10U Softball Pitching Rules


Softball rules for pitchers in 10-and-under, or 10U, leagues reflect the fact that players are relatively new to pitching at this level. Rules of the American Softball Association, or ASA, allow 10U pitchers to throw the softball from a shorter distance and use a smaller ball for an easier grip. Some recreational 10U leagues limit the innings a player can pitch or use a pitching machine for half of the game. Here are the pitching rules in 10U softball that every head coach and defensive player should know.

Distance to Home Plate in 10u

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In fast-pitch softball leagues for players 10 years old and younger, or 10U, the ASA requires pitchers to throw the ball from a pitching distance of 35 feet, where the pitcher’s circle is located. In slow-pitch leagues, the distance from the pitcher's plate to home plate is 40 feet, according to ASA regulations. The pitching circle is the responsibility of the home team and must be fixed by request of the home plate umpire or visiting team.

Do you need to wear face masks in 10u softball?

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In most 10U leagues, protective face masks are required for the safety of the players. With the softball diamond being smaller, a batted ball has more of an opportunity to injure fielders if the live ball hits them in the face. Most leagues require everyone except those in the outfield to wear a protective mask.

Is there an innings limit in 10u Softball?

While high school and college games will allow pitcher’s to take the pitching plate for as long as they like, 10U softball is different. Most leagues limit pitchers by a time limit of four full innings and do not allow the pitcher to begin a new inning after that. Some rec leagues even limit it to three or only allow pitchers to pitch a certain number of pitches, including warm-up pitches. Then the pitcher will move to a different spot on the lineup.

Is Base Stealing allowed in 10U Softball?

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Base runners can only steal 2nd or 3rd during 10U softball. This means that if there are runners at first base and third base and the ball goes over the catcher’s face mask, the runner at first base can steal but the runner at third must wait. This means that the pitcher can relax during an at bat with a runner on third and not worry about making a mistake that could give the opposing team a run.

What is the softball size in 10u?

Taking into account younger pitchers' smaller hands, 10U leagues use 11-inch softballs that weigh at least 6 ounces, in contrast to the 12-inch ball used by 12U leagues and above.

Legal Pitching form in 10u Softball

According to All Experts.com's Dr. Mark R. Ambrose, a professional ASA umpire, 10U pitchers must start with both feet on the pitching rubber and with their hands separated. At the start of the pitcher's motion, she must bring her hands together for one to 10 seconds. She may drop one arm to the side before starting the windmill motion. Pitchers are required to drag the back foot along the ground, avoiding an illegal crow hop or leap, as the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand the pitchsoftball.com website states.

Pitcher Substitutions

Pitchers who have left the position, but who have not left the batting order, can return to pitch again at any time during the game, ASA rules state. However, guidelines for 10U recreational softball leagues vary on the number of innings a pitcher can play the position. Some city recreational leagues also use a combination of pitching machine, coach pitch or player pitch in 10U leagues, to avoid excessive walks given by inexperienced pitchers.

Coaches' Conferences

ASA rules limit regulation 10U games to 1 hour and 40 minutes, unless extra time is needed to finish a half inning or complete inning. Each team may call three conferences when the coach comes out to the pitcher's mound, according to ASA rules for 10U players. If the coach comes out for a fourth meeting, the pitcher must leave the position to return to the dugout or play another position on defense.

Is there drop 3rd strike in 10u Softball?

The dropped third strike is when the catcher drops the ball and allows the hitter to begin base running towards 1st base. In ASA rules, this rule is in effect but some other rule sets call a dropped third a dead ball and an automatic out. Be sure to check your rulebook to see if this rule and the infield fly rule are in effect.