NFHS announces softball and baseball rule changes for 2024

July 12, 2023 | 1:44 am

Updated July 12, 2023 | 1:44 am

Photo by Gage Johnson

When the 2024 baseball and softball seasons roll around in the Commonwealth, there will be a number of changes including the use of electronic devices, pitch delivery in softball and much more.


The biggest change for softball will affect the field, as pitchers will be allowed to disengage both feet from the playing surface in the circle if the pivot foot is not replanted prior to the delivery of the pitch. This is much different from years prior, where the pivot foot was required to remain in contact with the ground.

This is one of seven rule changes that was recommended by the NFHS Softball Rules Committee at the committee’s June 11-13 meeting, before all changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“When examining the survey responses, the NFHS Softball Rules Committee recognized that a majority of the membership were in favor of this change,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the NFHS Softball Rules Committee. “An additional topic the committee discussed was whether a pitcher gains an advantage by having their pivot foot airborne vs. having it remain in contact with the ground. Our rules have traditionally allowed for flexibility to accommodate the differing skill levels of high school athletes. This change allows for exploration of different styles of pitching during student-athletes’ developmental stages.”

Another significant rule change is adjustments to the permission to use electronic devices, as electronic information can be transmitted to the dugout from anywhere outside of the live ball area. NFHS says this reflects current technology and still requires that electronic devices are used in the dugout, but no longer stipulates where the video is recorded or how it is transmitted.

Other changes include uniform changes, the use of particular armbands and more, which can be found here.


Baseball will also see a change in the permission of technology in games, as the use of a one-way communication device between a coach in the dugout and a team’s catcher for the purposes of calling pitches will be permitted in high school beginning in 2024.

This one of five rule revisions approved by the NFHS Baseball Rules Committee at its June 4-6 meeting. The new rules prohibit coaches from communicating with any other player besides the catcher on defense and with any player while batting. The coach must also be in the dugout when using the communication device.

“This change is consistent with the growth of the game and is indicative of a measured and responsible approach to enable technology into our level of competition,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS Director of Sports and Educational Services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. “The committee has made these changes to maintain the balance between offense and defense; increase the pace of play; and will responsibly manage technology so there is no advantage gained by schools that have more available resources than some of their contemporaries. Creating a level playing field is paramount to education-based athletics.”

Amongst other changes were game management by umpires, wristbands regarding defensive shifts and more which can be found here.

July 12, 2023 | 1:44 am

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