Fastpitch softball pitcher in rain

The 15 Different Pitch Types in Fastpitch Softball

Understanding the 15 Different Pitch Types in Fastpitch Softball

As you dive deeper into higher-level softball, you’ll see pitchers throwing a variety of pitch types. This might make you curious about the range of pitches in the sport. Whether you’re a player, a parent, coach or a fan, it’s beneficial to understand the different pitches used in the game.

Softball pitchers can throw 15 distinct types of pitches, each with its own characteristics and benefits. Some of the most frequently seen pitches are the fastball, change-up, riseball, curveball, and slider. Not all pitchers will use every type, but having a diverse selection can keep hitters on their toes and enhance the pitcher’s performance. Let’s explore these pitches and how they can be used. Additionally, we’ll discuss how batters can prepare to face these pitches.

Before we talk about pitches, if you’re actually looking for articles on learning to pitch, check ours out HERE

Varieties of Softball Pitches

Breaking Balls

  • Curveball: Thrown with a snap of the wrist, causing the ball to dip. WATCH HERE
  • Slider: Breaks more horizontally than a curveball.
  • Screwball: Uses a twisting wrist motion to create an S-shaped path. WATCH HERE
  • Drop ball: Similar in grip to a curveball but drops sharply, making it tricky for batters. WATCH HERE
  • Drop-curve: A mix of drop and curve movements. WATCH HERE
  • Riseball: Released high, this pitch rises as it approaches the hitter. WATCH HERE
  • Backdoor curve: Starts outside the strike zone and curves in, often aiming near the batter’s body. WATCH HERE
  • Backdoor screw: Moves opposite to a curveball, starting outside the zone and breaking in.
  • Drop curve: A curveball that falls sharply. WATC HERE


  • Two-seam fastball: Gripped with the index and middle fingers along the seams, offering more movement but less speed compared to a four-seam fastball.
  • Four-seam fastball: Held with the index and middle fingers across the seams, this is the standard fastball in softball, known for its speed and straight trajectory.


  • Back-hand release: Flipped backward with the hand to reduce speed.
  • Circle change: Gripped with a circular formation using the index, middle fingers, and thumb.
  • Knuckle change: Thrown using the knuckles for a deceptive slow pitch.

The Knuckleball

  • Knuckleball: Minimal spin causes unpredictable movement, making it hard to hit. This pitch is difficult to master but can be highly effective. WATCH HERE

The Role of Pitch Calling

Effective pitch calling is crucial in softball, typically handled by the catcher or the coaches. This strategy involves understanding the batter’s tendencies, the pitcher’s strengths, and the game situation. Observing the hitter’s stance and swing helps in selecting the best pitch. Comprehensive scouting reports are invaluable, providing detailed insights to outsmart the batter throughout the game.

Batters’ Strategies

Facing varying pitches can be challenging for hitters. Recognizing pitches by watching the pitcher’s release, arm motion, and grip is key. Observing the ball’s spin also helps in identifying and adjusting to different pitches, but this can sometimes be pretty hard to do depending on the speed of the pitch.


Softball boasts a variety of pitches like the fastball, change-up, screwball, riseball, curveball, drop ball, and slider. Mastering these pitches requires consistent practice and experimentation. Trying new pitches with teammates builds control and confidence for competitive play. Patience and dedication are key to honing these skills effectively.