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The Fastpitch Northwest’s Prospect Evaluation Camp (PEC) season is just around the corner.  

06/05/2017, 7:30am PDT
By Tom Mauldin

Are you ready to show college coaches you have what it takes to take it to the next level?

What’s a PEC you ask? 

PECs feature five-to-six hours of unbiased on-field testing and evaluation and are greatly valued by college coaches when evaluating prospective player potential.

Fastpitch Northwest will host a dozen PECS throughout the Northwest beginning with a trio of PECs in Idaho (Pocatello, Twin Falls and Caldwell). Other PECs will be held in Washington and Oregon in later June and early July. Three PECs have already been conducted, two in Hawaii in late November and Fastpitch Northwest’s first ever in Colorado in April.

Players who perform well at their PEC will receive an invitation to Fastpitch Northwest College Exposure Tournament to take place in Centralia, July 18-19-20. In addition, players’ performances and information goes on Fastpitch Northwest’s national website for viewing by all college coaches coast to coast and border to border.

“The goal is to show well during PECs so a player can be invited to the tournament and show their skill level in front of college coaches,” said Ken Olson, director of Fastpitch Northwest. 

The key to a unbiased evaluation is that professional softball coaches are doing the evaluation.

And, again the bonus is the website information.

At the PECs, players will be tested using the SPARQ and the NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) comparatives and evaluated by the Fastpitch Northwest staff.

Olson said that Fastpitch Northwest’s website is the best way to register for upcoming PECs and noted that pre-registration is required.

The SPARQ rating system and the NFCA Comp guide are merely measuring guides. The system is designed to measure sport-specific athleticism. The results from these tests are combined and weighted using a formula specific to softball. Nike Sports developed the rating system for several sports, including softball.

SPARQ represents Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction and Quickness. It’s an acronym that excites coaches ... especially when they see attention-grabbing performances. 

The NFCA comparatives include Bat Exit Speed (the speed of the ball coming off the bat), baserunning and throwing.

The following tests make up the assessments in the Softball SPARQ.

• 20 Yard Dash — a straight line sprint on grass test that measures acceleration, and is a reliable indicator of speed, agility and quickness. The FPNW record is 2.44 (by Morgan DeBord in 2016).

The aim of this test is to determine acceleration, and is also a reliable indicator of speed, agility and quickness.

An excellent 20 time is under 2.7 seconds. A good time is 2.71-2.99. An average time is 3.0 to 3.25. Anything slower than 3.25 needs work.

• Vertical Jump — jumping for maximum height, this test measures explosiveness, and is a reliable indicator of speed. 

An excellent vertical jump is anything over 25 inches. A good jump is 21-24.9. Average is 18-20.0. Anything less than 18.0 needs work. The FPNW vertical record is 27.1 inches (Brinley Miller, 2012).

• Rotational Power Ball Throw — The test involves throwing a Power Ball across the chest for maximum distance. It measures core strength and total body power and simulates the rotational core movement common to softball.

An excellent throw is anything over 45 feet. A good throw is 40-44.9. An average throw is 36-39.9. Anything less than 36 needs work. The FPNW record is 51 feet by McKenzie Hughes, 2012.

• 10-Yard Shuttle — A lateral movement test that measures the agility of the athlete, especially body control and change of direction. This is a test of speed, explosion, body control and the ability to change direction (agility).

Anything under 4.59 seconds is excellent. 4.6 to 4.9 is good. 4.91 to 5.25 is average. Anything above 5.26 needs work. The FPNW 10-yard shuttle record is 3.88 by Brooklyn Daylong, 2013.

Coaches need numbers. That said, however, while SPARQ is a good evaluator in many regards, there are outstanding softball players who will not register even average marks. But coaches like it when athletes want to improve their marks, regardless of how low or high  ... it shows pride in performance.

If a player posts below average marks, hopefully, they’ll work harder to improve their game. And college coaches love players who work hard to improve.”

The NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaching Association) has also published a guide for prospective softball players breaking down base running, throwing, exit speed off the bat and pitching. According to the NFCA’s Comp Rating, excellent times are:

Home to home: 10.99 and below is excellent; 11.0-11.69 is good; 11.70-12.40 is average and anything above 12.41 needs work. The FPNW record is 10.61 by Olivia Lethlean (2016).

Overhand throw (MPH): 63 and above is excellent; 58-62 is good; 53-57 is average. 52 and below needs work. The FPNW record is 70 mph (Mallory Copeland, 2016).

Pop to Pop for catchers (in seconds): 1.80 and below is excellent; 1.81-1.90 is good; 1.91-2.0 is average; 2.01 and above needs work. The FPNW record is 1.50, set last November at the Honolulu PEC (Cheyenne Lute)..

Pitcher’s Pitch Speeds (MPH): 66 & above is excellent; 63-65 is good; 59-62 is average; 58 & below needs work.

At FPNW, speed for each pitch a pitcher throws is documented - curve, rise, drop, slider, screw, and change. The FPNW PEC record is shared by Hipa (2013) and Colette Robert (2013) at 64 mph. 

Spin Rate (Revolutions Per Second): 25 and above: excellent; 22.0-24.9 is good; 20.1-21.9 is average; 20 and below needs work.

The SPARQ rating system and the NFCA Comp guide are merely measuring guides. 

The bottom line? If you don’t have a player evaluation scheduled, get one. 
(See Fastpitch NW’s dates and locations of upcoming Player Evaluation Camps.) Go to
www.fastpitchnw.com   Click on PEC

 

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