Softball pitchers and face masks

We asked the question on Facebook this week: should softball pitchers wear a face mask in the circle? [post continued below]

Valley pitcher Caitlin Nealer fires to the plate against Freeport while wearing a new protective facemask ordered by the Pennsylvania school district. Gear was made available after a Valley pitcher was injured. Eric Felack/Valley News Dispatch.

We encourage every pitcher to wear a face mask.

Pitchers are so close to home plate when they release the pitch that their reaction time is decreased when the ball comes off of the bat.

Also, so many bats today are designed to increase the speed of the softball once it’s hit. Some bats have even been banned.

We are now hearing of 12-year olds having enough strength and power to hit homeruns over 200-plus ft. fences.

The speed of the game has so advanced that some softball groups now require players to wear face masks while hitting.

It almost seems too long ago to remember that batters once played without helmets. Now it’s hard to imagine a child standing in the box without her head and face protected.

But why no face masks for pitchers?

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6 Responses to “Softball pitchers and face masks”

  1. Bob C. March 31, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    I don’t know if I agree with the premise of “why no fask masks for pitchers?” I definately see quite a few 12U/14U pitchers wearing masks. I would even say close to 50% – 75% of travel 12U pitchers wearing masks. I think it will also convert over in the next cycle/generation of 8U through 18G players. It is also my understanding CIF is now requiring masks starting this year.

  2. nickhoss April 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm #

    “No fask masks” is a general question. There are more pitchers wearing them now than in previous years, but the masks still aren’t required yet like batting helmets.

  3. Meagan B April 25, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    We didn’t use to make our daughter wear her face mask, then at a game she hit a line drive that almost nailed the other pitcher in the face. After that, she started to want to wear it and we made sure to encourage her. She was leary at first because she was afraid other girls would make fun of her. We just explained to her that a line drive to the face would do far more damage which could be permanent…the comments of other players would fade away.

    The pitcher is the closest person when that ball is hit and I would hate to see something happen that might change her life forever. Definitely needs to be all about the safety of all the players first!

    Thanks, Mike, for a great post!

  4. nickhoss April 25, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    Thank you for your comment, Meagan!

  5. Kevin March 14, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    Couldn’t agree more. In my opinion, it’s the cultural and social pressures against using these safegaurds that are the biggest reason why masks are not universally mandated like a batting helmet or a helmet in football or hockey is.

    Making these mandatory at least for pitchers and infielders means nobody has to deal with standing out.

    I’ve recently created a site dedicated to this subject called: http://www.whistlepasttheballyard.com
    I’ve identified numerous thought provoking videos online as well other informative discussions like this one. I hope people find it helpful to make a smart decision and somewhere some kid is saved from a life altering event playing a game.

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