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How tall are softball players?

Oct 15, 2013
335
18
Seattle, WA
I get to see a college senior who plays for one of the local colleges (Pac-12) and who recently made the US Nation team up close fairly often. She doesn't seem especially tall to me and she's whip thin. I got to wondering how she does it, meaning being so dominant in softball. She hit 21 home runs last year. It got me wondering how important size, especially height really is and if college players are taller than the average woman. I know the manager of my oldest DD's 1st year 14U team loves tall players and has passed over some players in tryouts who were shorter against my advice.

I looked at the 2017 rosters of 9 teams (182 players total) that finished in the top ten last year (Florida St doesn't list the height of their players) and and did a little googling and found that:

The average height on these top ten teams is 66.63736264 inches or 5' 6.64"
The average height of a woman in the US is 5' 4"
The average height of a white US woman is 5' 5"
26% of the players on these 9 teams were 5 '4" or less
13% of the players on these 9 teams were 5' 3" or less
The shortest players (4 in total) were 5' 1"
26% of the players were 5' 9" or taller (arbitrary number that seems "noticeably tall" for a woman to me).
6 players were 6' tall or taller the tallest being 6' 2" (2)
I didn't take note until too late but the last four players I noted at 6' or taller were all pitchers.

So, it seems softball players, at least those in the top programs really are taller than average, but it's not a requirement. There are a good number of average or less than average size women on top teams.

The player who I mentioned in the beginning of my post is listed at 5' 7" so she is actually taller than average, which still, to my eye, doesn't seem that tall. I wonder if living in a prosperous, healthy west coast city skews my perception. Perhaps, people are just taller here?

My own DD, who just turned 13 in December is 5' 4", but is one of the shorter players on her team. Do I have to worry now? - just kidding if you can't tell.

Go Hawks!
 

JAD

Feb 20, 2012
8,234
0
Georgia
Pitching is really the only position I can think of where height offers a significant advantage, unless you include F3 where wingspan can come in handy.
 

Greenmonsters

Wannabe Duck Boat Owner
Feb 21, 2009
6,178
0
New England
I get to see a college senior who plays for one of the local colleges (Pac-12) and who recently made the US Nation team up close fairly often. She doesn't seem especially tall to me and she's whip thin. I got to wondering how she does it, meaning being so dominant in softball. She hit 21 home runs last year. It got me wondering how important size, especially height really is and if college players are taller than the average woman. I know the manager of my oldest DD's 1st year 14U team loves tall players and has passed over some players in tryouts who were shorter against my advice.

I looked at the 2017 rosters of 9 teams (182 players total) that finished in the top ten last year (Florida St doesn't list the height of their players) and and did a little googling and found that:

The average height on these top ten teams is 66.63736264 inches or 5' 6.64"
The average height of a woman in the US is 5' 4"
The average height of a white US woman is 5' 5"
26% of the players on these 9 teams were 5 '4" or less
13% of the players on these 9 teams were 5' 3" or less
The shortest players (4 in total) were 5' 1"
26% of the players were 5' 9" or taller (arbitrary number that seems "noticeably tall" for a woman to me).
6 players were 6' tall or taller the tallest being 6' 2" (2)
I didn't take note until too late but the last four players I noted at 6' or taller were all pitchers.

So, it seems softball players, at least those in the top programs really are taller than average, but it's not a requirement. There are a good number of average or less than average size women on top teams.

The player who I mentioned in the beginning of my post is listed at 5' 7" so she is actually taller than average, which still, to my eye, doesn't seem that tall. I wonder if living in a prosperous, healthy west coast city skews my perception. Perhaps, people are just taller here?

My own DD, who just turned 13 in December is 5' 4", but is one of the shorter players on her team. Do I have to worry now? - just kidding if you can't tell.

Go Hawks!
IME, the same level of credence should be given to the listed heights as should to top speeds claimed by most TB pitcher parents!
 
Mar 26, 2013
1,935
0
IME, the same level of credence should be given to the listed heights as should to top speeds claimed by most TB pitcher parents!
Carlee Wallace was listed as 5'4" on her HS roster and Auburn has her at 5'2", which might still be a stretch considering how short she looks compared to other players.
 
Mar 26, 2013
1,935
0
Pitching is really the only position I can think of where height offers a significant advantage, unless you include F3 where wingspan can come in handy.
I checked with a longtime elite TB coach and he doesn't know of a distinct advantage for non-pitchers, however college coaches definitely have a preference for athletic kids with size. I heard about a large high-profile TB org tryout a few years ago where they appeared to separate the girls into groups at the start by height and the taller girls got more attention.

Standing out in a large group of good players is hard enough and the bias makes it even more difficult for short-to-average height girls. If their play doesn't really shine above the others, they probably have to set their sights lower...
 

JAD

Feb 20, 2012
8,234
0
Georgia
Height has no bearing in softball, pitching or otherwise.
While great pitchers can come in all sizes, height and longer limbs offers a mechanical advantage. Longer arms produce a larger radius circle which increases velocity and longer legs normally means longer strides which moves the pitchers release point closer to the batter.
 

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