Creating a softball field is one of the best things a township, municipality or school district can do for its citizens. A softball field provides recreation for townsfolk. It gives high school students a way to stay active and experience the importance of teamwork. Students may also strive to receive better grades so they can stay on the school's softball team.
When you decide to create a softball field, you need to make sure the dimensions are correct. A poorly designed softball field could cause problems for the game. Players may struggle to reach their full potential. If the field's dimensions and layout are not up to official standards, then the school may be unable to use it to host home games. A softball field is a great addition to any town. But if you're going to make one, then you should make sure it's up to spec.
The experts at Grand Slam Safety have created this guide to correct softball field layout to help you design your local high school or college's new softball field. High school softball field dimensions and measurements are specific. You'll need to have great attention to detail to create a field that adheres to the official rules and regulations. Use this guide to softball field dimensions to begin the design process on the right foot. When construction time arrives, everyone will be on the same page for a smooth project.
Proper high school and college softball field dimensions are crucial in creating a field the whole town can enjoy. It can even make a difference in the lives of students for years to come.
The Parts of a Softball Field
To take the right softball field measurements, you need to understand the terms. There are many parts of a softball field. Their locations in relation to the others are specific, so you should know each part before getting out the measuring tape.
If you've played softball before, then you may be familiar with the field. Use this list as a refresher. If you have never played the game, then use this list to prepare for the specific measurements and dimensions to come.
Here are the parts of a softball field:
Home plate: This may be the most well-known part of the softball field. After traveling the bases, players seek to return to the home plate to score. Pitchers throw the ball over the home plate when someone is up to bat.
Bases: Three bases exist on the softball field: first, second and third base. After batting, players will run the bases in hopes of making it back to home plate. Players are safe on the bases, so you'll see players standing on or near them throughout the game. Together, the three bases make a triangle around the pitcher's circle.
Batter's box: This is the area near the home plate where players are able to stand when they're up to bat. There is a batter's box drawn on the ground with chalk on each side of the home plate. This gives both right or left-handed players a chance to bat.
Backstop: The backstop is the fencing behind home plate that keeps a ball on the field and prevents it from hitting spectators.
Pitcher's circle: This is the area in the center of the infield where pitchers stand. They throw their pitches from this mound.
Pitching rubber: This is the rubber rectangle on the pitcher's mound where the pitcher stands.
Baselines: The baselines connect the bases and the home plate to each other. This gives the four bases the familiar diamond shape that so many people associate with softball and baseball.
Infield: This is the grassy area of the diamond and the packed dirt beyond the three bases.
Outfield: This is the grassy area beyond the infield. It extends to the outfield fencing.
Foul lines: The foul lines are extensions of the baselines that run from home plate to first and home plate to third. If a batter hits the ball outside of these lines, it's a foul ball.
Foul poles: These tall poles mark the intersection of the foul lines with the outfield fencing. They make it easy for players to tell whether or not a fly ball is fair as it soars beyond the fencing.
Outfield fencing: The outfield fencing lies at the furthest edge of the outfield. It marks where the field of play ends. If a batter hits a ball beyond the outfield fencing, it's a home run.
Softball Fencing and Outfield Dimensions
Outfield fencing is one of the most important parts of a softball field. By building a softball field with a fence, your town can host high school or college tournaments. This can drive up revenue for your town as people come from all over to root for their favorite teams.
None of this can happen if your field lacks a fence, though. Fences are a crucial part of high school and college softball regulation guidelines, so you'll need them to host official tournaments.
Student-athletes should have the chance to experience the thrill of scoring a home run. Hitting the ball "out of the park" is one of the most exhilarating accomplishments for young players. The feeling never gets old as people continue their careers into college and beyond. This makes installing an outfield fence crucial to giving students the best softball experience possible.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) list dimensions for high school and college softball fields. We use their distances throughout this guide to ensure accuracy so you can determine your softball field dimensions with confidence.
