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An Olympic Yardstick – Pitch Rotations

tanya harding australia spin rate pitch movement olympian rotation

Ever wondered how fast Olympic pitchers spin the ball on their different pitches?

If so, then check out some spin rotation numbers for 4-time Olympian Tanya Harding.

For those of you with spin rotation/pitch movement devices, you’re probably accumulating a good amount of spin numbers for your different pitchers. To help you manage these numbers and use them more effectively, here are some suggestions:

  1. Record spins for each of your pitchers, and for every one of their different pitches.
  2. Use these numbers to help a pitcher see that she is making improvements on a pitch, even though she might not yet be seeing actual movement on the pitch. Remember – it first takes increased spins and spin speed before a pitch begins to move.
  3. Use spin numbers from elite level pitchers to help your pitchers have a spin goal to shoot for. Click here for a free chart showing spin rates for all levels of pitchers.
As a baseline, below are the are spin rates for Tanya Harding – a 4-time Australian Olympic team member (earning 3 bronze & 1 silver medals). These spin rates are for different pitches Tanya threw following a 1 ½ hour workout on a very hot summer day. Keeping that in mind:
Pitch Average Top
Fastball 20.8 22.7
Riseball 25.2 27
Dropball 18.8 19.7
Curveball 25.1 25.8
Change Up 13.8 14.1
To see how significant these Spin Rates are, let’s compare her numbers to the Average and Top spin rates of college pitchers:
Pitch Tanya Avg. College Avg. Tanya Top College Top
Fastball 20.8 19.2 22.7 23.1
Riseball 25.2 21.7 27 26.6
Dropball 18.8 20.9 19.7 25.7
Curveball 25.1 21.2 25.8 26.6
Change Up 13.8 no numbers 14.1 no numbers

What made Tanya such a successful pitcher on the world-class level is that her average spin rates were so high, and that there wasn’t much of a difference between her Average and her Top spin rate. This means she was very consistent on her pitch movement which resulted in almost every one of her pitches having great movement and location – the signs of an elite pitcher!

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