The Physical Differences In Hitting – Baseball Verses Fastpitch Softball

The Five Inch Rule and Reaction Time are the differences between Baseball and Fastpitch softball hitters must make adjustments to in order to be successful.

The following are the physical differences in hitting between baseball and fastpitch softball.

  1. Reaction Time:
    Baseball is at 60’ softball is at /40’ or 43'
    A 60mph pitch in softball from 40 feet allows the same reaction time as a 90mph pitch in baseball at 60 feet.
  2. The Five Inch Rule:
    On average girls have to adjust to a five inch difference when hitting.

    1. Shorter Arms: On average a females arms are 2 to 3 inches shorter
    2. Bat Size: On average a girl will use a bat that is one inch shorter
    3. Ball Size: The center of a 12 inch softball can be one inch farther outside and still be touching the strike zone.

Hitting Adjustments — Baseball Verses Fastpitch Softball

The above physical differences, "The Five Inch Rule", between baseball and faspitch softball, requires that fastpitch hitters, to be successful, must make adjustments to compensate for these difference.

Due to the five inch rule, girls are going to have to stand closer to the plate. If they do not adjust closer to the plate, they will find it very difficult to even reach outside pitches, much less hit the outside pitches with authority. The rule I have with my players is they start one shoe length off the plate. Depending on the style of pitcher they are facing and how the pitcher attacks, they may adjust from there.

However, even though moving closer to the plate will help hitters cover the outside pitch, it will also have the following impact on hitting:

  1. The hitter will have less time to react to an inside pitch
  2. For the hitter to still be able to turn on an inside pitch, the hitter will have less margin for error in their technique.

The above is why so many fastpitch softball players come into out training facility struggling with their hitting. When I do some quick background research the cause is almost always due to the fact that they have been taught a baseball style hitting technique which does not take into account the "Five Inch Rule" mentioned above.

If you want more information on fast pitch hitting techniques and strategy, email me at

© 2010, Greg Loveless. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to Five Inch Rule Fastpitch Hitting Adjustments

  1. […] of the hitting adjustments recommended due to the "Five Inch Rule", see the post Five Inch Rule Fastpitch Hitting Adjustments […]

  2. Jeffrey Morrow says:

    Greg, thank you for the things that you taught our daughter, Victoria. With only a few lessons, and lots of hard work practicing those few adjustments, Victoria was able to pitch two shut-outs this weekend. Over two games she had 7 strike outs and only three walks, a vast improvement over previous efforts. Her speed has increased along with accuracy and confidence. Greg, again, thank you so much.


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