Pitcher pitching motion rules

There are two legal pitching positions: the windup position and the set position. In both positions, the pitcher must take signs from the catcher while in contact with the pitcher’s plate.

In the windup position, the pitcher faces the batter with their pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate and their other foot free. They can make natural movements associated with delivering the ball, such as stepping backward and forward with their free foot.

In the set position, the pitcher faces the batter with their pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate and their other foot in front of the plate. They must come to a complete stop before delivering the ball.

It’s important to note that pitchers are not allowed to disengage the rubber after taking each sign. Disengaging the rubber may result in a balk if there are runners on base.

Other important aspects of pitcher pitching motion rules include regulations on warm-up pitches, pitcher delays, and throwing to the bases. Additionally, ambidextrous pitchers must indicate which hand they will be pitching with for the duration of the game.

Stay tuned to learn more about the specific rules and variations in USA Softball and NFHS pitcher pitching motion guidelines.

USA Softball Pitching Rules

In USA Softball, the pitching rules closely align with those of baseball, with a few variations specific to the sport. It is important for pitchers and coaches to understand and adhere to these rules to ensure fair and competitive play.

When assuming the pitching position in USA Softball, the pitcher must hold the ball in either hand and cannot put their hands together without delivering the pitch. Both feet must be in contact with the pitcher’s plate, and the non-pivot foot must start within 24 inches of the plate.

Once in the pitching position, the pitcher must take a sign from the catcher or simulate taking a sign while in contact with the pitcher’s plate. It is crucial that the pitcher does not step onto the pitcher’s plate and deliver the pitch without a pause, as this would be considered an illegal pitch.

The delivery motion in USA Softball requires the pitcher to bring their hands together in front of their body for one second before releasing the ball. Throughout the delivery, the pivot foot must remain in contact with the pitching plate to maintain a legal pitch.

Any violation of the rules outlined for the steps in the pitching motion, such as stepping off the pitching plate or neglecting the one-second pause, will result in an illegal pitch.


Understanding and following the USA Softball pitching rules not only ensures a fair playing field, but also promotes player safety and enhances the overall quality of the game.

Pitching Rules USA Softball Baseball NFHS
Pitching Position In contact with pitcher’s plate, both feet Windup position, set position Similar to USA Softball
Taking the Sign In pitching position, signs or simulate Take signs from catcher Similar to USA Softball
Delivery Hands together for one second Varies based on player and style Similar to USA Softball
Pivot Foot Remains in contact with pitching plate Varies based on player and style Partially on top of pitching plate
Completing the Pitch Proper delivery motion Varies based on player and style Similar to USA Softball
Illegal Pitch Violations of the pitching motion rules Varies based on league rules Similar to USA Softball

Can Pitcher Mound Visits Affect Pitching Motion Rules?

Many baseball teams are now rethinking their pitcher mound visit rules. Coaches and players understand that constant interruptions can disrupt a pitcher’s rhythm and impact their pitching motion. Finding a balance between strategy and efficiency is crucial to ensuring a smooth and effective game.

NFHS Pitching Rules

When it comes to pitching in high school softball and baseball, adhering to the specific rules set by the National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) is crucial. The pitching position, pitchers plate, taking the sign, delivery, pivot foot, completing the pitch, and illegal pitch all fall under the NFHS guidelines, which closely mirror those of USA Softball.

Similar to USA Softball, pitchers in NFHS must position themselves properly on the pitcher’s plate before delivering the ball. However, there are a few noticeable differences. In NFHS, the pivot foot can be partially on top of the pitching plate, as opposed to both feet being in contact with the plate in USA Softball. Additionally, NFHS allows for a step back with the non-pivot foot prior to or simultaneous with the hands coming together, giving pitchers a little more flexibility in their motion.

It’s important to note that just like in USA Softball, the rules for completing the pitch and any violations of the pitching motion remain the same in NFHS. Any illegal pitches, such as failing to pause or disengage the rubber properly, may result in penalties.

To ensure compliance during high school level competitions, it is essential for pitchers and coaches to have a clear understanding of and abide by these specific NFHS rules. By following these guidelines, pitchers can perform confidently within the confines of the game, showcasing their skills while staying within the boundaries set by the NFHS.

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