If you are just starting in softball, you might have multiple queries in mind. One of them would be “Why do softball players wear masks?” You may be unfamiliar with face masks and want to learn more.
We’re here to explain the motivations behind softball players’ mask use, the effects on their play, and the best practices for selecting the right one.
Softball players use masks for several reasons, the most important being safety. Sometimes, even the umpires, pitchers, and catchers have to wear masks for safety reasons. Varied places and skill levels need diverse sizes and shapes of masks. So it’s up to the player to choose one that works for them.
Though the primary reason softball players wear masks is for safety, there are other benefits as well. So, to explore more, stay with us!
Also, learn what else to wear in softball practice here.
To protect their faces, softball players must wear masks. This protective gear saves your eyes and faces from hardened wire grids that fit securely over the head. It can resist the impact of a fast-moving ball.
Players can prevent injuries sustained on the backswing during batting and from collisions with other players on the field. Misplays, pop-ups, and outfield throws are safer with them.
Ear flaps, chin straps, and head straps are additional safety features on specific masks. They are available in a wide range of colors to complement both team and personal attire.
Are Face Masks Required in Softball?
The shorter distance between bases (60 feet compared to 90 feet in baseball) in softball allows runners to reach first base faster. The short bases encourage different creative strategies, like stealth bunts, slap hits, and fake bunts.
While playing softball, first and third basemen often position themselves far closer to home plate. Thus, the fielders can be 40 feet away from the player when the batter hits the ball. It’s tough for the fielder to make a save if the ball is shot forcefully and straight at his head. As with pitchers, the same holds true.
The standard distance between a baseball pitcher and a hitter is 43 feet. At such close range, throwing the ball and instantly mounting a defense is difficult.
Although softball masks are often worn by pitchers, first and third basemen have been seen to use them occasionally. Because of the shorter distance between softball bases (and the mound), some infielders are at a higher risk of being struck in the head by a driven ball.
Even if pitchers in the lower levels of softball aren’t throwing as hard, anything may happen in an instant. However, it is advisable to err on the side of caution when it comes to face mask use.
5 Reasons Softball Players Wear Masks
The safety of softball players is of paramount significance. Placing masks on the players serves as a way to make sure of that. There are several advantages to wearing a mask, even though some players do not want to do so.
Here are several reasons players in softball should put on masks throughout matches.
1. Greater Diameter Balls
A baseball’s circumference is 9 inches, whereas a normal softball’s is 12 inches. A bigger ball poses a more significant threat of harm to players. By wearing face masks, players may protect their faces from these bigger, heavier softballs.
2. Bats Made Of Metal
Metal bats are often used in softball, particularly among younger and less experienced players. Balls hit with these bats will travel faster because of their high exit velocities. The greater danger of damage to fielders due to the faster ball is a compelling argument for adopting face masks.
3. Injury Prevention
Protective masks are a must-have for every softball player. They prevent life-threatening head, neck, and face injuries. A player who wears a mask that fits can avoid getting hurt in many ways, for example, by being hit by a thrown ball, hitting their head on the batter’s bat or other players’ gear, or running into another player.
Different types of softball masks provide varying degrees of protection. The most popular kind is a metal cage mask. It is used for protection against face injuries and is both lightweight and common.
The full-face metal cage mask protects the nose and cheeks. Some models incorporate jaw cushions to absorb the force of an impact. Various masks are available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
The psychological advantages of wearing a softball mask are as crucial as the physical protection it provides. Thanks to this safety equipment, players can relax and enjoy themselves without worrying about being hurt.
Coaches and parents are responsible for safeguarding their players’ safety during practices and matches. For this, they can put in place some measures, one of which is using softball masks.
4. Better Visibility
Wearing a mask while playing softball might help you see better, which is one of the key advantages. As a result, you’ll have improved peripheral vision. Also, it allows them to detect pitches, hit balls coming their way sooner, and react rapidly. Masks also assist the player in maintaining a constant field of vision as the ball approaches.
No matter how their head is tilted. Most softball helmets feature eye shields affixed to the bill. This feature gives players a better field of vision without squinting their eyes. They don’t even need to bend their heads to the side when at bat or in the field.
Furthermore, masks provide better protection for the eyes than standard eyewear does. It prevents particles from getting into the frame and causing irritation or damage. Masks shield the wearer’s eyes from the sun’s glare. Otherwise, it may be distracting or even impairing.
They also protect the wearer’s face from being struck by a stray ball or bat. Wearing masks during softball games is a good idea for players of all skill levels, from recreational to professional.
