When you ask a softball pitcher what one area of her pitching she wishes to improve on is, most will answer to throw harder or to gain speed. Pitching speed can be a tricky thing, and several factors need to align for a pitcher to throw hard. Before tapping into speed, it is encouraged that pitchers master proper body mechanics and form. This is important because it will prevent the pitcher from injury and having control of their body will make it easier to add speed and future pitches. Some pitchers are naturally gifted with speed earlier on because they are stronger or taller than other pitchers their age. Speed is developed at different rates.
Gaining pitching speed isn’t something that magically happens overnight. However, there are many drills and things pitchers can do to increase and maintain speed over time steadily. For the youngsters, speed will come as they grow and develop. The most frustrating year for the younger kids is the leap from 10U to 12U. Many pitchers at this age level who are young, struggle with the transition and lack speed due to height, strength and smaller hand sizes.
Pitching speed stems from three components: legs, arms, and the stride. These three things must work in unison for the pitcher to deliver a pitch at maximum speed.