Traits to Weigh in the Purchase of a Slowpitch Softball Bat
Spring is basically here, and with it comes spring training and gearing up for the upcoming baseball and softball seasons. It’s also high time for players to reevaluate their last season’s performance and their old gear. It might be high time to retire a bat that has served you well and graduate to a new slowpitch softball bat that provides enhanced performance.
If you turn to the internet to assist your shopping search, remember that even though you can’t feel or handle a slowpitch softball bat online, you can still make a smart assessment of its features. Here are some of the things that you should consider most heavily in your search.
- Bat material
Bat material is one of the most important factors to consider when selecting a softball bat. Outside of the fact that material may be regulated by your league, it will also heavily impact the bat’s performance.
For example, alloy bats are nearly indestructible. Typically they have smaller sweet spots than well-engineered carbon fiber or composite bats, but they also don’t need to be broken in and they don’t have a fixed “lifespan.”
- Bat stiffness
Bat stiffness is another feature to weigh in the purchase decision-making process. Some bats are made with multi-piece construction which makes them more flexible; more flexible bats will “flex” through the swing, enabling the batter to compound power and potentially even to marginally increase bat speed.
However, single-piece and very stiff bats typically provide better feedback through the handle and are also engineered for precision. With less flex through the swing, you can really control it down to a very fine degree.
- Vibration dampening features
On the topic of stiffness, you should also give some serious consideration to the vibration dampening features of a softball bat. They can affect the bat in a variety of ways.
For one thing, a bat with no vibration dampening features may result in very painful feedback from mishits when you connect poorly with the ball. Some players hate this, and vibration dampening technology increases the comfort of using a bat.
Conversely, those features have the potential to diminish positive feedback that tells the batter how the swing can be improved. It’s a tradeoff; you need to know your skillset inside and out in order to choose the best one.
- Barrel compressibility
Barrel compressibility is also a significant trait that impacts bat performance factor, or BPF, which is used to qualify and assess bat performance. The higher the BPF, the more energy the bat will “rebound” into the pitched ball, resulting in much better performance.
In baseball and softball, this is called the trampoline effect and is one of the key attributes players look for in a bat. Power hitters will get a lot from a bat with a higher trampoline effect that comes from higher compressibility.
- End cap design
The end cap design of a bat is also going to affect the perceived swing weight of the bat, as well as its maneuverability. Believe it or not, a feature as seemingly innocuous as an end cap can make a bat feel either lighter or heavier, which is the very reason so many bat manufacturers put so many resources into designing and developing new ones every season. Listen to what they have to say; it can help your game.
- Weight - but most importantly, weight drop
Finally, the weight of the bat will impact how much power you can throw into it through the swing. Measured in ounces, weight is easy enough to ascertain. Weight drop, however, is arguably more important.
This is the difference between the bat’s length in inches and weight in ounces, and gives a measurement of how heavy the bat “feels.” A bat that feels heavier is called an end-loaded bat and will enable hitters to power the swing more heavily. Conversely, a bat with a higher weight drop (which will feel lighter) is called a balanced bat and is easier to swing with greater precision and control.
Are these the only traits you should be considering in a slowpitch softball bat before you make a purchase? Absolutely not; they are only a small subset of the features that make up a whole bat. Among other things, you should also consider if the bat is sized and weighted appropriately to the player and if it is legal for play according to the body that governs the league.
As you can see, it’s no short list. There’s a lot to consider, and since the bat is one of the most essential pieces of equipment that a player can carry onto the field, it’s worth it to take your time and choose one that’s well suited to your needs.
Feel free to look through our collection of slow pitch softball bats on your own, but if you have any questions about certification stamps, compliance, or other features, give us a call at 1-888-540-BATS and we’ll be sure to put you on the right track.
- Blog Admin