Softball has three main pitches: fastball, curveball, and changeup. The most complex type of pitch is the fastball. The other two types of pitches are much harder to hit than a fastball. The difference between them is that the curveball and changeup have different speeds at which they come off the pitcher’s hand.

The fastball is thrown with maximum speed from a pitcher’s hand. It can reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour (62 kilometers per hour). The curveball is thrown with less speed than the fastball but still faster than an off-speed pitch like a slider or a sinker. It can reach speeds up to 80 miles per hour (50 kilometers per hour).

The changeup is thrown between fastballs and curveballs, so it has more movement than either but not as much as an off-speed pitch like a slider or a sinker. It can reach speeds up to 70 miles per hour (43 kilometers per hour).

There are many more types, such as two-seam and four-seam fastballs, offspeed, knuckleballs, etc. You’ll naturally learn more types and how to do them as you play more.

Softball batter about to miss a pitched ball.

Which type is the best?

There are several different types of pitches in softball. The most basic pitches are the fastball or the curveball, which are thrown at high speed and spin a lot. The other two types of pitches are the changeup and the slider.

All pitchers use the fastball to get batters out, but it’s not necessarily the most challenging pitch. The curveball is thrown harder and spins more than the fastball, so it’s more difficult for batters to hit.

The changeup is thrown faster than a fastball or curveball but has less spin. Because it’s slower and has less spin, hitters have time to react before they have to swing at it making it easier for pitchers to throw that pitch accurately.

Sliders come in two varieties: straight and breaking. A straight slider doesn’t break much as it races toward home plate; a breaking slider breaks more than a straight one does and will deceive hitters into swinging at balls they think are fastballs when they’re breaking sliders (or vice versa).

Fastball vs. slider vs. changeup: Pitches by speed

Pitchers tend to choose among these three speeds in most softball games.


The fastest type of pitch in softball is the fastball. It is thrown at high speeds, and it travels very quickly.

Fastballs are thrown at speeds of over 100 miles per hour. They’re usually thrown from a perpendicular sidearm in softball and are used to generate velocity on the ball, which is often combined with other pitches.

Fastballs in baseball are pitched overhand.


A slider is similar to a fastball but travels slower, allowing hitters more time to react. Sliders tend to have less movement than fastballs, but they can still be incredibly effective against batters who don’t know how to adjust for them.

Sliders are thrown using a sidearm delivery but with a drag-style grip that allows for a spin on the ball. The result is a slow pitch that deceives hitters.


The changeup is thrown as close to the release point as possible without actually releasing it. This creates a slower ball that gives the batter less time to react since it seems like it’s going slower than it is. It also allows batters less time for adjustments because they aren’t expecting something fast to come right out of their hand.

Changeups come in many different speeds and spins.

Drop ball vs. rising ball vs. curveball: Pitches by angle

There are the three most common pitching styles in categorizing by angle. They are drop ball, rise ball, and curveball. Each pitch has unique characteristics and requires different techniques to be thrown effectively.

Drop Ball

This is the most basic pitch in softball. It is thrown at the speed of 50 mph with a downward angle of 50 degrees and a release point a few inches behind the plate. To throw this pitch, one must have strong arms and fingers that can generate great speed when throwing. It requires good timing and accuracy to be thrown properly.

The drop ball is one of the simplest pitches in softball for beginners. All you have to do is drop your wrist and arm downward while throwing the ball. This allows you to release the ball without worrying about spinning it. The only problem with this pitch is that it doesn’t produce much power and won’t go as far as some other pitches.

Rise Ball

The rise ball is thrown at speeds up to 65 mph with an upward angle of 40 degrees, in which the release point lies within 5 feet behind the plate. This pitch requires an accurate arm action with strong fingers that can generate great speed when throwing this pitch. It needs good timing and accuracy to be thrown properly and good hand-eye coordination skills to make it look smooth when it launches off your grip.

In some ways, the rise ball is similar to a drop ball except for one thing – it requires more effort than just dropping your arm downward and releasing a pitch right away. Instead, you need to bring your elbow up slightly before releasing the ball so that it rises over the home plate and then falls back down after reaching home base.

This extra effort means you have more control over where your pitch goes once released from your hand, making it easier for batters to catch up with them if they’re thrown too high or too low.

The ball is dropped from above, like usual, but instead of dropping straight down as if using your arm, you keep your arms straight and bring the ball up while maintaining a normal arm angle. This will cause the ball to drop more than if you just dropped it straight down with your arm.


Curveball is a slower pitching technique that takes some time to reach a maximum speed of 64 mph with an upward angle of 30 degrees, in which the release point lies 10 feet behind.

The drop-curve is a pitch where you throw the ball vertically from your glove, like a fastball, except on the inside of the plate. The drop-curve has two basic grips: one with your thumb and forefinger wrapped around the outside of the ball (the “outside curve”) and one with your index finger wrapped around the inside of the ball (the “inside curve”).

The drop curve can also be thrown by using a grip with just one hand, although it is more challenging to do so, requiring tremendous arm strength.

The rise-curve is a pitch where you are throwing the ball at an angle from your glove, similar to a screwball but without spinning it counter-clockwise as a screwball does instead, this pitch spins clockwise as it heads toward home plate. The rise-curve has different grips that give different spins, angles, and speeds.