In case you haven’t already heard, the Amateur Softball Association has finally eliminated the rule requiring fastpitch softball players to use a chin strap on their helmets at all levels of Junior Olympic play. If you’re not up on their lingo that basically means everything from 18U on down. The new rule takes effect January 1, 2016.
All I can say is it’s about time. Someone from ASA must have finally gone out to a game or two and seen how silly the rule was. While there probably were a few, I can’t recall ever seeing any player in the last few years who had the chin strap snugged up on her chin in a manner that would keep her helmet on.
Most times, they were sagging well below the chin line, like a bunting on the Fourth of July. If the helmet came off, the player was probably in more danger of being choked by the chin strap than being hit in the head with an errant throw.
Probably wouldn’t hurt to keep the chin strap in your bag just in case you run into a tournament or organization that still requires them. But it’s good that this rule, at least, has finally caught up to reality.
By the way, ASA is also now allowing hitters to use on-deck hitters to use either on-deck circle. That’s great, because it’s always been a safety issue.
Maybe not in Oklahoma City or other areas where big tournaments are held. They have plenty of distance between the on-deck hitter and the plate.
But in community ballparks all across the US, and I’m sure other countries as well, often times the next hitter up is about 10-15 feet away from getting slammed with a foul ball.
Many tournaments already allowed it anyway as a local rule. But now it’s official – on-deck hitters can warm up behind the current batter, no matter which bench their team is occupying.
Glad to see both of these rules enacted, even if it should’ve happened a long time ago. Better late than never.