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Softball Bats are designed for play in either Slowpitch Softball or Fastpitch Softball. Both Fastpitch Bats and Slowpitch Bats come in a 2 1/4" barrel diameter and are made from composite or aluminum alloy. There are several softball associations that govern play, like NSA, ISF, ISA and Senior Softball, but most softball players need either ASA Softball Bats or USSSA Softball Bats.
Every softball player understands the main purpose of a quality softball bat – to safely reach first base. While swinging a bat might seem second nature to most athletes, picking out the perfect softball bat is an involved process. With recent advancements in technology, and the craftsmanship of using different materials and designs, the player has a lot of variety to select from -- for both slowpitch and fastpitch softball bats.
There are bats made specifically to increase efficiency, along with bat speed. Most of these are made out of materials built for durability. Most likely, it will be the athlete’s personal preference that will be the main component when reaching a decision. However, there are outside factors that can also play a part.
Making the Selection
Of the huge number of softball bats available, it is easy to spend far more than what has been budgeted. Softball bats are sold in a variety of price ranges from $20 or more, and well up into the hundreds of dollars for a single bat. Likely, the athlete will need to restrict their options in an effort to make the selection process easier.
The length of the bat that is ideal for the athlete is typically determined by their weight and height. Online websites usually offer a weight and height chart along with the suggested lengths for bats.
The player will need to make a few decisions, including the type of material used to manufacture the bat. They are offered in wood, composites of titanium/graphite, and aluminum. Aluminum bats tend to be significantly lighter than those manufactured out of wood. Traditionally, aluminum tends to be the most popular choice, probably based on its price.
Analyzing the Player’s Skills
Every athlete is different. Because of that, they will need to analyze exactly how they swing the bat. If they are a heavy hitter, swing for the fences, or involved in a fast pitch softball league, then a wider barrel will likely produce more quality results. However, if the athlete is interested more in generating single or double hits, then using a light bat of a standard diameter typically produces the desirable results.
The specific handle on the bat also plays a key factor in the decision process. Those that are crafted with a cushioned or rubber grip will usually reduce the amount of impact when the bat connects with the ball. Thin handle bats with leather grips tend to absorb less shock.
Picking out the perfect softball bat is a simple process of using the chart pictured, analyzing the athlete’s skills, and choosing one that has the perfect grip.