How To Choose a Softball Bat
and Get the Most Out of It
There is a balance of fear and confidence on the ball field when someone strolls up to the plate and the outfield yells, ďBig hitter!" Be confident that you are the big hitter. And if hitting isnít your strong suit, choose a softball bat that will shock the crap out of your competition.
The most important piece of softball equipment is your bat. Get informed and make good decisions for your most basic softball gear. With so many softball bat choices these days, it is hard to determine which one is best for you. If you are going to spend the money on a softball bat, you need to know how to get the most out of it. Find out how to select a high-performance softball bat that feels like it was custom made for you.
First of all, avoid costly mistakes by finding out what softball equipment restrictions may exist in the league in which you will be playing. (ASA, USSSA, ISA, NSA, ISF)
To determine the length and weight of your bat experts agree that a bat should be as light as possible and still comfortable to swing. A quick swing is the key to good hitting. Extra length and weight wonít make the ball go any farther if your bat is too heavy to swing. General softball charts can suggest a softball bat length by your height and weight. When selecting a bat, the negative numbers are the length to weight ratio. This means if you take the length of the bat (e. g. 33 inches) and the size (e. g. -6), your bat would weigh 27 ounces.
Bat speed gives hitters power. When a softball hits the barrel of a bat, the faster the bat speed generated, the greater the trampoline effect will be created off the barrel. This gives you greater velocity to produce an explosive hit. Home run, baby!
Hitting Style Guidelines
- Bigger, stronger players prefer a heavier bat because they get both the heft and swing power
- Smaller players with less strength should consider a lighter bat to generate a quicker swing
- Younger players should consider a lighter bat to increase control
Bat Materials Breakdown
Todayís powerful, aerospace technology is what makes your softball bat sing. Several different alloys are used in making softball bats, each vary in performance and durability. Thatís why some bats cost 100 dollars while others cost 300 dollars? Alloy is often the biggest factor in the price. Here is the metal breakdown:
- Aluminum softball bats are lighter in weight to increase control and bat speed
- Lighter alloys are thinner and more durable which increases the sweet spot, the hitting zone on the batís barrel
- Resilience - although higher in cost, you save money since the bats are harder to crack
- Aluminum bats and composite bats come in single-layer or double-layer construction. Double-layer bats are more durable and powerful, since the ball rebounds off the bat with more of a trampoline effect.
- Composite bats usually combine graphite, fiberglass and resin. Composite bats have a cool, unique sound and a huge sweet spot.
- Composite materials are added to thin-walled aluminum bats - this makes a lighter bat, increases swing speed, and durability
- Reduces vibration and the sting of a miss hit ball
- Hybrid combines aluminum alloy with composite materials. This gives a batter the best of two worlds: an aluminum barrel with a stiff composite handle.
- Air chamber and other special features: high-performance bats feature inflatable chambers filled with nitrogen or helium inside their barrels. A Louisville Slugger bat exclusive, these chambers significantly enhance trampoline effect and performance. Remember to check with your softball association for bat approval.
Bat Care Tips
A good softball bat is an investment. Take care of it!
- Do not use in temperatures below 60 degrees. Cold weather can dent thin walled bats.
- Do not store bats in extreme hot or cold places like the trunk of a car or garage. Softball bat end caps are sensitive to hot temperatures. Replace the end cap if it becomes loose or cracked.
- Rotate the bat a quarter turn before each swing. This prevents denting on one side of the bat.
- Avoid using newer bats at the batting cage.
High-performance bats arenít designed for dense batting cage balls.
Remember, thin walls. Hitting rubber or plastic balls will void any one-year bat warranty.
- Do not hit waterlogged balls.
- Do not clean cleats with your bat.
Now that you can determine the comfort, balance, and weight of your perfect softball bat you can up your game in no time. Remember, protect your investment - the better softball equipment you have, the better you will be. So, break it in, get game ready, and hit a home run.