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Am I Throwing Hard Enough? Analyzing Average Softball Pitch Speed by Age

The Women’s College World Series Championship is fast approaching, and there are a lot of stud pitchers traveling the road to Oklahoma City this year. The average velocity for these DI pitchers is above 63 miles per hour, and some like Rachel Garcia (UCLA) are consistently clocking in at close to 70 miles per hour.   

Whether you’re throwing for a championship team or your local summer league, “pitcher” is not an easy job to have, especially if you want to continue your throwing career in college and beyond. The pressure you face on the mound each game doesn’t go away after the last out – it compounds as you face competition across the country for the attention of coaches and scouts. 

Only a handful of pitchers make it to the WCWS in their lifetime. If you’re a pitcher dreaming of landing a softball scholarship, or even an NCAA Championship ring, the first step you should take is figuring out how hard you are currently throwing consistently, and where that velocity stacks up compared to your peers. 

What should my average softball pitch speed be? 

There are many factors that go into your average pitching speed – but age is going to be one of the main ones. Young women develop more gradually than men do, and that translates to a more gradual progression of throwing ability – young men will see more drastic jumps, especially in their teens. Still, the average pitching speed for a 13-year-old softball pitcher will differ from the average pitching speed for a 15-year-old, and so on. 

To help pitchers understand what benchmarks they should reach and when, Rapsodo created a Softball Pitching Averages by Age Guide. This guide was created by analyzing and averaging out metrics from over 9 million softball pitches thrown by girls and young women ages 11-pro. This guide breaks down average pitch speed by age alongside other metrics like break, spin rate, spin direction and more. 

Rapsodo Pitching Averages by Age Guide 15-16 year olds

Is it all about speed? 

Softballpitchingtools.com states that “speed demons” do get recruited, meaning any pitcher that consistently hits 63+ miles per hour in a game is bound to get noticed. The same goes on the contrary with off-speed pitches. To off-set that high speed, coaches and scouts look for pitchers who can throw change ups well, particularly for strikes. 

While it may seem like your average softball pitch speed is all that matters to recruiters, it isn’t. You can be a dangerous force throwing under 63 miles per hour, as long as you have great spin and late break. 

Take our own Softball Coordinator Kristen’s pitch, for example. Kristen throws around 57 miles per hour consistently nowadays, but her break and spin efficiency make her drop ball incredibly hard to hit. If you can move the ball around late in the zone, your pitches will produce the swings and misses you need to get noticed. 

Radar guns are great for measuring pitch velocity, but tools like Rapsodo’s PITCHING 2.0 and INSIGHT camera help you identify the true makeup of each pitch in your arsenal – including spin efficiency and break. Rapsodo advisor Cindy Bristow from Softball Excellence said it best:  

“Rapsodo gives me spin direction, video, and metrics to help me and my pitchers understand why good pitches move and bad pitches don’t.” 

What is the average pitching speed for college softball? 

Throwing 63 miles per hour will get you noticed by scouts, but the average pitching speed for college softball ranges from 58-65 miles per hour, taking all divisions into consideration. Bases Loaded Softball lists the following for each division’s average college softball pitching speed. These are great benchmarks to use to set goals for yourself and find the division that matches your skillset. 

Division 1: 63 MPH or faster 

Division 2: 58 MPH or faster 

Division 3 and NAIA: 55 MPH or faster 

Junior College: 54 MPH or faster 

How can I compare my average softball pitch speed to my peers? 

There are a few ways you can find out how your skills compare to your peers. Once you reach the high school level of play, you’ll get a general idea of how fast pitchers in your conference throw from local articles. The same goes for travel ball. However, articles and hear-say only go so far, so here are a few ways you can really see how you stack up against your peers: 

  1. Download the Softball Pitching Averages by Age Guide and evaluate your pitch velocity against your age group 
  1. Participate in a Rapsodo Certified Assessment and get your RapScore

Interested in getting a Rapsodo Certified Assessment? Sign up and join us at one of the following camps or tournaments this summer!  

KC Team 1 Invitational – sign up here! 

Atlanta Legacy Tournament (NFCA Camp Members only) – sign up for the camp here! 

Alliance 16U/18U Nationals 

Learn more about all Rapsodo softball products at rapsodo.com/softball.