How Bat Performance Factor Affects Slow Pitch Softball Bats
The features as well as the performance specifications of a bat are critical to the success of the player. They all come together in a piece of equipment that is either well-suited to an individual; when they aren’t aligned with a player’s needs, they can hinder both performance and confidence.
Consider for example the impact that a vibration-dampening grip can have on a player’s performance and confidence. This is just one small feature that a bat may possess, but any player that has experienced the sting of a painful mishit may acquire the bad habit of flinching before a pitch crosses the plate. This can result in strikes, and, unfortunately, more mishits.
That’s just one small example, but it has impacts on performance as well as confidence. Here we’re going to look at the manner in which the bat performance factor, better known as BPF, impacts the performance of slow pitch softball bats. That being said, the same logic can be applied to both fast pitch and slow pitch softball bats as well as baseball bats.
What is Bat Performance Factor (BPF) and What It Means
First, we need to categorize BPF so that its effects can be better understood. Understanding how bat performance factor works and what it is will also give you a better grasp of concepts like “trampoline effect” as well as the size and orientation of a given bat’s sweet spot.
All bats, whether they are made from wood, a composite material, or an alloy, exhibit compressibility through the barrel. This compressibility helps to absorb and redirect energy from the player’s swing and the pitcher’s pitch back into the ball.
Bat performance factor measures the additional rebound that a bat is able to drive into a ball. To put it into perspective, this is measured against the rebound of a solid wall as a baseline. A BPF of 1 would impart no additional rebound into a ball and it would basically be equivalent to throwing a ball against a wall.
However, if the bat has a BPF of 1.10, that means that the ball would bounce off of the bat with the same amount of redirected energy as a solid wall, plus 10% additional energy. Therefore, a ball would bounce “harder” off of a BPF with 1.10 than off of a bat with 1.10.
The takeaway here is that the higher the bat performance factor, the more energy a bat can redirect into a ball. A bat with a BPF, for example, of 1.5 would offer 50% additional bounce over a solid wall. This means that if two identical batters swung with the same power at the same exact pitch with the only difference being that one was swinging a bat with a higher BPF, the hit would be stronger from the bat with the higher BPF and the ball would fly farther.
This makes BPF one of the more significant factors that softball players can weigh in the purchase of a new bat to improve their performance. Along with the vibration dampening features of the bat, the width and construction of the barrel, and the length, weight, and weight drop of the bat, BPF is one of the most significant features for players to consider in the purchase. It will directly affect how much power they can drive into a pitch.
As you can imagine, since the bat performance factor is so heavily implicated in its ability to drive pitches further, it is regulated by governing bodies. For example, the United States Specialty Sports Association, better known as USSSA, sets specific standards for BPF rating. If you see a USSSA slow pitch softball bat, it’s almost certainly set at a BPF of 1.15.
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The key point here is that BPF is heavily implicated in the performance of slowpitch softball bats, and can affect a player’s skills, development and confidence. That being said and out of the way, it is far from the only thing that is regulated by governing bodies and it is not the only feature that players can consider.
Features like weight drop and barrel diameter are also regulated by governing softball leagues, and these will also impact a player’s performance. Whether you’re looking for USSSA, NSA, ASA models, or even BBCOR bats, we have them here at Headbanger Sports and we’ll help you select the perfect one for your game.
You might be a power hitter looking for an end-loaded USSSA approved bat or you might be a Louisville Slugger loyalist with an eye on getting a new, balanced model for the upcoming season, but either way, you’re in good hands with us. We have what you need and we have the expertise to get you there!
Give us a call at 1-888-540-BATS if you have any questions about our models or would like some advice picking out a bat that suits your needs as a player. We’ll be happy to help.
- Blog Admin