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It isn’t a huge change. But there will be 3 more feet of room between the pitcher’s mound and the batters in high school softball starting with the 2010 season. The …
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It isn’t a huge change. But there will be 3 more feet of room between the pitcher’s mound and the batters in high school softball starting with the 2010 season.
The National Federation of State High School Associations decided to make the pitching distance 43 feet. Some used that distance this fall. Everyone will use it next year.
Effective with the 2010-11 school year, the pitching distance for high school varsity softball pitchers will increase from 40 feet to 43 feet.
Two states – Florida and Oregon – tried the new distance the past few years. The NFHS said coaches in both states supported the change.
Mary Struckhoff, NFHS assistant director and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee, said the change would create more balance between the offense and the defense.
“Our main thrust is getting the defense more involved,” she said in a release on the NFHS Web site. “When more balls are hit into play, the defense is more involved in the game, thus enhancing skill development.”
Fort Lupton coach Kelly Jones-Wagy said the change was two-fold. One was the advance in technology and the speed with which the ball comes off the bat. That, she said, forced the corner infield positions (first and third base) and pitchers to react faster to protect themselves.
“The other reason is that at college and the 18A competitive level, the distance is 43 feet,” she said. “Having high school move back makes sense considering the short amount of time between the summer and high school season.”
As far as her team’s pitchers are concerned, Jones-Wagy thought the move was good.
“They’re used to pitching at 43 feet. And while it does have some effect on speed, it also allows for more movement on the ball which is more important in being an effective pitcher than speed alone,” she said.
Prairie View coach Brandin Becher thought there would be a noticeable difference.
“I think the game will become less dominated by pitching and make it more competitive, at least for a while,” he said. “The pitcher will have just that much more time to defend herself on a hot shot up the middle.”
Colleges use the 43-foot distance as well. Sixteen-year-old and 18-year-old summer-sanctioned teams will have made the move before practice starts in August.
Brighton coach Tony Bruno agreed that the change would bring about more offense in games, But he doesn’t like the idea at all.
“I can’t speak for other states, but this is a horrible decision for Colorado,” he said. “Half of the schools in our state struggle to find a kid who can pitch it 40 feet Softball is such an elite sport, we should be doing more to encourage more kids to play. Instead we are making it more difficult. What is JV and C level going to look like?”
“There will be more offensive action,” Frederick coach Roger Dufour said. “Scores will be a little higher. Pitchers that just throw hard will be impacted and pitcher that can move the ball will benefit.”
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