Softball Training Guide
Events Offered • Team Competition Slow Pitch • Unified Team Competition Slow Pitch • Individual Skills Contest • T-Ball
Uniforms/ Equipment • The softball uniform is a jersey or shirt, shorts, socks and shoes • All jerseys or shirts must have 6 inch Arabic numbers on the back • Shoes must have rubber sole cleats. No metal cleats! • Batting helmets are required for all batters and base runners • Absolutely NO DENIM
Uniforms/ Equipment • Catcher must wear a face mask and catcher’s type helmet • Chest protectors and throat guards are not required, but recommended • A 30.5 cm restricted-flight softball must be used
Uniforms/ Equipment • All team uniforms must have the Special Olympics Logo adorned somewhere on the jersey. Logos may be placed on the front, back or sleeve and may be located on the top of bottom of the uniform and should be visible. Logos may be screen printed or embroidered or may be part of a patch or sticker.
Equipment cont’d • Bats may consist of aluminum or wood, but must be ASA certified and are subject to be checked by umpires. • All batters must wear a helmet (facemask not required) • All players must wear a glove in the field. • Batting gloves, sliding pads, hats, visors and sunglasses are all allowed. • It is the coaches responsibility to check all equipment for safety, especially bats and helmets
Events Offered • Team Competition Slow Pitch • Unified Team Competition Slow Pitch • Individual Skills Contest • Base Running • Throwing • Fielding • Hitting
Team Competition • 10-run rule concludes when a team is leading by 10 runs after 5 innings • The seven run or three outs per inning rule will be utilized, except in the final inning • 10 players in the field on defense, a team may start with 9 players but can’t continue with 8 • A foul ball following 2 strikes is an out • Infield fly rule is in effect. With less than two outs and runners on first and second or with the bases loaded a pop fly to the infield is an automatic out on the batter (umpire discretion).
Team Competition • Game play consist of 7 innings or is limited to 1 hour and 5 minutes. • In the case of inclement weather, 2 innings should conclude a complete game. • Teams should bat through their entire lineup regardless of who is currently playing in the field. Substitutions do not change the order.
Team Competition cont’d • Pitching mound may be moved to 40 ft. from 45 ft. • Bases are 60-70 ft apart from each other. State Competition will be 65 feet. • Walks are allowed after 4 balls to the batter. • Stealing and leadoffs are not allowed at any level. • No assisted devices allowed. Athletes utilizing assisted devices may participate in the skills competition (offered at state tournament). • Teams must have a minimum of 11 players and a maximum of 15.
Team Competition cont’d • Coaches are not allowed to assist defensively in the outfield • Must remain in dugout area while team is on defense • One coach is allowed per coaches box while a team is batting. • No more than two coaches can give words or signals while team is at bat • Coaches should bat all eligible players listed on the roster • All players should have an opportunity to play defense
Team Competition cont’d • Double and triple plays are allowed on defense • Homeruns and ground rule doubles do follow ASA guidelines • All base running and defensive rules apply (basepaths, runner interference, catcher interference, etc.) • A base runner that is hit with a batted ball is an out. • Base runners must tag up to advance on a ball caught in the air. • Catchers may not block home plate
Unified Competition • Team roster has a minimum of 11 players and max of 15 with equal amounts of traditional athletes and Unified partners • Line-up shall never exceed six traditional athletes and five partners at any time
Unified Competition • Adult, non-playing head coach is responsible to line-up and competition • Assistant coaches may be on team roster and play • Position requirements: • Two athletes and two partners in both infield and outfield and one athlete and one partner as pitcher and catcher
Individual Skills Contest • Designed for athletes with assisted devices, beginners or those of lower ability • May not be assisted • Final score is determined by adding together scores from four events • Pre-divisioned according to total score
Softball Terms to Know • Line drive • A ball in flight that is batted sharply and directly into the playing field. • Homerun • A ball hit over the fence in fair territory. • Ground ball • A ball that is batted and hits the ground prior to reaching a defensive player. • Pop up • A ball that is batted very high but does not travel far laterally.
Softball Terms to Know • Catcher’s Box • Area within which the catcher must remain until the pitched ball in batted, touches the ground, plate, or batter, or reaches the catcher’s box. • On-deck circle • The area closest to the player’s bench where the on-deck batter may warm-up or takes practice swings, while waiting for their turn. • Infield and Outfield • The infield is the portion of the field in fair territory that includes areas normally covered by infielders. The outfield is the portion outside the diamond formed by the baselines or the area not normally covered by an infielder. • Base umpire • Responsibilities include paying attention to each pitch to assist with plate umpire ruling, when runners on base, paying attention to when they leave base or not, and when no runners are on base, to stay in the foul territory. • Plate umpire • Responsibilities include establishing the strike zone (knee to chest), calling batted balls fair or foul, makes call based on where the softball crosses the plate not where the catcher catches the ball.
T-ball Training Guide
Playing Area • Bases may be modified to a distance of 60 ft. • Distance from homeplate to the pitcher’s rubber may be modified to a minimum distance of 45 ft, 11 ¼ inches. • Coaches’ circle will be located 9 ft 10 ¼ inches beyond second base with a 5 feet 11 inch diameter. • A ‘neutral zone’ will be marked in an arc of 45 ft 11 ¼ inches form home plate. • Any batted ball that does not cross the line will be a foul ball.
Teams & Players • Pitcher • Defensive position on the rubber • Catcher • Defensive position is behind home plate • First baseman • Second baseman • Third baseman • Shortstop • Four Outfielders • Must play a minimum of 9 ft 10 ¼ inches behind infielders.
General Rules & Modifications Batting tee directly behind home plate. A coach from the batting team will adjust the tee to fit the batter. To start, catcher will place ball on the tee, the umpire then signals to “play ball”. Batter steps into batters box to hit. If the batter completely misses the ball and the tee, the attempt is ruled a strike. A regulation game consists of 6 innings. A time limit of 1 hour shall be in force. All defensive players must stand behind the neutral zone before the ball is hit. If the batter has two strikes and fouls off the third attempt, he or she is declared out. The batting team’s half of the inning shall end when three outs have been made or the batting order is complete. The batter must hit the ball within the foul lines and beyond the neutral zone to be ruled fair. After a ball is hit into fair territory and the batter has left the batters box, the umpire shall remove the tee from home plate and set it in foul territory.
Substitutions • Substitutions can be made whenever a “timeout” is called. • Any starting players may leave and re-enter the game. • This may be done by each starting player only once. • With the provision that the players occupy the same position in the batting order as the one they had before they left the game. • A starting player may only re-enter the game for the person who is substituted for him/her. • Substitutes may re-enter the game in the same manner.