In the sport of softball, the summer months bring a problem to the field that can be addressed with a uniform adjustment. The sun is a burden for anyone attempting to catch a fly ball when the sun is shining directly in your path. So do players wear hats to assist them on the field?
Softball players have the choice of wearing a hat, or more commonly, a visor. Visors and hats provide adequate protection from the sun for fly balls, batting, and sunburn.
Visors seem to be the prominent choice among women’s softball players. So why is it that women seem to choose visors over the traditional baseball cap?
The Benefits of Hats and Visors
If you watch softball today, most of the women you see will be wearing visors. Both visors and hats help keep the sun out of the eyes, face, nose, and cheeks. This prevents sunburn and allows line of sight to be improved from the impact of the sun’s rays.
They both keep sweat from dripping on your face which is a necessity while having to maintain superb awareness during a softball game.
Whether it be a fast-pitched ball or a ball of the bat, the speed of the ball requires clear eyesight at all times in order for the player’s not to be injured by an incoming ball.
Are Hats Mandatory for Softball Players?
In section 3.10.1 of the NCAA’s handbook, they are considered optional accessories, up to the discretion of the wearer. A major rule that applies is that the hat must stay the colors that are intended for its wear. Those colors are always the school’s team colors.
Hats aren’t as much of a necessity as in baseball. The ball is much bigger in softball and doesn’t require the shading that baseball players need in order to catch a much smaller ball. For safety reasons, they are required in baseball, and not required in softball.
Hats Vs Visors
- Hats have started to grow out of style over the years.
- Many women prefer visors due to their long hair and ponytails.
- Most women’s hairstyles don’t fit well with a hat.
- Visors allow more ventilation of the head and result in less sweating in that area. They are much cooler than hats.
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More popular than both hats and visors are the trendy headbands that come in all kinds of different styles. Every player can get their own custom headband, provided it falls in line with team colors just like a hat or visor.
Headbands prevent sweat just like their comparison, however, they lack the bill that visors and hats provide to shield the face from sunlight.
This is manageable since as we talked about before, the softball is bigger than a normal baseball, therefore making it not necessary for a bill if the woman prefers not to wear one.
Wearing Masks Over Hats
A lot of coaches in softball recommend their players wear masks. It protects against line drives, therefore it is essential for some infielders wanting to play closer than normal in a tight game situation.
Since softball players play on a smaller field than baseball players, line drives reach them even faster, especially if they are playing in on the batter expecting a bunt or trying to stop a runner on third base.
It is a huge hit with pitchers since pitchers are the closest out of all infielders to the batter and may suffer the greatest from a line drive up the middle.
From experience, I know how damaging a line drive can be in softball. I hit a shot down the right-field line playing intermural softball and the woman who was playing third base did not react in time.
It hit her in the face; something that could have been less damaging if she were to be wearing a mask. As a player safety concern, regulators of the rules are seriously considering making wearing a mask for infielders and pitchers mandatory in the future.
There are many reasons why a softball player would choose to wear a hat or any one of the other accessories mentioned that serve the same purpose. Between vision, safety, and shielding themselves from a blinding sun, it is a good idea to be prepared with one.
The benefits of wearing a hat outweigh not wearing one. No, a player doesn’t have to wear one, but in my opinion, they should give it serious consideration if they are playing in the sun. As an ex-baseball player, a hat can prove to be essential on the field in more ways than one.
In my book, safety registers as more important than all other aspects when playing a sport. Being safe is the number one priority before anything, and wearing a hat provides that extra layer of protection needed at times on the field.
It’s better to be safe than sorry next time that fly ball is hit to you and you are under the blinding sun. You don’t want to be the one taking a softball to the face!