When thinking about my life, all I can ever remember is SOFTBALL. My life is absolutely one hundred percent all about the game of softball. Both my mother and father grew up playing softball and baseball. Not only was I practically born at the ballpark, but I am at the ballpark nearly every day. My father and I have a company called RVSP, River Valley Sports Productions, in which we put on softball tournaments on the weekends. Going to these softball tournaments on the weekend has made me realize that softball is just something that I was born to be a part of. I am not able to play softball due to injury, but every chance I get you are certain to find me at a ballpark watching a good game of softball. With softball being such an important component of my life I am able to distinguish the different things in the game. There are all kinds of different organizations that have the same goal of making sure the girls have fun and are safe, but they all have different ways in which they play the game. In this paper I am going to be explaining five of the many organizations. The five organizations I will be going into detail about are the following: National Softball Association (NSA), United States Fastpitch Association (USFA), United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), Armature Softball Association (ASA), and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
National Softball Association:
The NSA was established in 1982 by Hugh Cantrell in Lexington, Kentucky. The National Softball Association is a full service organization that offers a division of play and a level of competition that youth through adult can enjoy.
National Softball Association is specifically designed to meet the special needs of each complex owner and the parks/recreation departments for today and in the future. That means under NSA’s present structure your complex will never have to bid on a post season tournament. The NSA is not in the tee shirt business – those rights belong to your complex and the tournament director. Around the country, park/complex owners and park/recreation directors search for new and better ways to satisfy their teams, managers, and sponsors. Where there is a need, NSA is ready to respond with a system that guarantees more post season berths to the teams participating in NSA leagues and tournaments. This alone will make the teams, managers, and sponsors more receptive to playing in your parks.
Superior Team/Sponsor/Coach Satisfaction
A company wide attitude that recognizes that team/sponsor/coach satisfaction is everything.
Director-Umpires Oriented Environment
An acknowledgement that our Directors and Umpires are our most valuable resource. We are committed to fostering an environment where recognition, innovation and communication are encouraged and rewarded.
Industry Leading Value/Selection/Services
Offering only the highest quality league and tournament playing facilities, providing customers with an outstanding balance of selection and services.
Ethical Business Conduct
Conducting our business with uncompromising honest and integrity.
Dedicated to meeting the needs of the teams, coaches, sponsors, and park owners.
Strive to promote our continued intellectual growth and to conduct ourselves as dedicated professionals.
Demand the highest levels of integrity and responsibility to support the National Softball Association.
Foster a climate where diversity of thought and expression are encouraged and cooperatively applied to better accomplish our mission.
Appreciate and treat all individuals with respect and dignity.
Continually strive for unsurpassed excellence in all we do.
United States Fastpitch Association:
United States Fastpitch Association was founded in 1998 b John Cain in Panama City, Florida. John is now the National Director of the fastest growing Fastpitch organization in the country. Under his guidance and leadership, USFA has sanctioned thousands of teams from all over the United States and Canada. The USFA World Series also continues to grow each year and annually hosts over 400 teams.
Though USFA continues to grow larger each year, the purpose will always remain the same – to provide an enjoyable competitive atmosphere where players can thrive. Because USFA is strictly a girls Fastpitch organization we can cater specifically to the needs and desires of the Fastpitch community.
The mission of the USFA is to be a premiere girl’s Fastpitch organization. USFA will give the coaches and players of amateur Fastpitch the best possible rule book that is strictly Fastpitch, not just a modified slow pitch or baseball rule book. Our rulebook gives the coaches the options that they want. We have taken input from coaches throughout the county and have complied the input into a streamline Fastpitch rulebook. It deals with the travel teams and recreation teams as well.
Each year USFA listens to your comments and concerns and makes the changes you want to see. For example, we know it is important to inform all of the Fastpitch college coaches throughout the nation of our tournaments due to the growing scholarships opportunities for the girls. We are compiling a massive mailing list so that the college coaches will know where Fastpitch tournaments will be taking place. USFA is steadily growing, year after year…in 2012 USFA had well over four thousand sanctioned teams and approximately 600 of those teams competed at the USFA World Series and Nationals.
United States Specialty Sports Association:
USSSA’s mission is to be the most visibly recognized, technologically advanced, and professionally represented sports organization in the world. We will achieve this success by an uncompromising commitment to meeting the needs of the teams, coaches, sponsors, park owners, and fans. As an organizational our attitude is that the team/player sponsor/fan satisfaction is everything.
The United States Specialty Sports Association is headquartered in Osceola County, Florida, USSSA is the World’s Largest Multi-Sport Athletic Organization. Founded in 1968, USSSA has grown to over 3.7 million participants, competing in 13 nationally sanctioned sports including: Baseball, Fastpitch, Slow Pitch, Karate, Basketball, Soccer, and more!
