HOT TOPIC: Let’s talk about the pitching rules change, what it looks like and what you can and can’t do.
Get familiar with “Start Back” vs. “Step Back” – one of the two will most likely be coming to a governing softball body/organization near you starting January 2020, and it can affect the start of your pitch!!
Finally, a rule change that gives pitchers an advantage!
Giving Pitchers an Advantage
This is a significant change in the sense that its movement in a rule change that affects how a pitcher can choose to start and, in my opinion, can be an advantage to the pitcher (yay).
However, as I say in this video, it is not major in terms of feeling like you have to reinvent the wheel with your mechanics.
Most likely, in the whole scheme of things, it’s not THAT drastically different than what you are doing now.
I’ve really been doing research and to the best of my understanding here is what I know:
Step Back – USA Softball, USSSA, High School
Start Back – PGF, College (* don’t kill the messenger over why there are differences, I am just passing along) There are always things I forget to say when I am making these videos (hehe)
Things I forgot to say in my video explanation:
- It is not required that you start back or step back. They are both just options where your back foot (stride foot) can NOW start off the pitching rubber! Your old start position where both feet needed to be in contact with the pitching rubber would still be ok!
- When can the “Step Back” happen? – it can happen “before, simultaneous with or after the hands are brought together.”
- Your feet still need to stay within the 24-inch pitcher’s plate. (This means your foot can’t start way on the side of the pitching rubber).
- After you bring your hands together after taking the signal, they need to pause for at least one second.
- The “Start Back” would be legal under “Step Back” rules.
- The “Step Back” would NOT be legal under “Start Back” rules.
Let me know what questions/concerns you have in the comments!
My Thoughts on the Rule Change
REMINDER: You CAN still have both feet in contact with the pitching plate if that is what you find works best for YOU. Just because the rule changed that the stride foot can start off of the pitcher’s plate does not mean you MUST have it off.
Whether it’s Start Back or Step Back that you are following, find that perfect launch position angle where you feel the most explosive AND crisp with your mechanics/whip.
My Biggest Suggestion
I would suggest taking the time to practice and play around with different distances. Make sure you’re paying CLOSE attention to the stride foot distance you are trying, as even a centimeter difference can make a big difference for you. During this same practice session, I would find and use a radar gun and put velocity #s to the different stride foot distances you are trying. Make it like your scientific experiment! Try 5-7 pitches, track it, and see if there’s a difference in your velocity. No one has to TELL you exactly where you have to be when you can “research” it and figure it out on your own!
What Would I Do?
I said this in my other video, but if this were me, I most likely would work from the “Start Back” position. I say that from a perspective of being in your shoes and A) not wanting to change back and forth depending what tournament I am playing in, B) If my goal was to pitch in college, especially if I am at a recruitable age, and the college rules use Start Back, that is what I would work at.
I hope all of this helps with your upcoming practices!