Softball Catchers Approved For Electronic Communication

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INDIANAPOLIS – Oregon high school softball catchers will add one more piece of equipment to their bag beginning in spring, 2025-an earpiece or “smart” watch.

The National Federation of State High School Associations approved the use of electronic devices in the dugout for one-way communication to the catcher while a team is on defense beginning with the upcoming season.

The approval of electronics came after the rules committee met June 9-11 with the Board of Directors recently approving the new ruling.

“This change is the result of analysis of current data, state association experimentation and a positive response from the membership,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee. “The committee has made these changes to support the use of emerging technology within the sport of softball. Being a permissive rule, the use of this one-way electronic communication will allow those who choose to embrace the technology an additional option to communicate with the catcher while on defense. It will also maintain the ability for those who prefer a more traditional approach to communicate using signals or a playbook/playcard to continue that approach.”

Devices allowed for use by the catcher include earpieces, electronic bands and “smart” watches. Coaches are prohibited “to communicate with any other team member while on defense or any team member while on offense” and the coach cannot use the device “outside the dugout/bench area.”

The NFHS states 344,952 girls play softball at the high school level with 15,406 high schools having teams. An additional 6,508 girls play in slow-pitch high school games.

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