Fastpitch softball is the faster-paced, more aggressive version of regular softball. The pitcher's plate is 35-40 feet from home plate, depending on the softball league. Bases are 60 feet apart, and the runners cannot lead off until the pitch is thrown. All of these ingredients make for a very fast-paced game, which is usually over within an hour and a half.

The pitcher uses an underhand "windmill" pitch, and such pitches have been clocked at well over 70mph. Fastpitch balls can have more movement (curving, rising, dropping, etc.) than baseballs, and the batter has very little time to judge a pitch and swing. Fastpitch softball is primarily a game of defense.

While there are leagues for both men and women, most fastpitch softball players are women. There is a formidable NCAA fastpitch league, and the finals are played every year at the Softball Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.