Changes to ASA rules at 10U

At the ASA meeting last Sunday one of the topics covered was a change in the rules for the 10U “A” level. If you haven’t heard, this level will now be playing by the same rules as the older levels. In other words, stealing home, unlimited stealing of bases, and dropped third strike are now legal. (They are not legal at the “B” level.)

I can’t imagine why the ASA would want to make this change. Well, yes I can. My guess is it was driven by the southern California teams. Out in SoCal they can play year-round, and they’re generally ahead of the rest of the country. Maybe they feel the existing 10U rules are too restricting. I can tell you around here in Chicago, though, where the season runs from April to July, it’s going to be a disaster. As one fellow from the Orland Sparks who was sitting next to me said, “A walk is now a run.”

I think we can expect scores that resemble football games more than softball games. Runners will steal second on the first pitch and third on the second pitch, same as usual. They’ll then be able to score on any passed ball or wild pitch.

What this is probably going to do around here is set pitchers back a couple of years. They will be so worried about letting in the runner on third that all mechanics will break down and it will be difficult to focus on learning to pitch the right way.

This is a bad idea. I hope after a year the ASA recognizes the error of its ways and goes back to more 10 year old-friendly rules.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on December 9, 2006, in Rules and Umpires. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I totally agree. I have a 12u pitching daughter, and I would hate to think of what things would have looked like for her in 10’s pitching under these rules. And not just the pitchers, the poor catchers. I saw the adjustment to 12’s changes was harder on our catchers than even our pitchers. Some of the best teams will handle the change okay, but for the rest of them the scores are going to be outrageous.

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  2. Acually So-Cal fought against it. It came out of the East Coast and Midwest. One of our player reps is our UIC for South San Diego and she spoke out against it on the floor saying it will hurt catcher developement at a young age. “Eat it” will be said quite a bit on steals with a difficult pitch. We did stop it at the B level which was part of the original proposal.

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  3. Just to try and add a bit of precision here… The specific change is to make Rule 8 Section 4G applicable only to Girl’s 10U Class B fastpitch. The baserunning restrictions in 4G no longer apply to Girl’s 10U Class A fastpitch.If a tournament is not an ASA national qualifier for Class A national tournament play than the tournament is free to play with 8-4G intact. You’ll never get a team ready to compete effectively at the 10U national if you play your tourneys with 8-4G in effect, but how many non-Softball-mecca areas (SoCal, TX, FL) are seriously interested in competing in ASA 10U A nationals?Start lobbying your local 10U TDs to keep 8-4G for their tourneys.

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  4. Wow, interesting that this did not come out of SoCal. Shows what happens when you assume. Still, I can’t imagine what would possess anyone to think this is a good thing. In many areas, it is difficult for softball to compete with other sports (soccer, volleyball, basketball) because of the degree of difficulty involved and the greater liklihood of failure. Now they’re adding one more way that pitchers and catchers can fail. Seems like the ASA is out of touch with what is best for the players. I coach 16U now, but have coached at 10U before. Shinguardmom is right — it’s a tough enough transition with a couple of years experience under your belt. I predict more catchers in tears, and fewer catchers learning how to make the throw and be aggressive.Ray is right about it only affecting Class A qualifiers today. But I know he always worries about the slippery slope. I think it’s possible we’re on one now.

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  5. I am both hesitant and intrigued by this rule change. The catchers will certainly throw less and that will diminish their ability to learn to throw and be aggressive – a big negative. On the other hand, it will force them to learn to block even more than before – a positive. One of our coaches stated that the 10U catcher is basically worthless – that they can throw anyone into that position with little ramification. While I didn’t agree with him (of course – my daughter is learning to be a catcher), I understood what he was trying to state. Well, he certainly cannot state that anymore. Maybe this will bring back the importance of the catcher which seems to have been lost some. I used to see 10U teams usually decide on going A vs B based on pitching – now there is yet another important aspect to consider. This change will certainly seperate the cream of the crop from everyone else. My bet is that this ends up as a negative in the long run.

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  6. I am an umpire in So Cal and while it has been awhile since I have done the 10U level I think this rule is good for travel ball only. I would imagine that travel teams would play within their qualification. I do not see how many teams could compete with more advanced teams. In So Cal travel ball for 10U is a fairly new thing, but I think this well make the 10U bracket far more competitive amongst the teams that are playing in the A bracket.. It still is not going to get me to take a 10U game.

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  7. Russ,If you don’t need to take the 10U games, don’t! 😉 That age bracket is cute but, in retrospect, I think most of us leave it behind with a sigh of relief.Ken’s known my ideas about the game for a long time. He knows how much I value F2s. They make or break young (and older) pitchers, IMHO. The vast majority of girls playing 10U ball are not capable of playing the F2 position well. They just flat out down have the arms and legs for it. And pitchers at 10U normally need a little “rules help” to keep from drowning in inconsistency.Bad idea, this rule change. No good will come of it. As I said above, I suggest dealing with it locally by admitting that most programs have no intention, or anything approaching the capabilities, to mount a 10U run at an ASA national championship and, therefore, they are free to do the right thing and keep 8-4G in their games and tourneys.

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  8. Well, after playing part of a season with it so far, I actually like it, but only because of my situation. I state this because I have an older 10U team. Half of my girls are already 11 and a couple more are about to be. This is my 3rd year at 10U and there is no way my teams could have played with these rules the past tweo yrs. This team has grown together so they were quite young when they started. We got to play level A last year which was good for us. Had these rules been in effect last year, we probably would have had to play B level which would have been a negative. This year one catcher has matured nicely behind the plate – she still needs to strengthen her arm, but she has thrown out a few girls at second and most teams are hesitant to even think about third base. She has also done a very nice job blocking balls which has proven to be invaluable. Our backup has a gun but is weak defensively. Teams just wait for the ball to get past her or bounce away. So we have a tendency to rely on the first one more. Glad she loves it back there, but then I have to make sure we don’t over use her either. The first tournament we played used the open rules and it was a blast – I can’t wait to move up to the 12U next year. So to sum it up – I really like the rule for the teams that can handle it and it does add another factor to choosing the appropriate level for your team, but it may force some teams on the bubble between A and B to have to go with B.

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