How Do I Choose a Slowpitch Softball Bat? Lets Break it Down.
Finding a Slow Pitch Softball Bat can be a task given all the options. Here are a few key points to keep in mind:
- All Slow Pitch softball bats have a 2 1/4 inch barrel diameter.
- Most models come in 26 oz., 27 oz., 28 oz., and 30 oz.
- Bigger players looking to swing for the fence should look for a bat in the 28 oz to 30 oz range.
- Smaller or average sized players or those looking for more bat speed should use a bat in the 25 to 27 oz. range.
- Slow Pitch bats are 34 inches long and weigh from 26 - 30 ounces.
Making sure your bat meets your league or tournament rules is important, so be sure to check your league's listings to see what specs are necessary. There are many different sanctioned leagues such as ASA, USSSA, NSA, and Senior League Softball.
Choosing the Right Slow Pitch Bat: Balanced vs. End Loaded
Slow Pitch softball bats are designed in two distinct weights: Balanced and End Loaded. Players looking to generate as much bat speed possible will be best suited to a balanced model.
Contact hitters, also known as “base hitters," typically choose balanced models for a smoother swing and more bat control. With their weight distributed evenly throughout the bat, balanced models feature a lower MOI (Moment of Inertia) than end loaded models. The lower the MOI, the faster the bat can be swung.
- Balanced bats total weight is evenly distributed throughout the bat's length from knob to end cap.
If a player can generate high swing speeds already, they may benefit more from a end loaded bat. With more weight oriented toward the end of the barrel, and combined with high swing speeds, end loaded bats result in more distance on contact. This design is the preferred choice for most power hitters. End loaded bats typically have either a 0.5 oz. or 1 oz. load in the barrel. Some End Loaded Bats may have up to 3 oz toward the end of the barrel for even more whip through the zone.
- End loaded bats have weight oriented toward the end of the bat.
- End loaded bats have extra mass in the barrel, so a player can generate more momentum through their swing for more distance on contact.
Your Slow Pitch Softball Bat selection comes down to what you’re comfortable swinging. HB Sports recommends assessing your swing during a few rounds of batting practice.
ASA Slowpitch Softball Bat Standards
As of 2013, the Amateur Softball Association introduced a new certification stamp and a new softball. Bats that carry this stamp are designed to hit .52 COR 300 Compression softballs. ASA created these new softballs to enhance player safety on the field. These softballs are bouncier than the previous ASA balls and are mandatory for ASA softball sanctioned events. Softball bats with the old ASA marks from 2000 and 2004 are no longer legal other then in Outlaw Leagues or some WSL Events.
- Altered Slow Pitch softball bats can result in a ban of 2-5 years from ASA Sanctioned events and are not returnable under Manufacturer Warranties.
- ASA Models are designed to hit the 52/300 Softball, hitting other balls is not recommended and may result in broken composite, or damaged bats.
If you’re not sure which softball bat, particularly ASA bat is approved for your league, feel free to contact us at anytime. We will do our best to find your sanctioning, and get you the bat you need! You can also check the ASA Rule Book Page for more information from USA Softball.
USSSA and NSA Bat Standards for Slow Pitch
As of 2013 bats used in USSSA Slowpitch Softball Leagues must carry the new United States Specialty Sports Association USSSA “thumbprint” stamp. USSSA had changed their testing standard for sanctioned events, which is why the new stamp was created. National Softball Association NSA, also requires slow pitch bats to carry their stamp, but most bats that have USSSA stamp will also have the NSA stamp.
- Softball bats with the old USSSA stamp are no longer approved for USSSA sanctioned events.
- Heavily damanged, dented, or roughed up bats may not be allowed for game-use, umpires and tournaments directors have the right to make this call in game.
- Altered USSSA and NSA Modeled Slow Pitch softball bats can result in a ban of 2-5 years from ASA Sanctioned events and are not returnable under Manufacturer Warranties.
If you’re not sure which softball bat, particularly USSSA or NSA bat is approved for your league, feel free to contact us at anytime. We will do our best to find your sanctioning, and get you the bat you need! You can also check the USSSA New Bat Guideline Page, or NSA Rule Book Page for more information from USA Softball.
SSUSA Slow Pitch Bat Standards
Senior Softball USA SSSUSA requires that a bat carries a BPF (Bat Performance Factor) stamp of 1.21 and under. If a bat is labeled “Official Softball," it is likely approved for these leagues as well.
- If a softball bat exceeds the 1.21 BPF rating, it will not be allowed in the SSUSA and will be removed from sanctioned events.
- If a bat is dented, cracked, or shows a lot of wear, the softball bat will not be allowed in sanctioned events.
- Altered SSUSA Modeled Slow Pitch softball bats can result in a ban of 2-5 years from ASA Sanctioned events and are not returnable under Manufacturer Warranties.
If you’re not sure which softball bat, particularly SSUSA bat is approved for your league, feel free to contact us at anytime. We will do our best to find your sanctioning, and get you the bat you need! You can also check the Senior Softball Association Rule Book Page for more information and regulations.
- Christopher Bastien