2019 Softball Points of Emphasis

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Pitcher Simulating Taking a Signal- While on the pitcher’s plate and prior to bringing her hands together, the pitcher must take or simulate taking a signal from the catcher.  A signal may be taken from a coach either by hand signals, verbal call, or by looking up on a wristband with a playbook/playcard.  The signal obtained from the coach can be taken while on the pitching plate or while standing behind the pitcher’s plate prior to taking a position on the pitcher’s plate.  By rule, the only requirement is that no matter where or from whom the actual signal is obtained, the pitcher must take a position on the pitcher’s plate with the hands separated and simulate taking a signal from the catcher.  Requiring the pitcher to take position on the pitching plate and simulating taking a signal from the catcher prior to bring her hands together allows the batter to prepare for the start of the pitch.  If the pitcher does not pause after stepping onto the pitcher’s plate to simulate taking a signal from the catcher prior to bringing her hands together, an illegal pitch should be called.

Proper TechniqueWhen Sliding - One of a coach’s responsibilities is to help reduce risk and injury to players whenever possible.  This includes teaching proper sliding techniques as well as educating players on executing a legal slide (Rule 2-52).   Ensuring that players utilize proper technique when sliding will help reduce the potential injuries seen when a slide is performed.  Ensuring that the slide is performed legally will also reduce the risk to the defender when a tag is being applied to a player sliding into a base.

Head Coach Listed on Lineup Card - Although not a requirement by rule, it is considered a best practice that the head coach list his/her name on the lineup card submitted at the pre-game conference.  By listing his/her name on the lineup card, it assists both the umpire and other team if communications dealing with the game are required.

Illegal Pitch Penalty - The NFHS Softball Rules Committee voted to remove the advancement of runners when an illegal pitch is called.  Since the intent of an illegal pitch in softball is to deceive the batter, the committee felt that only the batter should receive an award when an illegal pitch occurs.  The change to the penalty for an illegal pitch will result in a ball being called on the batter, but runners will only advance if forced as the result of the batter being awarded first base.  Exceptions to the penalty for an illegal pitch in Rule 6, Section 1, Article 1 have also been modified in order to be in compliance with the new penalty and ensure that runners are no longer advanced as a result of an illegal pitch.

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