There is a lot of emphasis on baseball pitch counts and pitch limits to reduce potential injuries in youth. Softball does not get the same attention. The windmill motion in fastpitch softball is considered "natural" or "low impact" and compared to the overhand baseball motion it is. It does not exclude softball pitchers from developing the same overuse injuries, it just takes a lot more pitches to get there.
The number one way to refuse injury risk in both baseball and softball is to use proper mechanics. But at some point, the mechanics begin to breakdown. After the breaking point is when the pitcher, baseball or softball, is at the highest risk for injury. That limit varies from player to player. Follow this protocol to determine pitch count for your softball pitching staff.
Steps to Determine Pitch Count in Softball
Do this 3-4 times throughout your season to keep an accurate pitch limit for all pitchers.
A regular starting pitcher who plans to last a full 7 inning game should have an 80-100 pitch limit. If she is not in that range, use sprints to increase her endurance.
Other benefits for coaches when determining a pitch limit for their pitching staff:
Pitch counts of 80 to 100 are ideal for an average pitcher looking to complete seven innings. If the pitcher is under 80 pitches and you need her to be a starter, use a sprinting program to increase her lower body stamina.
The limit for maximum-effort pitches during a week should be around 400. Any drill work not focusing on speed does not count towards the limit of 400 pitches per week. Fastpitch softball pitchers should use drills to practice control and command over movement pitches.