How Fast Do College Softball Pitchers Throw? A Comprehensive Guide

Last updated on September 3, 2023

College softball has seen some of the best pitchers to ever play the game; so how hard do they throw? The answer is not straightforward, as it depends on several factors, including the division of play, the type of pitches thrown, and the individual skill level of the pitcher. However, we can provide you with some general guidelines. Let’s dive deeper into the sheer power shown by pitchers at the highest level.

Average Pitching Speed in College Softball

If you are interested in college softball, you may be wondering how fast college softball pitchers throw. The average pitching speed in college softball varies based on the division, the pitcher’s level of skill, and the type of pitches thrown.

According to, you can expect to see an average pitch speed of 60-65 miles per hour (mph) in Division 1, 58-62 mph in Division 2, and 55-60 mph in Division 3. However, it is important to keep in mind that even if you are above or in these ranges, it does not guarantee success. reports that the average pitching speed for college players is 58-65 MPH, or 66-74 MPH for higher end averages. The pitching speed you need for the different softball divisions varies, with Division 1 requiring 63 MPH or faster, Division 2 requiring 58 MPH or faster, Division 3 and NAIA requiring 55 MPH or faster, and Junior College requiring 54 MPH or faster.

It is worth noting that the speed of a softball pitcher can vary greatly depending on the type of pitches thrown. Fastballs tend to be thrown at the higher end of the range, while off-speed pitches like changeups and curves can be thrown around the lower end.

Training to Increase Pitching Speed

If you want to increase your pitching speed, you need to invest time and effort into consistent training. Here are some tips and techniques to help you build strength and improve your pitching speed:

Strength Training

Strength training is an essential component of any pitcher’s training regimen. You need to build strength in your legs, core, and upper body to generate more power and speed in your pitches. Here are some exercises that can help you build strength:

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Bench press

Balanced Strength Training

It’s important to have balanced strength training to avoid muscle imbalances and injuries. You need to work on both your upper and lower body to achieve balanced strength. Here are some exercises that can help you achieve balanced strength:

  • Lunges
  • Pull-ups
  • Push-ups

Weighted Balls

Weighted balls are a great tool to help you increase your pitching speed. You can use weighted balls to improve your arm strength, speed, and accuracy. Here are some exercises that can help you use weighted balls effectively:

  • Overhead throws
  • Side throws
  • Chest passes

Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are another great tool to help you increase your pitching speed. You can use resistance bands to improve your arm strength, speed, and flexibility. Here are some exercises that can help you use resistance bands effectively:

  • Arm circles
  • Tricep extensions
  • Shoulder rotations

Walk-Through Drills

Walk-through drills are a great way to improve your pitching speed and accuracy. You can use walk-through drills to work on your mechanics, timing, and release point. Here are some walk-through drills that can help you improve your pitching:

  • Step and throw
  • Stride and throw
  • Wind-up and throw

By incorporating these tips and techniques into your training regimen, you can increase your pitching speed and become a more effective pitcher. Remember to be consistent with your training and practice regularly to see the best results.

A pitch being thrown in a softball game.

Divisions and Pitching Speed

When it comes to college softball, pitching speed can vary depending on the division. Here’s a look at the average pitching speed for each division:

  • Division 1 (D1): 60-65 miles per hour (mph)
  • Division 2 (D2): 58-62 mph
  • Division 3 (D3) and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA): 55-60 mph
  • Junior College (JC): 54 mph or faster

It’s important to note that these are just averages, and there are always outliers. Additionally, just because a pitcher’s speed falls within these ranges does not guarantee success.

For prototypical Division I pitching recruits, coaches are typically looking for pitchers who can throw in the mid-to-upper 60s, with some pitchers reaching speeds of 70 mph or higher. However, speed is not the only factor coaches consider when recruiting pitchers.

In addition to speed, coaches also look at a pitcher’s ball/strike ratio, earned runs, walks vs. strikeouts, and number of pitches thrown per game or inning. These factors can help coaches determine a pitcher’s overall effectiveness and potential for success at the college level.

Speed Isn’t Everything

Although pitching speed is essential in softball, it’s not the only thing that makes a pitcher successful. There are many other factors that can give a pitcher an advantage over opponents. None more-so than accuracy; making sure you’re pitches go where you want them to is the biggest advantage you can have. For example, being skilled at throwing a variety of different pitches – like curveballs, rise balls, change-ups, and drop balls – can confuse batters. This element of surprise, along with consistently accurate pitch placement, especially around the edges of the plate, makes it really tough for hitters to predict what’s coming next.

Having strong mental toughness is also incredibly important. The pitcher’s mound can be a lonely spot, especially after giving up a hit or a run. What makes the best pitchers stand out is their ability to stay strong and focused during challenging times. They’re able to recover quickly, learn from each pitch they throw, and adjust their strategy as the game situation changes. Additionally, knowing each batter well – based on careful observation of their stance, swing, and tendencies – gives the pitcher an advantage in finding weaknesses to exploit.

Recorded Fastest Pitch in College Softball

The Guinness Book of World Records credits Monica Abbott with the fastest recorded softball pitch ever, reaching 77 miles per hour back on June 16, 2012, in a National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) game between Abbott’s Chicago Bandits and the Carolina Diamonds. Although this was not a college game, it’s still impressive to note that a softball pitcher has thrown a ball at such an incredible speed.

However, this record is certainly in jeopardy as some college pitchers are reaching 76 mph as sophomores!

Softball pitch from an on-deck view


In conclusion, the world of softball pitching encompasses a range of speeds influenced by factors like division, pitch variety, and individual skill. College softball pitching speeds vary across divisions; however, beyond speed, pitching success hinges on accuracy and a versatile repertoire of pitches, including curveballs, rise balls, change-ups, and drop balls, creating unpredictability for batters. Mental resilience is vital, enabling pitchers to rebound, adapt, and exploit opponents’ weaknesses. While pitching speed remains significant, the amalgamation of accuracy, versatility, and mental strength sets exceptional pitchers apart. With records like Monica Abbott’s groundbreaking 77 mph pitch inspiring new talents, the horizon of college softball pitching continues to evolve, promising even greater speeds.

Leave a Comment