When talking about a sport like softball, where a hard object can get stuck to your genital area, it raises many questions about that. One of the biggest questions I have heard is whether softball players wear protective cups or not?
Most softball players don’t wear cups, but some do. Male softball players use protective cups, whereas women softball players use pelvic protectors that aren’t as deep and large. There are no rules that require cups for adults, but a male catcher in the youth program shall wear a protective cup.
If you think about it, it makes sense that a young male catcher who can’t really make an in-depth informed decision must wear a protective cup as a catcher. This is stated in the USSSA rules for softball.
On the other hand, there are no rules that require adults to wear a protective cup, so most players decide not to. However, this varies between leagues of softball positions. I’ll revisit that thought later, but first, let’s look at different kinds of protective genital gear used in softball.
Different Protective Equipment for Genital Area
There are three main kinds of protective equipment for the genital areas used in softball and sports in general. Out of these three types, two are widely used today.
1. Athletic cup
An athletic cup is meant for males as they provide a large and secure protective area. These can be made out of various materials such as hardened plastic or even stainless steel to block any kind of hit.
An athletic cup is held in its place inside the jockstrap. The difference is that the athletic cup is completely hard and protects the genitalia fully, drastically reducing potential impact. Also, athletic cups are often perforated, which allows airflow to the genitals.
2. Jockstrap (Jock)
Jockstraps are also known as athletic supporters or ”jock’s”. These are known for their support as they secure the genitalia tightly close to the body. The support of jocks will protect the male genitalia mostly from discomfort from the bouncing and movement during sports.
However, if a softball strikes straight to the genitalia, or a puck in ice hockey which would be considerably worse, it won’t absorb nearly as much impact as the athletic cup. This is why plain jockstraps are rarely used today.
Nowadays, when you are in the market for protective equipment for the genital area, the product includes both jockstraps and athletic cups. For example, the Shock Doctor Jock Strap is also included with the athletic cup, which is placed inside the jock’s pouch giving proper protection.
3. Pelvic protector (Jill)
The pelvic protector is like the athletic cup but is specifically designed for women. Even though women don’t have as easily damaged private parts, the parts are certainly sensitive as they contain many nerves, and the pelvic bone is easily damaged.
A softball whose name can be deceiving isn’t, in fact, soft, and when that is struck or thrown straight to the pelvic area, it can cause a lot of pain and even fractures.
Pelvic protectors are different from athletic cups in many ways. They aren’t nearly as deep, and they often are smaller in overall size and more narrow as the area that needs protection is smaller.
The Shock Doctor Pelvic Protector is a great example of a great protector designed well and hard enough to prevent all major damage that could occur in softball.
Should Softball Players Wear Athletic Cups of Pelvic Protectors?
As I mentioned earlier, many softball players decide not to wear any sort of genital protection. This raises the question, should they use athletic cups or pelvic protectors?
Softball players should wear athletic cups or pelvic protectors, especially if they play an infield position, even more so if they are catchers or pitchers. Infielders have the biggest risk of taking a powerful hit to the genital area, which can cause minor or even serious injuries.
Even tho serious injuries in softball are very rare, they still happen, and most of them would have been avoided by using an athletic cup or a pelvic protector.
A large survey collected with the NEIS system shows 240 serious baseball and softball genital injuries reported in the U.S emergency department between 2002 and 2010. This means that, on average, every 12 days, someone goes to the hospital because of a serious baseball or softball-related genital injury.
Even when 12 days doesen’t sound a lot, that is a real and concrete number. Is that a risk you are willing to take?
Protective Cup Usage Based On Softball Positions
The protective cup usage within softball players drastically varies depending on what position they play. Naturally, those close to powerful swings and throws are more likely to use an athletic cup or pelvic protectors. These players are the infielders.
The infielders are at the greatest risk of taking a serious hit to the groin, which is why more people playing in these positions decide to use protective equipment on the genital area.
- First Base Player
- Second Base Player
- Third Base Player
Out of these positions, the catcher and pitcher are by far at the highest risk of getting a serious hit to the private parts.
A catcher is behind the one swinging, meaning that if the batter misses the ball and the pitcher throws a too accurate shot to the groin, the catcher would suffer from great pain, at least if protection weren’t used. This is naturally most dangerous in fastpitch.
A pitcher, on the other hand, is closest to the batter. If the batter swings towards the pitcher and hits straight to the groin, it would be a serious situation if the protective gear wouldn’t be in use.
Other infielders are also at risk of getting a misplaced hit, but not as great as the catcher and pitcher.
Outfielders rarely use athletic cups or pelvic protectors, which isn’t as necessary because the risk is considerably lower. Yet, some people still decide to use them even when playing as an outfielder.
- Left Field
- Ceter Field
- Right Field
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.