For high school fields, the outfield fencing distance should be 185 feet to 235 feet from home plate for female fast-pitch softball. Female slow-pitch softball uses a longer distance of 250 feet to 275 feet from home plate to the outfield fencing. Fencing distances for college softball fields include a right and left field distance of 190 feet to 235 feet and a center field distance of 220 to 235 feet.
The outfield fencing should make an arc-type shape that intersects with both foul lines at the point of the foul poles. The length of your fencing will depend on the exact distance you choose. The higher distance estimates will result in a longer fence than the shorter estimates.
Here's one way to determine the exact distance and location of your softball field's outfield fencing. Follow these steps:
Locate the back tip of home plate. You'll have to determine most distances on the softball field using home plate as the starting point. Mark this point with a stake in the ground.
Tie a string to this stake and walk your desired distance into the outfield through second base. This will be the largest distance of the field as well as the center point of your outfield fencing. Use spray paint to mark this point on the ground.
Next, walk the string toward one of the foul poles, spraying a dotted line on the ground below the string. Then walk in the other direction to spray the ground on your way to the other foul pole. Make sure to keep the string tight the whole time to ensure an accurate distance for the entire length of your future outfield fencing.
You'll then have the exact location of your outfield fencing marked on the outfield. Then, it's only a matter of installing the fence and getting your softball field ready for some games. But, figuring out where to put your outfield fencing is easier when the rest of the softball field is set up.
Softball Field Diamond Dimensions
Lots of the game's action will happen in the diamond. That's why you need to make sure you use accurate softball diamond dimensions when designing the field. As you read above, the diamond gets its name by drawing lines between the three bases and home plate. The four plates together make four corners of a square. Since home plate is the bottommost point, it looks like a diamond from above.
The NFHS and the NCAA list specific distances for the diamond, so you must follow them to make your field game-ready for either high school or college competitions.
High School Softball Field Diamond Dimensions
Remember that you'll be measuring most of these distances using the bottom tip of home plate as the starting point. Here are some measurements you'll need to know as you create your high school's new softball field:
Home plate to first base: Measure 60 feet from the back tip of home plate to the right corner of first base.
First base to second: Measure a 60-foot line from the right corner of first base to the middle of second base.
Second base to third: From the middle of second base to the left corner of third base, measure another 60-foot line.
Third base to home: Measure a 60-foot line from the left corner of third base to the bottom tip of home plate. These four lines together make the classic diamond shape seen on baseball and softball fields around the world.
Home plate to second base: The distance from the bottom tip of home plate to the middle of second base should be 84 feet and 10 and 1/4 inches.
Home plate to the front of the pitching rubber: Make sure the distance from the bottom tip of home plate to the front of the pitching rubber is 46 feet. This is the softball pitching distance between the batter and the pitcher.
Pitcher's circle: The pitcher's circle surrounds the pitching rubber. Create an eight-foot radius from the center of the pitching rubber to create the right size pitcher's circle. This would create a pitching circle with a 16-foot diameter.
Infield arc: The infield arc marks the separation between the packed dirt of the infield from the grassy area of the outfield. From the center of the pitcher's circle, measure a 60-foot line into the outfield. Use this distance to create the infield arc. It's essentially a part of a circle using a 60-foot radius from the center of the pitcher's mound.
College Softball Field Diamond Dimensions
If you plan on using your field for college softball games, then you'll need to make sure you follow these specifications:
Home plate to first and third bases: Both of these lanes should be a distance of 60 feet from the back tip of home plate to the base.
Home plate to second: This should be a distance of 84 feet and 10 and 1/4 inches from the back tip of home to the base.
Distance between bases: Measure 60 feet between first, second and third bases.
Home plate to the front of the pitching rubber: The distance from the back tip of home plate to the pitching rubber should be 43 feet.
Pitcher's circle: This should have an 8-foot radius drawn in the same fashion as the high school pitcher's circle.
Infield arc: This should be a 60-foot arc with its start at the center of the pitcher's plate.