The Colorado Softball Academy Futures Instructional Softball League is a development-based, girls youth softball league based out of Northern Colorado. The Futures League is created by female-athletes who have played and coached softball at a high level and understand the need for an instructional-based opportunity for our female-athletes to learn, play and develop at younger ages. The following includes the rules for the inaugural season of the FUTURES Softball Instructional League 2022.
6U League Approach:
The 6U age division is meant for athletes 4, 5 and 6 years old to learn the fundamentals of softball, develop gross motor skills and learn to work as part of a team while having fun. Athletes will learn the fundamentals of hitting with a ball off the tee with the goal of growing their abilities to hit a ball off of coach soft/ side toss by the end of the season.
Athletes will begin hitting the ball off of the tee in games until the athlete demonstrates the ability to hit a ball in the air. Athletes will then transition to hitting off of front toss (by a coach) in a game. Athletes will get 3 swings off of front toss, if the ball is not put in play after the third swing, the athlete must then hit off of the tee. Rules of the game may be varied to accommodate the need for teaching and should focus on fun, fitness, and fundamentals. The primary goals of the CSA 6U FUTURES Instructional League is to instruct the girls in the fundamentals of softball and to allow them to experience the value of teamwork and have fun.
Scores will be kept by either a coach or parent of each team. Scores will be entered into League Apps for World Series seeding purposes.
8U Approach: (coach pitch with the option of player pitch)
The 8U age division is meant for athletes 6, 7 and 8 years old. The goals of this league is to build upon the fundamentals learned in the 6U age division, as well as teach the proper fundamentals to athletes who are just starting out in their softball journey. Rules in this league can be modified to accommodate the development of the athletes where appropriate. For example, if an hitter is more advanced and the other team has a pitcher who has developed as a pitcher and can begin throwing off of a mound, the pitcher can be called in to throw to that hitter when she is up. The hitter/ pitcher will follow the standard 4 balls/ 3 strikes rule. If the hitter gets walked on 4 balls, the hitting then has the option to hit 2 balls off of the coach pitch/ front toss.
Athletes will develop fundamentals of hitting off of the tee in practice, and will be encouraged to hit off coach soft/ side toss in a game if able. The coach should determine the approach for each hitter based upon their level of development (tee, coach soft/side toss, coach front toss, or kid pitch (if applicable)).
Tee: A hitter gets 4 attempts to put the ball in play past the 4 foot line. If the batter swings and misses at all 4 attempts, the batter is out.
Coach Soft/Side Toss: A hitter gets 3 attempts to put the ball in play, if the hitter misses all 3 attempts, they get 2 swings off of the tee. If all attempts are missed, the batter is out.
Coach Pitch/ Front toss: The hitter gets the standard 4 balls/ 3 strike approach of of front toss. If the coach throws 4 balls to the hitter, the hitter gets 2 attempts off of soft/side toss to put the ball in play or they may take their base on a walk.
Kid Pitch: If a coach determines an athlete is ready to throw to batters off of the mound, coaches can determine which hitters on the opposing team are appropriate for the pitcher to throw to. Hitters will follow the standard 4 balls/ 3 strikes format. If the hitter gets walked, the hitter has the option of taking 2 swings off of coach pitch/ front toss to put the ball in play.
Scores will be kept by a coach and/or parent of each team. Coaches will then enter the scores of each game into League Apps for World Series Seeding purposes.
Coaches at the 6U and 8U age groups are allowed to have 2 coaches on the field during defense.
All athletes who complete the registration process in accordance with the registration deadlines, terms and conditions will be placed on a team and can expect to play in each game. Specific date and registration fees can be found on the Colorado Softball Academy website. Eligibility is deemed active once the registration process has been completed and confirmation has been received. Coaches must have access (either physical or electronically) to identified registration forms for each participant listing emergency contact information and date of birth. Any athlete who has not completed the above-identified eligibility requirements may not participate in practices and/or games. If an unregistered player has participated in a game, the team will automatically forfeit that game. Athletes will remain with their registered team. No player may change teams unless approved by the Colorado Softball Academy League Director. EXCEPTION – a team may pick up an additional league registered player from their specific league age group if:
Both head coaches and the CSA League Director have agreed and signed off.
Age determination is effective of birthday as of January 1st, 2022
6U – Ages range from 4, 5 or 6 (birthdays as of Jan. 1, 2022)
8U – Ages range from 6, 7, or 8 (birthdays as of Jan. 1, 2022)
An athlete who qualifies for the 6U age group may play up if CSA deems the athlete’s skill set appropriate and safe.
