Americans for years have been fascinated with baseball; each year new fans are created by the thousands into America’s favorite pastime. This is the most popular sport for boys. Each year millions of kids play baseball. However, we must not forget that while baseball is for boys, softball is primarily for girls, and t-ball is for the much younger kids.
T-Ball is the perfect sport for a very young child typically between the ages of 4-8 years old who want to play baseball or softball. This gives them a great beginning way to play, and since there is no pitcher, they are safer from balls flying at them at high speeds. Children are able to learn to swing the bat, and run the bases as well as beginning teamwork skills that will be essential to baseball or softball.
Baseball is a great sport in that league rules say each child must play during each game, which means parents are not signing kids up for them to be benchwarmers all season long. They are able to start using a pitcher, and actually swinging at the balls from the pitcher once they advance from T-Ball to Little League baseball. Typically most little league teams start accepting children around 8 years and older.
Softball is a bit different from baseball; the ball is approximately 12″-16″ in circumference, whereas a baseball is only 9″ in circumference. Softball also adds one more player on the field so there is a total of 10, whereas baseball only allows 9. Another difference is that the field for softball is a bit smaller than baseball, and the pitcher is only allowed to throw underhand, whereas baseball has only overhand pitches. Boys and girls can both play softball; however, girls are the majority playing competition softball and softball after middle school.
All three of these sports have great benefits for the kids playing such as building great teamwork skills, increasing agility and balance, as well as improving hand-eye coordination. These sports are also awesome at building overall muscle strength and conditioning. Upper body strength is also well developed from batting, and lower body strength is also developed from the running.
Kids who excel in these sports typically are great team players. While each player can earn some individual recognition they are very much team sports, with either, the whole team celebrating, or the whole team trying harder next time. Hand-eye coordination is almost an absolute requirement, otherwise batting and pitching will be extremely difficult, which is a good majority of the game.
Kids can typically start T-Ball around 5-6 years of age, while baseball and softball at the recreational level do not start until 7-8. Little league baseball and softball teams typically start at around age 9. It is important to note that coaches are doing the pitching in the younger teams; kids do not start pitching until approximately 10 years old when they have developed the skills necessary to throw consistently.
While girls are given the opportunity to still play baseball, many transition towards softball all on their own. It can always be argued that this transition occurs due to gender profiling and high amounts of peer pressure, but some girls do fight the trend and continue to play baseball rather than switch to softball.
The costs can vary greatly depending upon how serious the child is. Each child at a minimum should have their own glove so they can practice on their own, as well as mold the glove to the shape of their hand, which will make it much more comfortable to wear. The average costs are between $150-$500 for fees plus all equipment depending upon the age of the child, and the position they play.