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  What is an Average Pitching Speed?
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by Gerald Warner, Softball Pitching Instructor

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Pitchers, parents, and coaches often ask what the typical pitching speed is for a pitcher of a certain age.   Since girl pitchers in various communities and different regions of the U.S. have different abilities and experience, and play at a variety of levels of competition, there is not a specific answer that will work for everyone.

Here, however, are some of my observations and suggestions:
 

(1)  Average pitching speed by age varies substantially from region to region.   Warm weather states in the U.S. (southern California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, etc.) offer athletes the opportunity to practice and play their sport outdoors the year around.  Therefore, we have seen consistently that average pitchers in those areas have faster average speeds than their counterparts in colder weather regions.

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(2)  Pitchers, pitching coaches, and parents all like to brag about their pitcher's "60 mph fast ball".   It is a nice goal,
but obviously speed alone doesn't make a successful pitcher.   Here is an unpopular statement from me, but the truth nonetheless
In most cities, considerably less than 5% (and sometimes only 1% or 2%) of all teenage pitchers consistently hit an "honest" 60 mph  in games.

(3) From what we have seen and experienced, an average pitcher in most parts of the U.S. would have pitching speeds somewhat like this for her age: 

11-years old - High 30's to Mid 40's

12-years old - 
Low 40's to Upper 40's

13-years old - Mid 40's to Low-50's

14-years old - 50+

Average high school pitcher - 53-57 mph

Again, these are NOT recommendations...just what we have seen from girls of all sizes, in a variety of leagues and competition levels, in various parts of the U.S.

(4)  Radar guns and other speed measuring devices vary CONSIDERABLY in accuracy.   An $800 Jugs speed gun is accurate to within of a mile per hour.   But obviously, a $20 softball with an LCD speed readout, or a bucket that measures speed, or an $89 radar gun...none of those should be expected to be close that kind of accuracy.

(5)  Some pitchers tighten up and slow down when they see a radar gun.   It is natural to think that "I have to pitch harder" when she sees a speed gun behind the catcher.   "Trying" to throw hard often means tighter muscles and slower pitching.  Relax!

(6)  Pitch speed MIGHT be slightly slower when there is a batter at the plate.  The majority of pitchers tend to be more conservative in a game than in practice...practice pitches are often faster than in a game situation.


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Article by Gerald Warner of PitchSoftball.com
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If you have questions or need more information
E-mail us,
  or call Pitching Instructor Gerald Warner in Colorado at (720) 200-4575


 

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