Softball is a game that is played with almost the same rules as baseball. The ball is indeed not "soft" as the name suggests. It is played with a hard, round ball (similar to a baseball) that is 9-12 inches in diameter (size depends on age of players). The ball is pitched underhanded to the batter as opposed to the overhand pitch of baseball. The batter tries to hit the ball with a bat. The ball is usually pitched about as fast as a slow pitched baseball (when pitched by someone with comparable experience). The game is played by adults in recreational leagues. It is also played by girls in recreational leagues as well as schools, colleges and was in the Olympics until recently. I don't really know if young boys play softball, prefering baseball instead. It is governed by the Little League or ASA (American Softbal Association), depending on where you live. The rules are also modified as a girl moves up in age divisions. It can be very serious business since girls can get softball scholarships to college. College rules are governed by the ASA. We recently moved our 11 year old daughter from a Little League Softball program to an ASA one in another town since the rules are a little different. If she continues to play into high school and college she needs to be familar with the ASA rules. I hope this give you some info without totally confusing you.