Interesting article on pitch speeds
Just saw this article referenced at DiscussFastpitch.com. The article is on a site focused on fastpitch pitching called PitchSoftball.com, and represents the observations of Gerald Warner, a pitching instructor from Colorado.
For those of you whose 14 year old daughters DON’T throw 65 mph with eight pitches (as the daughters of most people on eTeamz’s boards seem to do), don’t despair. According to the site, while the average pitch speed at a particular age varies by region, Coach Warner puts an average 14U pitch speed at 50. A 13 year old will pitch between 40 and 50, he says.
That’s pretty consistent with what I’ve seen too. There are always exceptions on both ends, but the speeds listed here are more the norms. Incidentally, an average HS pitcher is listed at 53-57 mph.
As people point out in the DiscussFastpitch post, keep in mind that speed is only one element of a successful pitcher. You need enough speed to be respectable, but you don’t have to be overpowering to be successful. Movement, location, and intelligence/pitch selection are also important – perhaps even moreso, especially at the upper levels.
Check out the article. It’s a quick read, but a good one.
Posted on January 3, 2009, in Pitching. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.
This is a joke, but I had a funny thought when reading Gerald’s article – maybe I should bring a radar gun to games and pretend to use it only for the opposing pitchers so that they aren’t relaxed. 🙂 Yes – I am kidding – I don’t even own one.
LOL. That’s a pretty good idea! And I’ve definitely seen the speed slow down when they know they’re being gunned.
Mike, I’ve got one you can borrow.
Good read. I help coach a 12U team and we have a couple kids that are right around 40 and one that consistently gets over 50. What I see is that the kids that throw slower have better movement pitches and actually seem to get more outs. The kids that throw fast rely too much on speed, which we all know only works until a certain age.
Speed is certainly useful if you have it in abundance. If that pitcher who consistently gets over 50 was consistently getting over 60, all else being equal, it would probably be all she needs for a while. But yes, eventually it would catch up with her. I think one of the things that happens with pitchers who aren’t blessed with rocket arms at early ages is they’re forced to learn how to pitch instead of just throw. They can’t rely on speed to overpower hitters, so they have to learn to get them out some other way. That’s movement and changing speeds. This past summer we had a girl on our 14U team who didn’t have a lot of speed but did have good movement. She was effective most of the game, but eventually teams would figure her out too. The ideal is speed + plus movement. As long as you’re wishing…
Sometimes the slower pitchers can throw a team off so much they just can’t get their timing right. We had a pitcher on our team that threw nothing but change-ups. I say change-ups but they were actually just REALLY slow fast balls. It was the only pitch she had but it worked against the teams that spent a lot of time focusing on hitting fast pitches. We pitched her against some of the better teams we faced, and it threw their timing off so bad we were able to eke out a couple wins against these teams. The next time around they were ready for it and went to town on us…I’ll take speed plus movement any day of the week…it isn’t easy to find.
My 14u daughter throws 57+ peel drops, don’t use term fastball, and the other pitcher is around 49 to 50 for the same pitch. We have been able to use this to our advantage several times. With such a night and day difference between the two timing issues are obvious for the other team. I often make it a point to scout the other team’s game right before ours and see what they were facing when it came to pitch speed. If the saw a burner in the previous game, then the slower pitcher would start and vice versa. Works pretty well.