Uniforms are NOT included in the registration fee. Participants will be directed to purchase uniforms prior to the start of the season. Each player must be in proper uniform to participate. A players’ uniform consists of the standard team uniform jersey(s), pants, long socks, safety equipment.CSA will have a black camo jersey (home) and white camo jersey (away) that will be worn with white pants and black socks. No jewelry or hard hair ties/ headbands etc. are allowed to be worn during game play.
Bats – Only official t-ball or softball bats will be allowed. Bats made of aluminum, graphite, or ceramic materials must have an official softball insignia on it or have had it before such an insignia wore off. The use of baseball bats and wooden bats are prohibited.
Balls – Only 10” safety softballs with the official softball insignia are to be used for game and practice play. All practice and game balls are supplied by Colorado Softball Academy.
Batting Helmets – All batters, on-deck batters, and base runners are required to wear protective batting helmets at all times. It is mandatory for all batting helmets to be equipped with a face mask. A player may wear their own batting helmet only if it is equipped with the mandatory face mask. A player who in the judgment of the umpire intentionally removes a helmet while baserunning during a live play will be called out. Colorado Softball Academy will supply each team with 5 batting helmets inclusive of face masks.
Pitchers Equipment –All players occupying the pitching position must wear a fielders face mask. It is highly recommended that any position player wear a protective face mask while playing defense in the field. Catcher’s Equipment – Catchers must wear an approved catcher’s helmet, face mask, chest protector, and shin guards. Colorado Softball Academy will provide each team with a set of catchers equipment. Athletes are welcome to supply their own as long as it is safe and meets the standards.
Games cannot be canceled and rescheduled for any reason except adverse weather conditions or unplayable fields in which the Colorado Softball Academy will determine. If games have not been officially canceled by the CSA League Director, coaches and teams should proceed with the scheduled start time.
The umpire has the authority to cancel a game before one is started, if adverse weather conditions exist. If both coaches agree before the start of the game that adverse weather conditions exist, the game can be canceled. These games will be rescheduled.
The umpire will have general responsibility for calling games due to weather conditions. If lightning and/or thunder is observed and the umpire has not elected to call the game, the coaches of the teams will be empowered to make a joint decision to remove his/her players from the field. If there is a disagreement as to the merits of this action it must be reported by the disagreeing party to the League Director within 48 hours.
If for any reason other than adverse weather, a game cannot be played, it will be forfeited by the team, which cannot play, unless otherwise authorized by the League Director.
Any changes to the schedule will be communicated to the teams directly from the Colorado Softball Academy.
Changes will be sent via email and text message via League Apps (if available on your phone). It is the players and coaches responsibility to check their email and text prior to leaving for a scheduled game.
If lightning is observed, the game should be halted immediately and the players should be removed from the field.
If the field is equipped with lightning detection equipment, all warnings from such equipment are to be strictly and absolutely obeyed, in spite of any observation of weather conditions to the contrary. Safety of all participants and spectators is the priority.
All players, parents, anf coaches must adhere to the CSA Be A Good Human Code of Conduct, to which they signed upon registration. Disputes should first be discussed by coaches and umpires with the umpire holding discretion in enforcement. If disputes cannot be settled at the game, complaints must be submitted on an Incident Report form to theLeague Director.
Umpires retain the authority to eject any offending party from the game and determine what is foul language and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Ejected parties must leave the vicinity of the field until the completion of the game and shall not approach or otherwise attempt to communicate with the umpires or opposing team following the completion of the game. Ejected parties will be contacted by a CSA representative 24-48 hours following the incident to discuss next steps. CSA holds the right to ban any from CSA future events in the event of an egregious act.
Bats or any other equipment thrown in anger will result in the batter being declared out and dismissal from the game with the ball being declared dead.
A bat that slips from the batter’s hand will result in a warning to the team for the first occurrence. The second team occurrence will result in the batter being declared out, the ball declared dead, and the runners unable to advance. This ruling is based on the judgment of the umpire, and is a non-arguable judgment call.
The Colorado Softball Academy will handle only the following matters:
Protests pertaining to the lightning / thunder scenario. All other weather, darkness, curfew, etc. decisions are the sole responsibility of the umpire and will not be reviewed.
