There are 3 distinct “types” of softball pitching:
- Fast Pitch or Wind Mill
- Slow Pitch or Arc Ball
- Medium Pitch “modified”
The first two are very easy to differentiate. The issue gets more difficult as we move into Modified. Within Modified, there are 2 distinct styles.
- ASA 10 Man Modified – Traditional Medium Pitch
- ASA 9 Man Modified – “Slingshot”
What was the Original Restriction of Medium Pitch?
The main restriction in Medium Pitch was to limit the backswing. The original intent was to keep backswing to less than 90 degrees. That was the limitation since day one. Rules were written to try and describe the limitation but were always inadequate. First, pitchers would turn the palm out (external rotation of humereus) allowing them to have a full 180 degree backswing. Rules written to stop this and were successful for awhile. However, pitchers are now exploiting a loophole in the current rules allowing them a full 180 degree backswing without visibly turning the palm out. If left unchecked it will lead to total pitcher dominance in the 10 Man Game. If you want this to be allowed, that is fine, just realize the effect it will have. We believe that in Pennsylvania we have written a rule that preserves the original Medium Pitch Style.
“on the backswing, the ball cannot be brought above a right angle created by the hip-shoulder-ball”.
If you want the full 180 degree backswing, then you are playing 9 Man ASA rules. That is your choice. There is a place for both types of pitching.
What is allowed in your league or tournament?
If in Doubt, ask the following 2 questions:
- Is the height of the pitcher’s backswing restricted?
- Is there a restriction on the ball being outside the wrist?
If the answer is YES to both #1 and #2, than it is traditional Modified or Medium Pitch.
If the answer is NO to both, then that league or tournament allows “slinging”.
If the answer is No #1, but Yes to # 2, than you are following the National 10 Man ASA rules. Just be aware that any Windmill pitcher can throw this way and dominate. In fact, that motion is their “L” drill. A full 180 degree backswing. Something all Windmill pitchers learn as they are developing their craft. Expect speeds in excess of 70 MPH (equivalent to 95 MPH or more when compared to baseball reaction time for a batter).
Confusion Between 9 Man and 10 Man Pitching Rules
9-Man Modified (Sling Shot)
A variation of Wind Mill except you cannot make a full revolution and is commonly called Sling Shot. It is not uncommon for an experienced pitcher to throw the ball in excess of 70 mph, which equates to over 95 mph (reaction time for hitter) in baseball. These pitchers are allowed a backswing of 180 degrees (or more).
Sometimes called True Modified, Original Modified or Medium Pitch. Incorrectly described as Bowling Style or B classification. There are many more restrictions on the delivery than in 9 Man . The fastest pitchers can throw the ball about 50-55 mph (which equates to about 65-72 mph in baseball). The original intent of this style was to limit the backswing to no more than 90 degrees.
Confusion out there?
Is there confusion? In a word – YES. There are several reasons for the confusion.
- Many tournaments and leagues that utilize 10 players allow ANY type of Modified pitching.
- Many umpires and players do not have enough experience to know the difference. So even if you are following the 10-Man ASA rules the 9-Man style if often allowed.
- Unless you were umpiring or playing in the early 70’s you may have never seen anything but 9-Man “sling shot”.
- Some Tournaments play 9 defensive players but use 10-Man Pitching rules.
- Finally, some 10-Man tournaments allow the 9-Man sling shot style of pitching.
Suffice it to say, there is confusion out there. Hopefully this site will alleviate some of the confusion.