High School Baseball in Ohio Set to Utilize Communication Tech for Pitching Strategy

Communication Devices

High school baseball in Ohio and other states will see the integration of electronic technology currently used in professional and college baseball starting next spring. The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) has given the green light for a one-way communication device to be used between the coach in the dugout and the team’s catcher for pitch calling purposes. This new rule, approved by the NFHS baseball rules committee in June, aims to strike a balance between offense and defense, increase the pace of play, and responsibly manage technology to maintain a level playing field for all teams.

The communication device, an audio transmitter connecting coaches in the dugout to the catcher’s helmet, received mixed opinions from 14 head coaches in the Toledoprep area. While nine coaches supported the rule change, three were neutral, and two were against it. Eleven coaches indicated they would likely utilize this communication method in the coming season, while three expressed reservations.

Proponents of the rule believe it will make stealing signs harder and more accurate, eliminating the need for printed cards that can be misread due to small print. Others think it will be beneficial for teams with young catchers learning the game and handling pitching staff at the high school level. Some coaches compared it to the technology already used in college baseball, where it has been well-received.

On the contrary, a few coaches expressed concerns about the additional expense for schools and whether it would truly enhance the game. Some remain loyal to the traditional sign system and feel this technological advancement may not have a significant impact. One coach stressed the importance of affordability, questioning if all schools, especially smaller ones, would have access to the device.

While the new rule allows communication between the coach and catcher, it prohibits electronic communication with other defensive players and batters. The coach must also remain in the dugout when using the device.

Overall, coaches have varying views on the impact of this change on the game of baseball. While some believe it is the first step towards further advancements in high school baseball, others doubt it will drastically alter the game’s dynamics. As high school baseball embraces technological advancements, the ultimate goal remains to develop skilled pitchers and catchers who can read the game and work cohesively on the field.