Pitch speeds in the WCWS

Ask anyone what kind of speed you need to pitch in Division 1 college softball and the answer is sure to be “mid-60s.” (Of course some people think that’s also a typical speed for a 12 year old, but that’s a story for another day.)

As I’ve been watching the Regionals, Super Regionals and Women’s College World Series this year, though, I’m noticing a different trend. I’ve been seeing more pitchers throwing consistently in the mid-to-high 50s. Case in point: tonight’s game with Alabama and ASU. The ASU pitcher fit the mold — her pitches were mostly 62 to 66 mph. But the ‘Bama pitcher was more in the 55-59 mph range. Yes, ASU went on to win the game, but it was on what looked to me to be a foul ball. Up until the seventh, they were held scoreless.

Not sure exactly what to make of all of this. Maybe it’s tough to get those tall California girls who throw in the 60s to go to Alabama. But I’ve seen other teams where that’s the case as well. Perhaps it points out that movement really is more important that speed as everyone likes to say. It may also point out that D1 coaches are starting to believe it too.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on May 30, 2008, in General Thoughts, Pitching. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Curious. Before I read your post I had just hung up the phone where I had a similar conversation. Our local “A” level teams seemed focused on dominating speed. The exception is found on one of the state’s best teams. They have no dominating pitching but rather lots of very good breaking stuff. Begs the question, what does it take to be an “A” or Div I level pitcher?

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  2. My guess is mid-60s speed helps, but is not an absolute. You have to be able to move the ball. In college, Cat Osterman threw a lot of pitches in the high 50s. It’s only been the last couple of years that she got into the low 60s consistently. Didn’t seem to hurt her any!

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