Br J Sports Med 39:223-225 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2004.012724
  • Original article

A controlled study on batted ball speed and available pitcher reaction time in slowpitch softball

  1. M McDowell,
  2. M V Ciocco
  1. Bomani Sports Research, Inc, Cleveland, OH, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr McDowell
 Bomani Sports Research Inc, PO Box 81445, Cleveland, OH 44181, USA;
  • Accepted 4 May 2004


Objectives: To investigate safety risks in slowpitch softball by conducting laboratory and experimental studies on the performance of high tech softball bats with polyurethane softballs. To compare the results with the recommended safety standards.

Methods: ASTM standard compression testing of seven softball models was conducted. Using these seven softball models, bat/ball impact testing was performed using seven adult male softball players and six high tech softball bat models to determine mean batted ball speeds. Over 500 bat/ball impact measurements were recorded and analysed. Available pitcher reaction time was calculated from the mean batted ball speed measurements.

Results: According to the United States Specialty Sports Association and the Amateur Softball Association, the maximum initial batted ball speed should be 137.2 km/h, which corresponds to a minimum pitcher reaction time of 0.420 second. These experiments produced mean batted ball speeds of 134.0–159.7 km/h, which correspond to available pitcher reaction times of 0.409–0.361 second.

Conclusion: The use of high tech softball bats with polyurethane softballs can result in batted ball speeds that exceed the recommended safety limits, which correspond to decreased available pitcher reaction times.


  • Competing interests: none declared

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