The ball in baseball is 9 inches, and a baseball glove is designed with a pocket sufficient to hold it. On the other hand, the ball in softball can be 11 or 12 inches - meaning that a glove to catch one will be different from a baseball one comfortably.
You can’t use softball and baseball gloves interchangeably.
Softball gloves have a deeper and bigger pocket in comparison to baseball gloves. But that doesn’t mean it’s not allowed to use these gloves interchangeably. If a comfortable fit is a bigger priority for you, then you can go with a baseball glove while playing softball.
Is it legal to use a baseball glove while playing softball?
The short answer is yes. You can use your baseball glove. But it’s important to know that when you are playing softball, there are some differences between the two sports. For example, softball uses a larger ball than baseball. And the rules of play are different in each sport.
If you do decide to use your baseball glove while playing softball, make sure that you check with your league’s rules before using it. You may find that using it could result in penalties for your team or even an ejection from the game.
Size and padding differences
Baseball gloves and softball gloves are not the same.
The main difference between the two gloves is that baseball gloves have a larger palm section and less padding, while softball gloves have a smaller palm section and more padding.
The glove size is measured in inches, with the palm being about half the total circumference. The diameter of a baseball glove is usually around 8 1/2 inches, while a softball glove can be anywhere from 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 inches in diameter.
Baseball handwear protects the hands and wrist area, while softball handwear protects the entire arm from shoulder to wrist.
Switching between baseball and softball gloves
For most players who play both sports, it’s easy to switch between the two. However, there are some things that you have to pay attention to if you’re switching between the two sports.
For example, baseball players tend to use lighter-weight gloves than those used for softball. So, if you’re a softball pitcher switching to playing the infield in baseball, your new glove should be lighter than what you used for pitching before switching over.
In addition to size and weight differences, other things can make it difficult for someone who plays both sports to change over from one glove to another without having problems with their hands or wrists.
If you play both sports regularly and want to switch from one glove type to another without having any issues related to hand or wrist pain, then consider buying two separate sets of gloves so that when one pair gets dirty or worn out, you can swap them out for another pair instead of trying to find something that fits your needs better.
How appropriate is using baseball gloves in softball?
If you’re comfortable, then it’s very appropriate - but you should try softball gloves anyway. If you’re not used to baseball gloves either, it makes little sense to go for them instead of proper softball ones.
The main difference between baseball and softball is that baseball has much more movement than a softball. In baseball, pitchers are allowed to throw underhand or overhand pitches with three types of balls: fastballs (3/4"), slowballs (1/2"), and curveballs (semi-slow). In addition to this rule set, many leagues allow pitchers to use other pitches, such as changing speeds and sliders or knuckleballs.
As a result of more movement, baseball has very different kinds of gloves with different sizes and padding - sometimes also other materials and quality. Softball gloves are better for the lower movement, bigger ball scenario of the softball game.
The same fielder with a baseball glove and a softball glove will perform better than a softball glove in a softball match. The same goes for comfort and fit.
A valid reason to go for baseball gloves is when you have especially small hands and can’t find an appropriately-sized softball glove. This shouldn’t be the case as long as you look hard enough, but it is a valid reason.
Do you need a different glove for softball? Most definitely. Comfort and fit are both essential when it comes to gloves, and doing it wrong can cost you dearly in the game.
Nobody wants to lose a catch just because the gloves have smaller pockets for 9-inch balls! Go with a softball glove, and you should be in the clear.