OLYMPIC LEAGUE SOFTBALL RULES
The objective the Olympic League is to generate games with action for all players. The more action that occurs in a game, the more fun the players have. The more fun the players have, the greater the likelihood that players will return to play the following season. The use of pitching machines will ensure that the game is played at a fast pace.
Coaches are encouraged to keep games moving at a fast pace. You can increase the pace of a game by:
Have a defensive plan in place before the game begins so there are not lengthy delays between innings
Repeated swing-and-miss situations do not help the batter or the fielders.
Use the Tee until your batters can hit a pitched ball.
Girls Olympic is designated as a Pitching Machine League.
4 innings constitutes a complete game. 5 innings may be played upon mutual consent of coaches. Play is suspended after 1 hour and 20 minutes regardless of the game situation or mutual consent of coaches.
An inning consists of 3 outs recorded by the fielding team or 5 runs recorded by the batting team, whichever occurs first. Under no circumstances can a team score more than 5 runs in an inning.
Scores of games will be kept but there are no league standings.
Sixty foot base paths will be used.
The Fair Ball Line is defined as a 15 foot radius drawn between the first and third base lines.
A fair ball is a ball hit beyond the Fair Ball Line. When a fair ball is batted, the batter and runners should advance a maximum of one base.
Any batted ball that does not cross the Fair Ball Line is a foul ball. When a foul ball is batted, runners retreat to their respective bases and the batter will make another attempt to hit the ball.
7 Year Olds: For the first 3 games of the season:
The first time around the order, all players will hit off of a tee.
In the 2nd and 3rd innings, at the discretion of the coach, each batter may hit a ball pitched by a coach.
For the remainder of the season, at the discretion of the coach, use of a tee is optional.
8 Year Olds: At the discretion of the coach, each batter may hit a ball pitched by a machine provided by VCBS.
Since all players have varying degrees of skill, it will be necessary to change the speed and height of the machine. To do so, the coach operating the machine shall declare "NO PITCH", the batter is to back out of the batter's box, and the coach should feed balls into the machine until it is set properly. Play will then continue.
In order to speed up the process, coaches should try to bat players of similar abilities in order.
If, after 5 swinging strikes, the batter does not hit the ball, the ball will be placed on the tee and the player swings until a fair ball is hit. It is important that the 5 swinging strikes are adhered to. Failure to do so substantially increases the length of games while decreasing the amount of action in the field.
The tee is a teaching tool. Despite the fact that parents want to see their children hit live pitching, it's important for player development to make sure players have mastered the swing using a tee. Once the swing is mastered, then players can gradually hit coach pitching.
When a batter is hitting off of the tee, the adult that was pitching will remain on the field of play, but out of the way of the fielders. The tee shall be removed when runners are proceeding towards home plate.
Coaches may adjust the tee for the batter and place the ball on the tee, but not touch the batter during the swing.
No bunting or stealing. Players should be taught a rocker start. If a player leaves early when a ball is batted fair, she should be sent back to the base she occupied prior to the ball being batted fair. Coaches should be instructing players in the correct procedures.
Equipment will be in the dead ball area.
Multiple coaches are allowed in separate locations of the outfield to assist the defensive team.
The offensive team may have 2 adult base coaches.
Molded rubber cleats, sneakers or all-purpose shoes may be used.
All players must wear VCBS-issued T-shirts, pants and socks. Coaches will require players to tuck their shirts in.
Any player inadvertently throwing a bat following a swing should be educated as to the dangers of throwing a bat. Continued cases of throwing a bat following a swing may result in the removal of the player from the game.
Any player intentionally throwing a bat in anger shall be removed for the remainder of the game.
Pitching Machine Leagues:
All players will play in the field. A maximum of 6 infielders shall be used including IB, 2B, SS, 3B and 1 pitcher. Catcher will be optional, and if used, he will wear a helmet. The pitcher:
Will be positioned behind the pitching machine on either side of the pitcher's mound.
Must pay attention to the game since they're so close to the batter. From this we can draw the conclusion that all players are not ready to be pitchers until the coach feels they can pay attention to the batter and can demonstrate fielding skills to protect themselves.
Must wear a helmet in the field
Players must rotate defensively. No player shall play in the same position for more than 2 innings in a game. The more players rotate the more they learn different skills.
All batters, runners and on deck batters must wear a batting helmet.
All players present at game time must be in the batting order. Players arriving after the game starts will be placed at the bottom of the batting order.
If the batter or runner is declared out by rule, the out counts. When 3 outs are recorded, the half inning is terminated. The defense may get credit for a double play. At this age we are trying to teach players to react to pop ups differently from ground balls. Players can get "doubled-off" if they fail to tag up on pop ups. Players who are declared out by rule will be removed from the bases. The decisions of the fielding team coaches, acting as umpires, are final.
Coaches should encourage players to throw the ball to teammates in an attempt to record outs, rather than running to a base with the ball.
Runners may advance multiple bases on a batted ball into the outfield. Once the ball is returned to the infield, breaking the imaginary lines between first & second or second & third bases:
Coaches are encouraged to have players run bases aggressively when the ball is in the outfield.
When the ball is in play, coaches should try to let the players decide where to throw the ball. If it becomes apparent the player does not know where to throw the ball a coach should calmly assist her. This requires coaches to talk to spectators so a 7-year-old player does not get 30 different people shouting at her to throw a ball.
Finally, this is an instructional level of play. Players will respond to you much better if you're patient and talk to them, rather than being tough and screaming at them. Although all coaches are "competitors", remember that you are role models and your players will imitate your actions. If you are out of control during difficult situations, your team and spectators will get out of control. If you are composed and disciplined, your players will be composed and disciplined.