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Slide into the dynamic universe of softball, where language is as sharp as a line drive!

From rookies to seasoned pros hitting it out of the park, mastering these 30 key terms will make you the MVP of game chatter.

Ready to talk the softball talk?

Batter up—let’s play ball!

Must-Know Softball Terms, Phrases and Slang:

  1. Ball
  2. Batting average
  3. Bullpen
  4. Changeup
  5. Double play
  6. Error
  7. Fastpitch
  8. Ground ball
  9. Home run
  10. Infield
  11. Line drive
  12. Mound
  13. Outfield
  14. Pinch runner
  15. Pitcher’s circle
  16. RBI
  17. Squeeze play
  18. Strike
  19. Tag out
  20. Triple
  21. Walk
  22. Windmill pitch
  23. Bunt
  24. Foul ball
  25. Leadoff
  26. No-hitter
  27. On-base percentage
  28. Pop-up
  29. Sliding
  30. Steal

#1 Ball

In softball, “ball” refers to a pitch that is delivered outside the strike zone that the batter does not swing at. Four balls result in the batter getting a “walk” to first base.

#2 Batting average

Batting average is a statistical measure representing a softball player’s hitting performance. It’s calculated by dividing the number of hits by the number of official at-bats, symbolized by the abbreviation AVG.

#3 Bullpen

The bullpen is the area of a softball field where pitchers warm up before entering the game. It’s often located just beyond the outfield fence and is key for pitchers to prepare before facing batters.

#4 Changeup

A changeup is a slower pitch designed to look like a fastball but with reduced speed. This deceives the batter, often leading to a swing and miss or weak contact.

#5 Double play

A double play occurs when two offensive players are put out within the same play, often involving quick and seamless fielding and throwing by the defense.

#6 Error

An error is a mistake made by a fielder that allows a batter to reach base or a runner to advance. It’s marked in the statistics as an “E” and does not count as a hit for the batter.

#7 Fastpitch

Fastpitch is a type of softball where the pitcher throws the ball quickly with an underhand motion. It’s a highly competitive form with pitches reaching high speeds.

#8 Ground ball

A ground ball in softball is a ball that is hit and rolls along the ground in the infield. Defensively, fielders attempt to field these balls quickly to throw out runners at the bases, making quick reaction times and accurate throws crucial.

#9 Home Run

A hit that allows the batter to round all the bases and score without being put out, typically by hitting the ball over the outfield fence. It’s one of the most exciting plays and scores at least one run.

#10 Infield

The area within the baselines consisting of the first, second, and third base and the home plate. It’s where infielders position themselves to make plays on ground balls and participate in double plays.

#11 Line Drive

A batted ball that travels in a straight trajectory, nearly parallel to the ground. It’s hit sharply and can be difficult for defenders to react to, often resulting in a base hit.

#12 Mound

The raised pitcher’s area in the center of the diamond where the pitcher stands to throw the ball to the batter. The height gives the pitcher a gravitational advantage and helps conceal the ball during delivery.

#13 Outfield

The area beyond the infield, from the foul lines out to the outfield fence. It’s patrolled by outfielders who catch fly balls, field ground balls, and generally prevent hits from becoming extra-base hits.

#14 Pinch Runner

A substitute base runner who replaces another player, typically for strategic speed or injury reasons. This player takes over base-running duties but does not necessarily take a turn batting.

#15 Pitcher’s Circle

The pitcher’s circle in softball is a designated area around the pitching rubber, typically marked by an 8-foot radius. Only the pitcher is allowed to be within the circle when she has possession of the ball and is preparing to deliver a pitch. The circle plays a key role in various rules, particularly those governing the actions of base runners and defensive plays.

#16 RBI (Runs Batted In)

An RBI is a statistic credited to a batter when the outcome of their at-bat results in a run being scored, except when the batter grounds into a double play or reaches base due to an error. Essentially, it measures a player’s ability to contribute to scoring runs through productive hitting.

#17 Squeeze Play

A strategic offensive action where the batter bunts to allow a teammate on third base to run home and score. It’s a high-risk, high-reward move that requires precise timing between the batter and the runner.

#18 Strike

A pitch that crosses over home plate within the strike zone, in-between the batter’s shoulders and knees, which the batter fails to hit. Three strikes result in a “strikeout,” retiring the batter.

#19 Tag Out

Occurs when a fielder touches a base runner with the ball or glove holding the ball, while the runner is not on a base. This action results in the runner being called “out.”

#20 Triple

A powerful hit by the batter that allows them to reach third base without stopping, usually due to the ball being hit deep into the outfield. Triples are less common than singles or doubles and demonstrate both hitting strength and speed.

#21 Walk

Also known as “base on balls,” it occurs when a pitcher throws four pitches outside the strike zone, none of which are swung at by the batter, allowing the batter to advance to first base.

#22 Windmill Pitch

A pitching style characteristic of fastpitch softball where the pitcher’s arm rotates 360 degrees around the shoulder before releasing the ball. It’s known for its speed and is a key skill for fastpitch pitchers.

#23 Bunt

A batting technique where the hitter lightly taps the ball into the infield with the intention of advancing runners or reaching first base safely. It’s a strategic play often used to sacrifice personal stats for team advantage.

#24 Foul Ball

A ball hit by a batter that lands outside the field of play’s foul lines, which extend from home plate past first and third base to the outfield fence. It counts as a strike unless the batter already has two strikes.

#25 Leadoff

Refers to the first batter in the lineup or the first batter of an inning. It’s a pivotal role aimed at getting on base to set the stage for scoring opportunities for the following hitters.

#26 No-hitter

A rare feat where a pitcher completes a game without allowing the opposition to record a hit. It showcases dominant pitching and is considered one of the greatest accomplishments for a pitcher.

#27 On-base percentage (OBP)

A statistic that measures how frequently a batter reaches base for any reason other than a fielding error, fielder’s choice, hit by pitch, or force out. It’s a key indicator of a player’s ability to help create scoring opportunities.

#28 Pop-up

A ball hit high into the air above the infield. These are usually easier plays for the defense, as the ball remains in the air long enough for an infielder to position themselves to make the catch.

#29 Sliding

Sliding is a technique used by runners in softball to reach a base safely. Players slide feet-first or head-first to touch the base while evading a tag from a fielder. Effective sliding can prevent injuries and is essential for avoiding outs during close plays.

#30 Steal

Stealing a base involves a runner advancing to the next base unchallenged while the pitcher is delivering the ball to the batter. It requires quick judgment and speed. Successful steals can significantly pressure the defense by putting runners into scoring positions or distracting the pitcher and catcher.


What are some Softball terms for beginners?

“Ball,” “strike,” and “home run” are some Softball terms beginners should start with. These basics relate to pitching results and hitting achievements essential to understanding the game.

What are some funny Softball terms?

“Squeeze play” and “windmill pitch” are some funny Softball terms, which may sound amusing but describe strategic plays and a pitching style that are unique to the sport.

What is a famous Softball phrase?

“Chicks dig the long ball,” is a famous Softball phrase often used to highlight the excitement surrounding powerful hitters who can hit home runs, emphasizing the appeal of offensive prowess in the game.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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