It’s official: High school pitching distance moving back to 43 feet
Just saw a notice in an NFCA newsletter. The National Federation, the governing body of high school softball, just voted to increase the pitching from 40′ to 43′ for varsity players beginning with the 2010-2011 season. For those not sure what that means, it takes effect the year after the one coming up. So if you’re a senior, no sweat. If you’re a junior it will kick in your senior year.
The rationale is to increase the amount of offense in the game. The feeling is the extra three feet will help batters hit the ball more, which will get the defense more involved (instead of watching pitchers rack up 15 strikeouts per game) and make the game more exciting for the fans.
All of that is probably true for the better teams. But I wonder what it will do to the lesser teams — the ones whose pitchers are already struggling. It might also be a problem for those pitchers who bounce between JV and varsity during the season. Any who rely on movement rather than speed may find it difficult to stay on top of their game.
What do you think? Is this move really necessary for the quality of the high school game, or is it more to benefit the elite pitchers — to get them ready for college ball? And will it make the lower teams more competitive by helping them generate more offense, or penalize those who don’t have big, strong pitchers who can throw 60+ mph?