist, we need to take a look back at history. Women have played tennis for a long time. In fact, women played tennis far before they had the right to vote.
I also told you shortly about the rule Title IX, which requires that girls have equal participation opportunities in school sports, meaning that if there is a men’s baseball team, there shall be a woman as well and vice versa.
However, most colleges doesen’t see it necessary to provide both sports to both genders as they are too similar. Hence, they only provide baseball teams for men and softball teams for women, ruling out Title IX and its requirements.
However, men invented softball, and fastpitch is also considered a harder sport than baseball, which often demands more respect.
Also, women have the opportunity to advance further in their softball career and earn more money as well, even though it doesen’t come near to the amount and popularity as professional baseball athletes can earn.
As you can see, there are two points of view on whether softball is sexist, and it is up to you to choose what makes more sense to you. When it comes to me, softball as a sport is not sexist if it is examined by what it is today.
My Favorite Softball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here are my top softball equipment recommendations that I think will take your game to the next level.
- Bat: My favorite certified fastpitch softball bat is the Easton Ghost. This bat has a double-barrel construction which is incredible if you are looking for a great feel and are a fan of satisfying pop and sound. The handle is a great bonus as it’s great to hold on to and very thin. The technology used for this bat provides great durability and flexibility. This bat comes in various styles and sizes.
- Softball: The best softballs, in my opinion, are the Franklin Sports Official Softballs. These affordable yet official featured balls are perfect for practice if you want to train with a similar ball as in a real game. These balls have the official 12-inch circumference and weight. The yellow color makes it easy to spot, and the flat seams enable minimal air resistance so that they will fly consistently and far.
- Glove: Rawlings Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Glove should be introduced to every softball player. The 12.5″ size makes it a breeze to catch and secure softballs. The glove is very comfortable as it’s made from full-grain leather, and the pull-staps will perfect the fit. The design is breathtaking as well. Be prepared for a little break-in time tho.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.