Softball Pitching Distance to Increase to 43 feet in 2010-11
By Sheila Henderson, Assistant Athletic Director | Thursday, October 14, 2010 10:35 AM
Most softball coaches are aware that effective with the 2010-11 school year, the pitching distance will increase from 40 feet to 43 feet. I wanted to revisit this change to ensure that every coach is aware and prepared.
The pitching distance change was not a fly-by-night decision. The National Federation of High Schools Softball Committee debated and discussed the issue for more than 10 years, and two state associations (Florida and Oregon) experimented with the 43 feet distance for several years.
All UIL member schools must comply with this mandatory change. Many schools started preparing the fields for this change after the close of the 2009-10 season to help their athletes make the adjustment.
The NFHS says that the main reason for the change is to create a better balance between the offense and defense. At the current distance, softball pitchers can totally dominate the game.
Many coaches believe hitting will increase, thus making the game more exciting. Results from both Florida and Oregon support this theory. Both states had more balls hit into play which resulted in a more involved defense.
The change in the distance is going to make the game more exciting for everyone.
Sam Tipton, Executive Director of the Texas Girls Coaches Association, says he is confident the coaches and players won’t have any problems adjusting.
“Texas is a state that people look to for good girls athletics,” Tipton said. “The changes that have been made and those that will come won’t matter, because this is a state rich in talent and it is also a state where coaches support change and growth.”