The Game of Softball

Did you know…

How did the game of softball start?

The earliest known softball game was played in Chicago, Illinois on Thanksgiving Day, 1887. It took place at the Farragut Boat Club at a gathering to hear the outcome of the Yale University and Harvard University football game. When the score was announced and bets were settled, a Yale alumnus threw a boxing glove at a Harvard supporter. The other person grabbed a stick and swung at it. George Hancock called out “Play ball!” and the game began, with the boxing glove tightened into a ball, a broom handle serving as a bat. This first contest ended with a score of 41-40. The ball, being soft, was fielded barehanded.

George Hancock is credited as the game’s inventor for his development of ball and an undersized bat in the next week. The Farragut Club soon set rules for the game, which spread quickly to outsiders. Envisioned as a way for baseball players to maintain their skills during the winter, the sport was called “Indoor Baseball”. Under the name of “Indoor-Outdoor”, the game moved outside in the next year, and the first rules were published in 1889.

In 1895 Lewis Rober, Sr. of Minneapolis organized outdoor games as exercise for firefighters; this game was known as kitten ball (after the first team to play it), lemon ball, or diamond ball. Rober’s version of the game used a ball 12 inches (30 cm) in circumference, rather than the 16-inch (41 cm) ball used by the Farragut club, and eventually the Minneapolis ball prevailed, although the dimensions of the Minneapolis diamond were passed over in favor of the dimensions of the Chicago one. Rober may not have been familiar with the Farragut Club rules. Fire Station No. 19 in Minneapolis, Rober’s post from 1896 to 1906, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in part for its association with the sport’s development. The first softball league outside the United States was organized in Toronto in 1897.

The name “softball” dates back to 1926. The name was coined by Walter Hakanson of the YMCA at a meeting of the National Recreation Congress. (In addition to “indoor baseball”, “kitten ball”, and “diamond ball”, names for the game included “mush ball”, and “pumpkin ball”.) The name softball had spread across the United States by 1930. By the 1930s, similar sports with different rules and names were being played all over the United States and Canada. The formation of the Joint Rules Committee on Softball in 1934 standardized the rules and naming throughout the United States.


Choosing a Softball Recruiting and Skills Camp

RECRUITING and SKILLS CAMPS! What to ask before and how to act during!


*Pick AT LEAST 10 schools of interest:
-5 realistic
-3 fall backs
-2 pipe dreams

-Know what type of softball players these schools like to recruit

-Check out their roster! What positions will they need your year?


*How BIG is the camp? This is probably the very first question you should ask when looking for a camp.  If the numbers are small, not only will your child have more opportunity to be seen, but usually the quality of the camp is higher.

*What is the coach to player ratio?  If you are attending a larger recruiting style camp with multiple colleges in attendance a great question to ask is what is the coach to player ratio.  The smaller the ratio, the more work your daughter will get in!

*What is the camp objective?  Is this more of a “skill” camp or is it a “recruiting” camp?

*Will college coaches be interacting with players?  Any time your daughter has the chance to speak face-to-face to college coaches is an excellent opportunity.  Even if it isn’t with the college of her dreams, having the chance to pick the brain of a college coach is a great chance for your daughter to get better!

*What is the cost?  Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer here as it is dependent upon your own individual situations! However, what I can say is don’t go broke sending your child all across the country to camps at schools she is not genuinely interested in.  A lot of schools are now having “satellite” camps, look for ones closer to home to start!


*What should I wear?  Wear something that is easily recognizable.  Perhaps your travel team’s uniform top or practice shirt so colleges know exactly where to find you after the camp.  If they like you, they’re going to want to come see you again!

*Your first impression is your lasting impression!  Be on time, be prepared, have a smile on your face!  If you look good, people will immediately think you are good.  Tuck your shirt in, make sure your shoes are tied, wear a fresh shirt, LOOK THE PART.

*HUSTLE, DIVE, TALK, HUSTLE SOME MORE.  Be the first person to get to each station. Be the person cheering on others at the camp.  Sprint to your position.  Look coaches in the eye.  Introduce yourself to those running the camp, say “thank you” when you leave.  Leave with the sweatiest, dirtiest shirt there knowing you left everything you had on that field!

*MAKE ADJUSTMENTS.  I can guarantee you a coach does not want to see you hit 15 balls in a row down the left field line, they want to see a multi-faceted, athletic player-showcase your skills!  If you make an error, that doesn’t mean a coach has crossed you off of their list, keep your head up and make your adjustments.  There are 2 things you can control- 1) your effort 2) your attitude.  ALWAYS give your best effort and ALWAYS have a positive attitude!

*If you play multiple positions, showcase that! Colleges are looking for athletes! Showcase yourself!  This shows them that you are not only an athlete, but you are willing and confident!

*Shag balls like you are playing live.  A college who is interested in you is ALWAYS watching you.  They are watching you when you are at a shag station, taking a water break, and when you are speaking to your parents.  It is not just about your athletic ability, but about your character as well.  Be both the player and person they would be proud to have on their roster.

*Last, but not least, HAVE FUN.  If you are upset with yourself it will be noticed on your face and in your body language.  Keep a smile and a positive attitude on at all times, and your experience will always be a good one!


jenHeadshotThank you to Jen (Schroeder) Buchan for sharing her article. About our contributor: Jen Schroeder caught at UCLA from 2004-2008 where she competed in three Women’s College World Series’ and earned a degree in History.  She was president of the Bruin Athletic Council where she was extremely involved with an array of community projects.  She is the oldest of four division 1 softball players: Michelle (Stanford), Katie (UCLA), and Nicole (Arkansas). 

In August of 2012 she was married to Kyle Buchan. Jen and her dad now own The Softball Performance Workshop in Placentia, Ca, where it is their goal to leave a lasting impression on the softball community. Jen is a coach, catching instructor and a great inspiration for others!- JenSchro Catching


Softball Recruiting Timelines

Softball Recruiting Timelines


Did you know???

More Recruiting Tips and Advice

Women’s Fastpitch Softball Association

Women’s Fastpitch Softball Association

The Women’s Fast-pitch Softball Association (WFSA) is the fastest growing recreational and competitive women’s sports program in the country. The WFSA launched its leagues nationwide in the spring of 2010, and is an adult alternative to slow pitch softball. Our mission is to have nationally based leagues, playing fast-pitch softball in cities across the country under a common set of rules. These organized leagues will provide playing opportunities for adult women 18 and over of all abilities.

The WFSA is a fun, family oriented softball environment, where players, managers, and fans feel privileged and honored to still play the game they love softball The WFSA is not about signing a Pro contract, but developing friends and a community of women softball players who feel blessed to still have the ability and opportunity to still play the game they love. It’s not about being paid to play, but about the opportunity to still compete and play the game hard, and to earn a win or a championship through a combined effort of other individuals who love the game and are blessed to still be able to play. If you are one of those players, where it is more important to play for the love of the game, for friendships, and to compete for the honor of the game; then WFSA is a place for you!

Women’s Fastpitch Softball Association Tournaments…

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