Softball Field Layout
Dimensions of the Game
The softball field layout, although it may look different from field to field, actually has some rigorous guidelines. Refer to the diagram below for the particular softball field dimensions as we walk through it. The diagram (click on the field layout diagram for a bigger picture) is courtesy of Jim Reiner of The Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide. More about Jim later, but first the particulars of the field.
The softball field is divided between the infield, also called the diamond, and the outfield. Whereas the outfield distances will be different from field to field, the infield, except for the distance from the pitcher's mound to home plate, will be consistent. The biggest difference between the outfields will be whether the fields have a fence. As per Jim's diagram, the minimum distance to the fence is 200 feet for the college game.
The distance between the bases (home to first, first to second, and so forth) is 60 feet, with the distance from home to second being 84 feet 10 1/4 inches. This is the same for all age groups. Because of the short distance between the bases relative to the official baseball diamond, it makes for a very fast game. As a result, the "short game" or bunting and slapping play a significant role in the game of fastpitch softball. Another aspect of the field that tends to make for a faster game is that the infield is generally "skinned" meaning it is a sand or dirt infield. As a result of the distance between the bases and the skinned infield, it is important that you have speed throughout your line up so that you can take advantage of this facet of fastpitch softball.
The biggest thing that changes in the softball filed layout is the distance from the pitcher's mound to home plate. This is a nod to the age of the player. The distance from the apex of home point (or the point of home plate by the catcher) to the front of the pitching rubber is 35 feet for 10 and younger teams. For teams older than 10 but younger than college or 23 and under teams, it is 40 feet, and for teams over the 18 and under level, it is 43 feet. There is talk about moving the distance for high school and the appropriate age within the travel team ranks to the 43 feet distance. You will need to pay close attention to that as those three feet will be a significant change for your pitchers. This will be particularly true for your "drop ball" pitchers (those pitchers who use the drop ball as their best pitch and use combinations off of that for their other pitches i.e. drop-curve, drop-screw, drop-change, and so forth).
If you want to know more about building or maintaining a softball field, Jim Reiner is your guy. He was a grounds keeper in the Texas Ranger's organization, and he has a terrific website about exactly that topic. His website, the Ultimate Baseball Field Renovation Guide is full of great tips on building and maintaining your softball field. Looking at his softball field layout, and the detail presented, you know he knows what he is talking about. So if you have any questions, hop on over to Jim's site
and if you do not see what you are looking for, go to his Contact Us page and ask your question. I have no doubt Jim will know the answer.
Hey, want your very own manual on what to do, sort of "Jim in your Pocket"? Well Jim has published his Transforming Your Baseball Field into a Winning Field
. Let Jim help you with your softball field layout whenever you need him ... with his manual! Turn that cow pasture into your Field of Dreams
in only eight weeks. This 132 page manual will answer all your softball and baseball field maintenance questions.
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