No matter your age or sport, getting new equipment adds to the excitement prior to the season starting. With a competitive sport like fastpitch softball, making sure your equipment enhances your game-day performance is key. One of the most important pieces of softball equipment is your fastpitch softball bat, but with league regulations, drop weight, and length to consider, selecting the right size fastpitch softball bat can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the sport. Read on to learn more about the basics of how to choose a fastpitch softball bat.
Fastpitch Softball Bat League Regulations
If your player is six years old or younger, they will start learning the skills of softball by using a tee ball bat. A tee ball bat is designed specifically to hit from a tee.
As your player gets older, you’ll want to pay attention to the stamp on the softball bat. There are two safety standards a fastpitch bat needs to meet in order to be considered a USA (ASA) or USSSA fastpitch bat. You’ll notice that many fastpitch bats are dual stamped meaning that they are both ASA and USSSA approved. With different changes in fastpitch regulations, it’s always a good idea to reach out to the coach or another league official to know exactly which fastpitch bat will meet your league’s standards.
Measuring for a Fastpitch Softball Bat
Softball Bat Drop Weight
After figuring out your league’s regulations, knowing the drop weight that’s ideal for you or your player is the next step in determining which fastpitch bat is best. Unlike baseball, softball has less league restrictions regarding drop weight, so if you’re able to handle a heavier softball bat, you’ll be able to hit the softball faster and farther through improved exit velocity.
To determine a softball bat’s drop weight, you take the length minus the weight. For example, a 30-inch softball bat that weighs 20-ounces would have a drop of 10. Whether you’re shopping online or browsing in a store, you’ll see the drop weight indicated like this (-10). The higher the number, the lighter the softball bat. There are different factors that play into which drop weight works best for a player including the player’s height and weight as well as their strength and skills.
To find out which drop weight you’re able to control, use the following two tests:
Multiple Swings: Swing your softball bat multiple times in a row. If your arms feel tired and the bat feels heavy, you’ll want to try the next highest drop weight.
Extended Hold: Hold your softball bat horizontally away from your body. If you can maintain this position for 45 seconds, this could be a good drop weight for you.
Balanced vs. End Loaded Bats
When selecting a new fastpitch bat, also consider the difference between a balanced bat and end loaded bat. A balanced softball bat has an even weight distribution from the knob to the end cap, making it easier to control and a great option for contact hitters. An end loaded softball bat places more weight on the barrel, making it ideal for power hitters.
Softball Bat Length
Fastpitch softball bats vary in length from 28 to 34 inches. Finding the right length of bat comes down to plate coverage. When you consider your stance and swing in connection with bat length, you’ll find the best length to optimize your swing. Use the softball bat size chart below to give you a starting point in selecting your fastpitch bat length. Aside from using this softball bat size chart, it’s a good idea to swing bats at different lengths with your ideal drop weight in order to figure out which option feels best.