Do Softball Players Wear Cups? (Solved!)

Anyone who’s ever played softball knows how much fun it can be. There’s hardly anything better you can do on a sunny summer day than play a game of softball.

Still, it’s important to remember that besides having fun, you should always keep yourself safe.

Skilled pitchers, especially at the higher levels, can throw balls that go as fast as 70 miles per hour.

Getting hit by one of those projectiles can cause serious injuries.

Wearing protective equipment is essential to keeping you safe, no matter what position you play.

When watching a softball game, you can see players wearing helmets, masks, and chest and shin guards.

However, not all protective gear is visible, leading many to wonder do softball players wear cups.

Below, I’ll try to answer this question and explain the differences in this sensitive protective equipment for male and female softball players.

Do Softball Players Wear Cups?

Male softball catcher.

While health and safety professionals always recommend wearing protection cups, not all players listen to this advice.

A lot of them feel that the risk of injury is not that great to justify the slight discomfort they may feel while having cups on.

However, injuries in the groin area, while rare, are often rather serious and can leave lasting effects on the injured player.

Still, these voluntary decisions can be made only in the adult leagues.

USA Softball, a body that makes the rules for the leagues with over 150,000 teams nationally, has a mandatory cup rule applying to youth leagues.

The rule says that every male catcher, or any other player helping the pitcher warm up, must wear protective cups.

However, there’s no mention of the adult players in the rulebook, so they’re not obligated to use cups.

Nevertheless, some leagues have their own rules making cup wearing mandatory.

Why Should Softball Players Wear Cups?

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As we all know, the groin and pelvic area are among the most sensitive on our body.

Those who had been unfortunate enough to be hit “between the legs” know who painful this can be.

So, it’s easy to understand that a softball, flying 70 miles per hour, can do some real damage.

At best, you may miss a few innings. At worst, you can end up in the ER and endure lasting health issues.

Truth be told, these injuries are not that common.

However, according to some studies, between 2 and 5 percent of injuries are in this area.

This may not seem like much, but as they are often serious, growing protection should be taken seriously.

Getting hit in the private parts by a ball can cause testicular torsion or rapture. Furthermore, it can negatively influence long-term fertility.

Do Female Softball Catchers Wear a Cup?

Female softball catcher and umpire in homebase.

Certain sports can bring injury risks to both sexes. Softball is definitely among them, particularly since it’s probably the most popular sport for the ladies.

Just like men, women also risk getting hit in the genital and pelvic area by a fast-flying ball.

However, several studies have shown that a large portion of female softball players doesn’t use any sort of protection in this area.

For obvious reasons, they often feel less exposed than men and therefore think that they’re at lesser risk of an injury.

Still, just like with men, this area is very sensitive, packed with nerves, and every hit can be extremely painful.

The female pubic bone consists of two pieces, connected by ligaments.

Being hit by a fastball in this area can cause painful trauma, tear the ligaments, and separate or fracture the pubic bone.

There’s no need to emphasize how serious this can be.

What is a Pelvis Protector?

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The sports protective equipment market is predominantly geared towards men, and women can often have trouble finding the proper and comfortable protective gear for themselves.

This is particularly the case with the groin area, as ladies, of course, have no use for male protective cups.

However, women have their own version of an athletic cup called the pelvis protector.

This piece of protective equipment is also often called “jill”, or “jillstrap” as opposed to “jockstrap”.

It’s designed to cover and protect the entire genital region from bruising or tearing.

Pelvis protector is smaller than men’s protector, less deep, and often more narrow as it covers the smaller body area.

They often feature plastic protection filled with composite foam and an adjustable waist strap.

A proper pelvis protector should fully protect ladies’ private parts while still providing full comfort and freedom while on the softball field.

Do Softball Umpires Wear Protective Cups?

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Just like players, softball umpires can sometimes get in the way of a wild ball and suffer an injury.

We all see them wearing shin and chest protectors , but sometimes a ball can hit them in their private parts and cause groin injuries.

For this reason, plenty of empires use protective cups, even though there’s no official rule requiring them to do so.

After all, they are the ones who inspect the mandatory equipment.

For umpires wearing cups, the most important thing, besides groin protection, is that they’re comfortable.

An umpire’s job involves a lot of standing, squatting, and running, so they need to war the equipment that allows them to move freely.

Most of them wear a jockstrap with a cup over their shorts or thighs.


Despite what many people think, softball doesn’t differ much from baseball when it comes to injury risks.

In fastpitch softball, pitchers throw balls only a bit slower than their baseball counterparts.

And players can get hit by a pitch, foul ball, to line drive at any time.

Getting hit in the groin region by a ball that flies at 70 mph can cause serious and long-lasting effects on a player’s health.

This goes for both men and women playing the sport.

That’s why it’s essential to reduce those risks and protect yourself by wearing protective cups, or pelvis protectors in the case of ladies.

Sacrificing a little bit of your comfort is definitely worth it when you know that it can prevent a damaging injury.

Paul Hall
Paul Hall

Hello, I’m Paul, a 45 year old passionate baseball fan and the owner of this website. I hope my article could help to answer your questions.

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