Height of Backswing

Restricting the height of the backswing HAS ALWAYS been the original intent of Medium pitch (10 Man Modified). By limiting the backswing to no more than 90 degrees, the speed is kept in check. Some pitchers learned to bend or twist at the waist (as in throwing a discus) in order to use their lower body to gain some additional speed. This has always been allowed. Pitchers then circumvented the rules by turning the palm out which caused the humereus to rotate in its socket allowing the arm to be brought past 90 degrees. Rules were written to restrict this motion “the ball cannot be outside the wrist”. However, pitchers have now found a way to get a full 180 degree arm swing without the ball being visibly outside the wrist. The challenge has been to write a rule that limits the height of the backswing but does not affect those pitchers that bend at the waist.

The Pennsylvania ASA rule is written the following way:

On the backswing, the ball cannot be above a right angle created by the hip-shoulder-ball.

Can the ball be above the shoulder?

Therefore the above is fine.

There are 2 ways to bring the ball above the right angle:

  1. Turn your palm away from your body (external rotation of the humereus). However, this results in the ball is outside the wrist.  We have a rule preventing it…..as long as it is called.
  2. Bring the arm out to the side (Abduction) as shown below.


Then if you turn your pitching shoulder towards second base you can now bring the ball as high as you can and the ball is not visibly outside the wrist as shown below.

abduct2 079

This is the loophole in the ASA 10 Man Modified pitching rules. Any former windmill pitcher can learn this in 5 minutes and dominate a game.  The word is out. That is why in Pennsylvania we restrict the height of the backswing. The picture below is a perfect example of what I am talking about. This is not the intent of Traditional Modified. This style belongs in the 9 Man Sling Shot game.