Softball began in 1887 when George Hancock, a reporter for the Chicago Board of Trade, invented "indoor baseball". By the spring of 1888, the game had spread outdoors. It was originally called either mushball, kittenball or indoor baseball, but by the 1920s it had acquired the name of softball. The sport became organised in the United States in 1933 with the formation of the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA). The sport was originally played by men and did not become popular with women until the formation of the ASA.

Softball has a variation of baseball, the game started with different elements from other sports of which were boxing and boating. A boating club and a boxing glove were the key parts when playing a game of Softball. Throughout time softball was once known as Indoor Baseball, kitten ball, mush ball and pumpkin ball. The game then adopted the name Softball by the 1930s. Softball then grew a reputation across the United States and as a result of its growth in popularity it became a well-recognised sport across the world.

Softball spread slowly to the rest of the world with, perhaps, it biggest push coming from American servicemen playing and teaching the game on the far-flung fields of World War II.
It was not until 1965 that the International Softball Federation (ISF) was formed. Author Karen Christensen, in Encyclopedia of World Sport, notes that softball spread to the United Kingdom because of an American movie. The movie, "A Touch of Class", was filmed in London and featured a softball game, which began to be played in England as a result.
Softball consists of several disciplines: fast pitch, slow pitch, and modified fast pitch. Fast pitch allows two main underhand pitching deliveries; one that involves an entire revolution and the other where the pitchers arm comes back and then forward. Slow pitch requires the pitcher to lob the ball underhanded with an arc that reaches a minimum height of 1.83 metres and a maximum height of 3.66 metres. A modified fast pitch allows underhand deliveries but the arm must not make a complete revolution around the shoulder socket. Internationally, fast pitch is the dominant game. In the United States, slow pitch is played by millions of people in recreational leagues. Adult softball bats are used in all disciplines of the game.

World championships in fast pitch softball were first held in 1965 for women and 1966 for men. Slow-pitch world championships began in 1987, and the competition resumed in Florida (USA) in June of 2002. The first world competition for junior men and women was held in 1981 and a World Cup for age 16-under girls began in 2001. The ISF now counts 122 national federations as members.
History of Softball in New Zealand
1946-47-Ford-Motor-Company.jpg The history of softball in New Zealand dates back to 1935 when the game was first played as a recreation by visiting American sailors.

The man really responsible for introducing the game into New Zealand was Mr W. H. Wilson, of the Ford Motor Company, who had played the game in the United States before coming here.

The first organised competitions took place in the summer of 1937/38, the Wellington Softball (Baseball) Association was formed in November 1937, and with the game spreading rapidly up and down the country the N.Z. (Baseball) Softball Council was formed at a meeting at Kelvin Gymnasium, Wellington, on January 11, 1938.