Measure and Track Ball Exit Speed
Baseball and Fastpitch Softball
This Measure and Track Ball Exit Speed article is excerpted from The Ultimate Hitting Training Guide (click for a description of our new hitting drills book).
For recommendations on how and when to use various training methods (dry, heavy bag, pylos, tee, toss, live, machine, etc.) and to shop for practical and durable training equipment click on the link Hitting Training Methods and Aids.
Note that the products discussed on our site have been used in our training of hitters with great success. At no extra cost to you, things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.
About Ball Speed Radars
The multi-functionality of ball speed radar guns (as distinguished from bat speed radars) makes them an essential tool for any coach, parent, or player. Although the most common use for ball speed radar guns comes in the pitching cage, they can also measure and track batted ball exit velocity (EV).
Click the links to shop for our recommended ball speed radars in order from the most affordable for coaches, parents, and players to professional instructors and college/pro: Ball Coach Radar, Jugs Sports Radar, Stalker Pro II Sports Radar (also measures spin rate).
Measuring Ball Exit Speed (or Velocity (EV)) Off a Tee
“The Ball Coach™ radar has a lot of technology specifically designed to pick up the speed of the ball as it leaves the bat. This gives you the only direct measure of the power of a hit. This is often referred to as Exit Velocity or sometimes referred to as Ball Exit Speed. The Ball Coach radar can measure the Exit Velocity in batting practice, from off a tee, from soft-toss, or with live pitching. If you are using it with live pitching from behind the batter you will get the speed of the incoming pitch and the Exit Velocity off the bat as long as it is a well-hit ball with the Exit Speed faster than the incoming pitch.” (Ball Coach Radar, 2019)
Here is how to measure EV off a tee:
- The person holding the radar gun sits behind the tee to gun the ball’s velocity going out. The radar gun is level with the ball on the tee.
- Set the tee in the inner or outer contact zone, and inside, middle, outside, high or low hitting zone; just be consistent each swing.
- Only record line drives; the radar must be level with ball flight to avoid angle errors.
- Start the gun when the stride foot lands. The hitter uses a good ball and the bat they would use in a game, so the variables are always the same.
- Count the speed on five line drives. Calculate the average and peak exit velocity (highest achieved). For future comparison, record the date, the contact and hitting zone tested, and the average and peak speeds.
Measuring Ball Exit Speed (or Velocity (EV)) with a Pitched Ball
A pitched ball introduces numerous variables that affect ball exit speed. For the data to be as reliable as possible, follow these tips:
- If the radar is positioned behind the hitter with a net separating, the radar reports the pitched ball’s speed or the ball’s speed off the bat, whichever is greater. Some radars may even pick up the speed of the bat.
- To lessen confusion, another method is to position the radar six feet in the air behind a net located 15 feet from the hitter (image above).
- For comparability, whether the ball is thrown underhand or overhand, or a pitching machine is used, throws are the same speed and use the same type of ball during each measurement.
- Ask the hitter for five line drives where the radar displays a speed faster than the pitch’s speed. Because of cosine errors, ground balls and fly balls do not read accurately on the radar gun.
- Calculate the average and peak exit velocity (highest achieved) for the five solid hits into the net. For future comparison, record the date, the hitting zone tested (inside, middle, outside, high, low, or mixed), and the average and peak speeds.
Tracking Ball Exit Speed
During high school, Building Rome Series recommends measuring and tracking not only ball exit speed, but also the following analytics/metrics for players serious about playing in college:
- Average and peak overall bat speed.
- Average and peak early bat speed.
- Average time to contact.
- Forward movement distance during the approach.
- Subsets of QAB% (Quality At-Bats).
- Average and peak exit velocity.
- Average attack angle.
- Average launch angle.
- Slow-motion videos of the hitter’s baseline swing over time.
Ball Exit Speed (or Velocity (EV)) by Age
Here are the ranges of exceptional average ball exit velocity by age:
- Little League Baseball (45-65 mph).
- Middle School baseball(50-70 mph).
- High School baseball(60-80 mph).
- College baseball(70-90 mph).
- Pro baseball (80-100 using wood).
- Little League Softball (40-60 mph).
- Middle School softball (45-65 mph).
- High School softball (55-75 mph).
- College softball (60 – 80 mph).
Other Useful Swing Analytics Articles
Click the links below for our free swing analytic articles:
Building Rome Series Books: Building the High-Level Swing Series
Click Building the High-Level Swing to learn more about our new two-book hitting series containing a detailed and comprehensive description of 100 hitting fundamentals and 140 step-by-step drills that efficiently construct the batting swing from the ground up.
In the Building Rome Series of books, the construction of skills are in functional order, providing a “roadmap” to becoming a great hitter.
All baseball and fastpitch softball players can “climb the Roman Coliseum steps” to become a powerful and productive hitter.
Enjoy the quest!