Softball Steps Back
Blog: From the Director
Posted Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The national rules committee for high school softball is moving pitchers a few steps further from home plate.  Effective for school year 2010-11, the pitching rubber must be 43 feet from home – three feet further.

The rationale is to put more balls in play and to get more defense involved.  Schools in Florida and Oregon have conducted experiments with the 43-foot distance during the past two seasons; and coaches have reacted positively to the greater distance.

After more than a decade of discussion and nearly unanimous opposition year after year, the change passed the national rules committee in June.  At least two states, including Michigan, requested that the change not be imposed on the high school game at this time.  Several concerns were cited, including that the facilities used for the high school game are also used for other levels of softball that retain the 40-foot distance. 

Although a 43 foot pitching distance at the high school varsity level may have merit and create more balance between offense and defense, concerns remain about the longer distance for subvarsity and junior high/middle school programs that must be addressed.

The Amateur Softball Association uses the 43-foot distance for competitions involving players over 18 years of age.  The distance is currently 40 feet for 16 to 18-year-olds competition; but the ASA has a vote scheduled in November that could change that for 2010. Colleges utilize the 43-foot distance.

The MHSAA Baseball/Softball Committee will review the change in January and should it recommend that the national change not be imposed in Michigan in 2011, that recommendation will be considered by the MHSAA Representative Council in May.

Comments

# chadjv4@comcast.net
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:18 PM
As an official who works MHSAA, ASA, NSA and some college softball this is a good change. However, the federation needs to take this a step further and eliminate the rule which allows pitchers to step back prior to the pitch. This is illegal in every other association exept high school and is not properly preparing girls for college softball.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:19 PM
make the game the same as it's in college. your holding the girls back.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:20 PM
This will be a big mess from a facilities standpoint, thus this is where the pushback is coming from. Most public and many HS facilities are mutliple use fields. Moving the rubber three feet back means two mound turf issue areas and not one, with the 43 feet follow through going on top of the 40 feet mound.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:21 PM
Make the change. If we don't adjust high school to match travel and college we risk the better pitchers opting out of high school ball.
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:22 PM
MAKE THE CHANGE.... We are not doing the Varsity girls any favors pitching at 40'... everyone knows that 43' is a pitchers game....more movement on the ball. The girls that play really competive travel already pitch at 43 in 16U if they play college showcase tournments. Besides lets give all the girls a equal chance to play in college....I have a kid headed to play college ball and it sure is not from playing highschool ball at 40'....lets play NCAA ball

As for two plates ...its not a big deal..is there a varsity pitcher out there with less than a 3 foot stride?....lots of tournments switch the plates between games at 16/18u tournments
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:23 PM
our youth league is in the process of building a new softball field and we are putting in a two anchor system for the pitchers plate. This should make it easy to move the plate to whatever distances the anchors are set for. problem solved !!
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:24 PM
The federation needs to take this a step further and eliminate the rule which allows pitchers to step back prior to the pitch. This is illegal in every other association exept high school and is not properly preparing girls for college....
# gw
Friday, December 30, 2011 10:25 PM
The federation needs to take this a step further and eliminate the rule which allows pitchers to step back prior to the pitch. This is illegal in every other association exept high school and is not properly preparing girls for college softball.

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