5. Lessened Nervousness
Injuries are a possibility in every sport. Hitting, sliding, or making other quick movements on the field make a player’s face and eyes vulnerable to injury. As a result, fewer catastrophic injuries and healthcare expenditures will occur.
While worrying about being struck in the face by a softball or colliding with an opponent, face masks make you feel confident. A clear window of face masks reduces perspiration misting. It also improves visibility during the game.
A face mask may provide an extra layer of protection against force absorption technology when worn. So, you can play longer without tiring. And continue to hone their abilities without distraction from their mask.
Why Do Softball Players Wear Masks But Not Baseball?
In softball, many pitchers and infielders wear face masks because the pitcher and batter are close. This increases the risk of line drives or hard-hit balls striking them. Softball uses a larger ball and underhand pitching, resulting in higher batted ball speeds, which makes protective gear essential.
On the other hand, In baseball, players use helmets with face guards, but they generally don’t wear full masks due to the greater distance between the pitcher and batter, small ball size resulting in lower ball speed, etc.
What Should You Look for in a Softball Throwing Mask?
Pitchers should always wear facial protection while throwing the ball. A softball pitcher’s mask is designed to aid with this very thing.
How can you choose the right one when there are so many to select from?
Take into account the following:
When you throw, the mask shouldn’t wiggle. It is also important that it be comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
If you’re wearing this mask, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about being struck in the face with a ball or bat. Find a model with a high rating in batting cage tests.
While throwing, you shouldn’t have your eyesight blocked by the mask. The mask’s straps should be adjustable, and there should be no room for air to enter between the mask and your eyes.
The mask’s construction should be sturdy enough to survive repeated washings and handling without falling apart.
Think about how much money you can reasonably spend on a pitching mask.
After considering this, you should be able to zero in on the softball pitching mask that works best for you. If you want to be sure it fits well, try it on before you buy it.
How to Use Softball Masks Better
You can make the best use of the masks in softball practice. Let us give you some tips.
- Practice with the softball mask on to get adjusted to the feel of it.
- Adjust the straps so the face mask is secure but not too tight to wear.
- Try throwing a few pitches while wearing the mask to get acquainted with how it feels.
- Wearing a headband beneath the mask might help absorb perspiration and prevent fogging.
- Use soap and water to clean the face mask every time you use it.
- The softball mask should be kept in a cold, dry area when not in use.
Beware of the Kid’s Face Mask
If your child continues to play softball as they grow older, the competition will only increase. While pitchers do improve and learn new techniques, batters do as well.
Even if you’re older and playing more competitively, you still could be smacked in the face. So, pitchers are the only position where we often see players of advanced age using face masks.
Around the ages of 12–15, most infielders and other players quit using face masks. Even at the university and high school levels, many pitchers continue to use face masks. Line drives to the face are not a risk worth taking for these players.
If your child is uncomfortable with the idea of wearing a mask, remind them that many famous people, both in and out of the classroom, do so.
After a line drive injured pitcher Paige Lowary of Oklahoma’s national championship team, she began playing professionally while wearing a face mask.
She had a concussion and a black eye as a result of this. No, we’re not trying to frighten you. Simply put, we want all of our softball players to be aware of the risks they face.
Recap– Why Softball Players Wear Mask
In a nutshell, there are a variety of factors that contribute to why softball players wear masks.
Players should always wear masks for many reasons, including:
- Safety from batted balls
- Protection from the wind
- cleanliness of the helmet
- visibility in low light
Each participant must determine for himself whether they will need or benefit from wearing a mask. Some people may find it worthwhile to make the effort due to the increased security and enhanced performance.
While others may not see the need, regardless of your choice, remember to focus on safety on the field.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do All Softball Leagues Mandate the Use of Face Masks?
No, face masks are not mandatory at any level of play or league. It’s up to the player and coach in certain leagues and organizations, but not in others.
Does a player’s performance Hamper if they wear a Face mask?
Although some players may suffer pain or a decrease in peripheral vision, Many report feeling more confident. Additionally, wearing it makes players capable of performing with greater confidence due to the extra protection provided.
How Do I Get a Softball Face Mask?
You can pick up a softball mask at any sports goods shop. They may also be purchased online and are inexpensive for what you get. There are a wide variety of masks available. Most masks include detachable straps so that you can adjust them to fit both children and adults. Metal and plastic are also available, as are a wide range of colors and styles. You may coordinate your team’s look down to the mask you wear.
Where Did Softball Facemasks Come From?
In the late 1990s, softball adopted face masks for pitchers as a precaution. Third basemen and shortstops, among others, began to use them more often over time. These days, it’s not unusual to see players in youth, high school, and collegiate softball games wearing face masks.