We recently had tryouts for our Rec League and since I was a 12U coach, I decided to collect some data on base running times and throwing times among the 12U girls who tried out. As part of tryouts, our girls run from first to third, running through the bag (i.e. not stopping or sliding), and they also field balls at shortstop and throw to first. For base running, the times I recorded were from start until the girl touched third base, and for throwing I recorded the time from when the girl at shortstop first touched the ball to the time that the first baseman got the ball (on wild throws, I estimated when the ball crossed the first base foul line). There seems to be plenty of data on the web for college player times, but none for the 12U player.
Before I continue, a word about our twenty-seven girls who tried out. First, since our fields were not in good shape (we had rain the entire week before), no coaches’ daughters were part of the tryout to limit the traffic on the field. Coaches’ daughters tend to be the better softball players, but I am not sure that they tend to be the fastest players, so I do not believe that this exclusion skewed the base running data, However, the exclusion of some of the better players may have skewed the throwing data. Also, we are a small recreational league – bigger leagues or travel teams may have different results. Now that the legalese is out of the way, on to the data…
For base running times from first to third, our girls averaged 7.4 seconds with a standard deviation of 0.5 seconds. The fastest time was 6.6 seconds, and eight girls ran 7 seconds or faster. Interestingly, there is not a real “bell” curve in the spread of data, but times are bunched around 7 seconds and 7.6 seconds. This may indicate that there are fast players and slow players, but few “in between” speed players.
The times to throw from shortstop to first are more evenly distributed, with most of the players throwing to first in less than 3 seconds. The average time for the ball to reach first base was 2.8 seconds with a standard deviation of 0.4 seconds. Eight players had times of 2.4 seconds or faster, and two girls had times of 2.2 seconds.
While speed is not the end all and be all of Fast Pitch softball, it is still pretty vital to success. The benchmarks will hopefully help the reader rate their own teams.