What are the best fastpitch softball bats? How long should the bat be? Is my bat too heavy or too light? These and other questions that might pop into your head are the key to finding your ideal bat is choosing the perfect size and weight that suits your game.
Let’s start with some basic technical information
Fastpitch bats are generally 26 to 32 inches in length for younger players. High school or older players normally use fast pitch bats that are 30 to 34 inches long and have a drop weight value, ranging from 8 to -13.
The term drop weight value may sound complicated but it’s really very simple. The drop weight value of a bat indicates the length to weight ratio. This concept is not difficult to understand. All you have to do is weigh your bat and then subtract the length to get the number. For example: Let’s say your fastpitch softball bat weighs 24 ounces and is 34 inches long, its drop weight will then be 24-34, which equals -10.
Fastpitch softball bats are made of aluminum as well as composite materials. As for aluminum, or alloy bats, most are made from aircraft grade aluminum and variations in the alloy formula resulting in stronger alloy, has allowed manufacturers to design bats with thinner walls, hence lighter weight. Thin walls also contribute to rebound, or the “trampoline” effect when the bat strikes the ball. This effect enhances the power, thus, the distance, given the same swing speed.
These stronger or advanced alloys are marketed under different brand names by different manufacturers like Easton, DeMarini, Miken and Rip-It to name a few. You can be sure if a bat is made of advanced alloy, it will be called out by the manufacturer somewhere on the bat or in the specs. On the other hand, bats -11 or lighter that don’t state the type of alloy used will probably be made of an alloy too weak to support the thinner wall. Beware of these bats. They can be easily dented, even in warm weather and even unsafe. Beyond standard aircraft aluminum, there are many good grades of alloy that determine strength and durability.
Composite bats consist of glass, carbon and Kevlar fibers molded together. They are designed to a different strength and stiffness than aluminum or wood bats. There may be some great wood fastpitch softball bats out there, but you should probably go with alloy or composite over wood because wood typically doesn’t have as much pop as alloy or composite. Both alloy and composite bats are hollow which results in the barrel “squishing” during impact with the ball, or what is known as the trampoline effect. The barrel acts as a spring, storing some of the energy, which would otherwise have gone into compressing the ball. As the bat barrel expands it returns most of its stored energy to the ball and the resulting ball speed can be significantly higher than it would have been for a wood bat, which does not have a trampoline effect.
Is my bat of choice certified
Most bats come with an ASA stamp, which shows that they are certified for league play. Moreover, ASA stamped bats are acceptable in almost all leagues. There are a number of different sanction leagues such as ASA, NSA, ISA and USSSA and your bat needs to fulfill their rules before you can play in their league with your bat.
Believe it or not, most beginners pick a fastpitch bat because of its color. Just because a bat matches your uniform or is your favorite color, doesn’t mean it is the best for you. So, choose a fastpitch softball bat based on performance to play your best game.
The worst mistake is to choose the same bat that your teammates prefer. Just because every other player on your team is swinging that bat, it doesn’t mean it is the right one for you. You should try a few bats and then select one that is best in your hands. Don’t jump to conclusions; take your time, try out a few choices, after all no one else is as concerned about your game as you are.
Another thing to avoid at all costs is choosing a bat that’s too heavy. You cannot swing a too heavy bat “quick and fast”. It will slow your swing down and you may even hurt yourself.
So, remember these simple three points when choosing fastpitch bats:
1) Not too heavy – pick the right weight for your swing
2) Not everybody else’s bat – don’t be an “accidental” hitter
3) Performance over color – even if it clashes!
If you keep these little things in mind, you’ll pick a fastpitch bat that performs the best for your game and results in a higher batting average. Call us at Cheapbats and we will help you pick out the perfect fastpitch baseball bat!