Reported incidents of improper conduct by team coaches, players, or spectators that are of a nature that poses a threat to the health and well-being of the players and/or the league.
No other protests are allowed.
Each scheduled game shall be officiated by at least one umpire for all divisions.
If no umpire arrives within 15 minutes after the scheduled start of the game, the coaches may, upon mutual agreement, select an umpire from available coaches and parents. If no agreement can be made, the game shall be considered canceled and will be rescheduled.
It is strictly the responsibility of the umpire to decide issues of the 2- hour Rule, halt the game due to darkness, curfew, minimum number of players, etc. The umpire’s decision on these matters is final and must be followed by both coaches.
The umpire will have general responsibility for calling games due to weather conditions. If lightning and/or thunder is observed and the umpire has not elected to call the game, the managers of the teams will be empowered to make a joint decision to remove his/her players from the field. If there is a disagreement as to the merits of this action it must be reported by the disagreeing party to the CSA League Director within 48 hours.
Umpires retain the authority to eject any offending party from the game and determine what is foul language and unsportsmanlike conduct. Ejected parties must leave the vicinity of the field until the completion of the game and shall not approach or otherwise attempt to communicate with the umpires or opposing team following the completion of the game.
Qualified coaches will consist of local current and/or former softball players 13 years old or above who will be expected to complete a player development curriculum prior to each season to allow for league participants to learn the game, build a solid mechanical foundation, build confidence and HAVE FUN!
Background check? – Coaches over the age of 18 will complete a background check.
CSA Coaches will receive concussion training.
Coaches and their teams need to be at the identified facilities at a minimum of 30 minutes prior to the start of each game.
Coaches may not cross the foul lines to dispute a call or discuss a rule with field umpire(s) unless granted permission by the umpires. Failure to adhere to these rules can result in a warning, confinement to the dugout for the remainder of the game, or ejection from the game at the sole discretion of the umpires. Pregame procedural meetings or casual conversations during the course of the game are excluded from this rule.
Only coaches may discuss calls with the umpires.
Only the coach(s) (or base coaches while their team is at bat) shall be allowed outside of the dugout. Failure to follow this rule can result in a warning, being confined to the dugout for the remainder of the game, or ejection from the game at the sole discretion of the umpires.
Only coaches can approach the umpire (s) to discuss an issue. Parents, players, and spectators are not allowed to approach the umpire (s) to discuss any issues.
A minimum of 8 players is required for a team to start a game in every division. A team that cannot field the minimum number of players within 15 minutes after the scheduled start of the game will automatically forfeit and the game will not be rescheduled. The exception to this rule is if both coaches are in agreement to extend the 15 minute time period, if a late player arrival is expected.
If a coach has advance notice that their team will be short the minimum number of required players for a game, the coach has the option of calling a pick up players within the same league. There are no restrictions as to what position the substitute player can play. Coaches may arrange their own pickups, but must notify the Colorado Softball Academy League Director.
A team that loses a player due to an injury that occurred during game play, and as a result no longer has the required minimum number of players to continue the game, may at the coaches discretion continue to play with less than the minimum number of players or may ask for and be granted a forfeit.
Coach Option of 10 players. The maximum number of players that can be fielded at any time is 10. Ten players may only occupy the field if both teams have at least 10 players. The positions include pitcher, catcher, 4 infield players and 4 outfield players.
Infield Positions – Catcher, Pitcher, 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base and Short Stop
Outfield Positions – Right Field, Right Center, Left Center and Left Field.
With the exception of clinics, players may not practice with their teams prior to the first official CSA League Practice.
Home Team Responsibilities
The home team will occupy the third base dugout.
The home team is responsible for supplying a the game ball at each game. These balls are supplied by the Colorado Softball Academy at the beginning of the season.
Coaches must report the home team score within 48 hours. (will there be CSA at all games? Who is keeping score?)
Missing or damaged equipment should be reported to the League Directors immediately after the game.
Field and Game Specifics
6U – 50 ft. basepaths, 30 ft. pitching mound
8U – 50 ft. basepaths, 30 ft. pitching mound
Games will be 1 hour and 15 minutes (finish the inning).
A conference will be held prior to the first pitch to discuss the following:
Agreed upon number of defensive players that will play in the field
Any other issue that is felt to be relevant to game play or the players
Official Game Determination:
1 hour 15 minutes. No new inning may be started at a point exceeding 1 hour and 15 minutes from the scheduled start time of the game.
