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How To Choose A Softball Bat

Apr 25, 2008
If you can hit the ball, the coach will find some place you can play. Never stop working on your basic playing skills, but whether or not you are the fastest or most agile person on the team, great hitting skills will make you team's star player.

One key element of becoming a great hitter is choosing the right bat. A good bat won't automatically make you the team's leading hitter, but the wrong bat choice can definitely hold you back from reaching your potential. Choosing a bat is a personal decision.

Modern technology has made it possible for today's player to find a bat that is engineered to enhance your natural performance and can even be specifically tailored to suit your hitting strengths. It is absolutely vital that you pick a bat that fits your unique body type and skill level, adjusted for your height, weight, and hitting strength.

Bat Composition

Bat technology might seem complicated but it's not advanced trigonometry. There are three specific elements to the construction of a bat: barrel size, bat taper and grip.

The barrel is the top part of the bat. Barrel size encompasses both the length of the barrel and its diameter. The longer the barrel of the bat, the larger the "sweet spot" for hitting the ball will be. A standard softball bat is 2 1/2 inches in diameter, while a standard fast pitch softball bat will have a 2 3/4 inch diameter barrel. Many players prefer a smaller barrel in order to have a lighter bat to gain more swing speed.

The bat taper is the diameter of the bat's handle.

Standard bats will be tapered 31/32 of an inch but might be slightly smaller or larger depending on bat weight. Often players prefer using a narrow taper so their bat will be lighter and they can rotate their wrists faster when swinging. The grip is just the covering that bat manufacturers use on the handle of aluminum bats. Leather or synthetic leather makes for a stickier feel making for a surer grip. A rubber grip absorbs more of the shock. Some bats even come with a extra cushioned grip to further absorb the shock.

The Bat Length and Weight

There are guidelines for bat length determined by age range which are suitable places to start for younger players. However, choose a bat length that is based on your individual height and weight.

Softball bat weights are measured in ounces. Bat manufacturers have already balanced each bat's weight and length. Bats are labeled with a weight to length ratio which is designated as -4, -6 etc. For example, a 34 inch bat with a -6 ratio weighs 28 ounces.

The right weight for you depends on two personal factors. Your hitting style and your strength. Personal preference plays a great part in this, and you should consult with your coach or hitting instructor as you make the decision. Generally bigger, stronger players can control a heavier bat to bring more power to their hitting, but some players prefer a lighter bat so they can swing faster.

Different league rules allow different standards for softball bats. These rules can be changed at any moment so you should confirm with your coach and your league that the bat you decide on meets the current specifications. In the meantime, manufacturers have entire teams of engineers developing new models with high tech materials and specifications. Since modern bats will be expensive, remember to check for the latest information at the time you are shopping for your bat.
About the Author
Check out Best Softball Stuff for a great selection of Softball bats and other Softball equipment at the best prices. New and used through all price ranges.
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