How Fast IS Fastpitch Softball?
Have you ever wondered why they call it “fastpitch” softball? Is the ball really traveling that much faster?
Average Pitch Speeds in Softball
Some people would be surprised to know just how fast a pitch travels in fastpitch softball, especially when you consider that girls as young as 7 or 8 are doing the pitching in some leagues. This article is actually designed more for batters than for pitchers so that batters can get prepared for what they may be facing in the batter’s box. Keep in mind that speed in pitching is not everything, accuracy and consistency are just as important if not more so than pure speed.
The average pitching speed of a youth softball player will differ greatly from pitcher to pitcher. However, we have compiled the average pitch times for each age group. These are broken down into two categories. First is the Average Pitch Speed which are the speeds you could expect to see by pitchers in a C Level and some B Level Rec leagues. Second is the Top Pitching Speeds which are speeds you could expect to see by pitchers in some B Level Rec leagues, all star teams and travel ball clubs. Please don’t be offended if your player is consistently pitching at higher or lower speeds than listed. This list is just the average softball pitching speeds by age, not what you might see in above average pitchers or the maximums they might be able to occasionally pitch.
Softball vs. Baseball Pitching Speeds
You also may be wondering how this compares to baseball pitching speeds. I mean a 12 year old softball player pitching 45mph sounds kind of fast but not as impressive as a 12 year old baseball player pitching a 60mph fastball – or is it?
To compare the softball and baseball speeds you really need all the information. The primary factor in comparing the two is distance from the release point to the plate or the distance a batter has to react to the pitch; this is the effective pitch speed. A 12U softball pitcher stands 40 feet from home plate to start her pitch and about 35 feet from her release point. If she pitches a 45mph ball it is the equivalent of approximately a 78mph pitch in baseball, if the baseball was thrown from a full MLB distance of 60.5 feet. That’s pretty impressive in anyone’s book and 45mph for a 12 year old is a pretty average pitch speed. A college level softball pitcher will often pitch speeds in the mid-high 60’s and even low 70’s. This isn’t to compare softball to baseball or say which is better it’s just illustrate that just hearing the number for speed of a pitch isn’t the whole picture. Remember that next time you want to get frustrated when a player strikes out at bat, how many of you could hit a 78mph fast ball?
This chart gives a comparison of softball pitch speed (pitching rubber 43’ from home plate) and baseball pitch speed (pitcher’s mound 60.5’ from home plate). Read more about what it takes to be a pitcher on a girls fastpitch team.