The softball throw is a track and field event used as a substitute for more technical throwing events in competitions involving Youth, Paralympic, Special Olympics and Senior competitors.The general rules for the softball throw parallel those of the javelin throw when conducted in a formal environment, but the implement being thrown is a standard softball, which resembles the size of a standard shot but is considerably lighter.
The event was one of the standardized test events as part of the President's Award on Physical Fitness. It is an official event for ages 9–12 in the Hershey Youth track and field program. Other meets include it as a beginners event. It is a youth event for the World Dwarf Games.
Certain divisions of the Special Olympics throw a softball, specified in the rules as having a 30 cm circumference. Some divisions do a similar ball throw using a tennis ball. While it is not in the official National championship program, it is often part of local senior competitions.
The objective of the sport is similar to that of other throwing events, which is, to throw the softball as far as possible. Though most competitions are decided based on distance, there are a very few competitions that also take into account the accuracy of throws to decide the winner.
In competitions, the softball throw event is conducted in a similar fashion to that of javelin throw event. The size of the softball used is a standardized size which has a 30cm circumference. Athletes are allowed to use a running start before the throw, but are not allowed to cross the starting line before the ball falls onto the ground. Each athlete gets multiple attempts, usually six, to throw the ball. The athlete with the farthest throw is declared as the winner.