Amateur Softball Association:
The Amateur Softball Association is a volunteer, non-profit organization based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was founded in 1933 with a tournament held in Chicago that was organized by Leo Fisher and Michael J. Pauley. The following year in 1934 National Recreation Congress recognized the ASA. Shortly afterward the ASA was located in Newark, New Jersey. A world amateur softball tournament was held by the ASA at Chicago’s Soldier Field that started on September 7, 1939. The ASA moved to Oklahoma City on January 1, 1966. The National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum is operated by the ASA and is located at 2801 NE 50th Street in Oklahoma City. Since 2005, they have run the World Cup of Softball. ASA Hall of Fame Stadium also hosts the NCAA Women’s College World Series and the Big 12 Conference softball championship.
ASA now runs competitions in every state through a network of 76 state and metro associations. It has of membership of over 230,000 teams, with more than 3 million players and 35,000 umpires.
National Collegiate Athletic Association:
Since 1910, softball has become one of the sports sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association. NCAA, a volunteer organization composed of approximately 1,200 colleges, universities, athletic conferences, and sports organizations, is dedicated to the effective governance of intercollegiate athletics. While NCAA has been administering college sports since 1910, it was only in the 1980s when it started holding championships. In softball, 1982 was the year when the first women’s championships were held in the three divisions – with UCLA, Sam Houston St., and Eastern Conn. St. winning for divisions 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Latest champions include UCLA (2003) in Division 1, Angelo State (2004) in Division 2, and St. Thomas (2004) in Division 3.
Ins and Outs of Softball:
- Field, Players, and Equipment
- The Field – The baselines will be 65 feet. The distance from pitcher’s mound to home plate will be 50 feet.
- The Players – A team must have 9 players to start or to continue a game with the maximum of 10 players
- Substitutes – A player is officially in the game when his/her name has been entered on the official score sheet. Once a player leaves the line-up, he/she may re-enter the game
- No metal screws or screw-in cleats are allowed. Rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets are advised not to be worn. Bats must be official softball bats.
- Add-ons must be made to a roster prior to the second game of Intramural softball season.
Starting the Game
- The pre-game conference will consist of each captain meeting with the umpire before the game to go over ground rules.
- Score sheets must be filled out before the game.
- The pitcher must take a position with both feet firmly on the ground and with one or both feet in contact with the pitcher’s plate.
- The pitch starts when the pitcher makes any motion that is part of his/her wind up. His/Her arm must come to a rest holding the ball in front of his/her body, with a pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate.
- The pitcher shall not deliberately stop, roll, or bounce the ball while in the pitching position in order to prevent the batter from striking it.
- The pitcher shall not at any time during the game be allowed to use tape or other substances upon the ball, the pitching hand, or fingers. Under supervision of the umpire, powder resin may be use to dry the hands.
- “NO PITCH” shall be declared when: 1) The pitcher pitches during a suspension of play, 2) The runner is called out for leaving the base too soon, 3) The pitcher makes a quick return pitch, 4) The ball slips from the pitcher’s hand during the windup or backswing, or 5) The pitching arc is lower than 6 feet or higher than 10 feet.
- At the beginning of the game or when a pitcher relieves another, no more than 5 pitches may be used as a warm up. Only 3 pitches will be allowed between innings. Play shall be suspended at this time.
- Intentional walks may be made by informing the plate umpire, no pitches are necessary.
- GAME TIME IS START TIME.
- Each player of the side at bat shall become a batter in order in which his/her name appears on the score sheet.
- The batter shall not hinder the catcher from fielding or throwing the ball by stepping out of the batter’s box, or intentionally hindering the catcher while standing within the batter’s box.
- Members of a team at bat shall not interfere with a player attempting to field a foul fly ball.
- A strike is called by the umpire for each legally pitched ball hitting the strike zone mat and the batter does not swing, and for each pitched ball swung at and missed by the batter. This includes pitches the umpire has already declared “NO PITCH”.
- A ball is called by the umpire for each pitched ball which does not hit the strike zone mat or touches the ground before reaching home plate and is not swung at by the batter, and for each illegally pitched ball.
- A foul tip is a batted ball which goes directly from the bat to the catcher’s mitt or hand and is legally caught by the catcher. The batter is not out unless the ball goes above the batter’s head before being caught or it is the third strike.
- The batter gives up all rights if he swings at an illegal pitch.
- Protests shall not be received or considered if they are based solely on a decision involving the accuracy of judgement on the part of an umpire.
- The Supervisor on duty must be notified at the time of the protest.
- A formal protest must be written and turned into the Intramural Office within 24 hours after the game, but no sooner than 6 hours after the contest. See Intramural Recreational Sports Handbook for more details.
Balls and Strikes
- 4 balls constitute a walk.
- 3 strikes constitutes an out (strike out).
- If the batter has a foul after receiving the second strike, the batter is out.
- Each batter will start with a 1 ball/1 strike count.
- Anyone involved in a fight will be suspended for the remainder of the softball season and possible further disciplinary action, if necessary.
- Any player ejected from 2 games in the season is suspended for the remainder of the season and possible further disciplinary action, if necessary.
- Any player pushing, shoving, disrespecting, etc. an umpire will be ejected from the game.
After having all of this information on hand, I recommend that you get out there and play some softball.