4 innings have been completed, 3 ½ if the home team is leading. If a game becomes official but does not finish due to darkness or adverse weather conditions, the score that existed at the end of the last completed full inning will be the final score of the game.
The score will be recorded and the results included in the league standings.
A game that is not official but is suspended due to weather shall be rescheduled and started from the top of the first as if the game had never been played.
A playoff or championship game that is suspended due to weather will be rescheduled and will start where it left off unless circumstances deem another starting point necessary. This will be determined and decided by the Colorado Softball Academy.
Considering the goal of this league is development, to teach and provide opportunities for girls to play softball, there will not be a run rule in effect.
That said, if a team has hit through their line up in 1 inning without 3 outs made, the half inning will conclude and teams will switch.
Players Played Innings Every player must get at least 2 at bats per game and play a minimum of 2 innings in the field.
Line-ups Lineups must be submitted to the opposing team coach for each game at the pregame home plate coaches/ umpire conference. These lineups will include the names of the players and the continuous batting order that will be employed for the duration of the game. Late players that arrive after the start of the game are to be placed at the bottom of the batting order. Players will bat in the order designated in the line-up regardless of whether they are employed in the field or not. If the player who is listed in the batting order is not present, the batter will be skipped without penalty and they will bat the next time their turn comes up. The opposing coach should be informed immediately when this situation occurs. A team may not bat more than 10 batters for any one inning, regardless of the number of outs. Once the ball is back to the pitcher all runs end and the inning is complete.
Scoring will be a maximum of 5 (unless it’s the last batter of the inning, in that case play the situation until the ball is back in the pitching circle. At that point, teams will switch and all runs will count) runs per inning or 10 batters whichever comes first. Continuation Run: Continuation will be in effect during play. Example: 4 runs have already scored and bases are loaded, the batter hits a home-run….all runs count and the team is awarded 8 runs for that inning.
In the last inning, or the inning that the umpire declares will be the last inning (the umpire must declare this before the first pitch of that inning is thrown), the 10 batter 5 run rule is no longer in effect. There will be unlimited runs and unlimited batters until three outs have been made or time has expired (this is only applicable for the 8U age group), 6U will follow the 5 run/ 10 batter rule.
Courtesy Runner If a player is injured and unable to run the bases to the fullest extent, the manager may request a courtesy runner through the umpire. The most recently retired player will be the designated runner.
Lead Offs (8U only) For all divisions, lead offs are not allowed until the ball has left the pitcher’s hand. If the batter is hitting off of the tee, the ‘pitcher’ will still go through a pitching motion, and the runner may take a lead off of her motion.
Stealing No stealing bases are allowed at the 6U and 8U age groups.
Sliding (8U age group only)In all divisions, all players must make any attempt possible to avoid contact with other players.
Bunting is allowed in the 8U age group.
Slap hitting is allowed in the 8U age group.
Infield Fly Rule not applicable in the 6U and 8U age groups.
Dropped 3rd Strike Rule is not applicable in the 6U and 8U age groups. Regardless of it the ball is caught or dropped on strike 3, the batter is out.
Pick offs are not allowed in the 6U and 8U age group.
Defensive Substitutions- Free defensive substitutions are permitted.
(8U only) The pitcher shall take a position with both front foot in contact with the pitching rubber. The pitcher may step backwards at any time. The pitcher must not make any motion to pitch without immediately delivering the ball to the batter. A pitcher cannot pitch more than 3 innings in a 6 inning game. The above inning limits do not have to be consecutive innings. Two batters pitched to in an inning counts as a full inning pitched.
If a batter is hit by the ball the play is called dead and the batter takes her base. The umpire will be solely responsible for this determination which is a non-arguable judgment call. If a batter is hit by a pitch, they can choose to keep hitting or take their base.
(8U only) The strike zone will be defined as the area over home plate, between the armpit and the bottom of the knees. If a coach feels that the umpire’s strike zone has shifted during game play, the coach has a right to call a conference with the umpire and the other manager to discuss the situation.
Dead Ball – The ball will be considered dead once the pitcher has control of the ball and is within the designated pitching circle. Once the ball is dead, no runner may advance. In the event of an overthrow, runners may advance one base only. Any runner who has not gone past the halfway point to the next base must go back to the preceding base. In the event of an obvious injury to a player, the umpire may declare the ball dead and call a time out. The umpire will be responsible for the judgment as to the position of the runners.