If you tuned into the USA Softball International Cup this past weekend, you may have noticed the pitchers getting away with things that at most levels would be considered illegal. This is because at the International level of play, pitchers are given free reigns and the pitching rules and regulations, or lack thereof, are different. If you tuned in this past weekend, you would have seen pitchers taking a step back off the rubber to build momentum before delivering their pitch. You may have also noticed pitchers stepping forward or sliding their lead foot forward, crow hopping, or re-planting as they delivered their pitch.
There were many young players/pitchers in the stands and whose eyes were glued to the TV this past weekend to watch the best players in the world take the stage. It’s important that these young players know and understand what illegal pitches are and how they are regulated among the different softball age levels.
Traveling/Club: These seasons often take place in the spring, summer, and fall months. In travel and club softball, umpires are trained to enforce and monitor illegal pitches. Softball pitchers at these levels must step on the rubber with their hands presented apart. This could be with the ball in their hand or the ball in their glove, however, the hands must be apart when the pitcher takes the sign from the catcher. The pitcher must also start with both feet on the rubber and keep the back toe on the ground throughout the pitch until the ball is released.