How to Buy a Slow Pitch Softball Bat

SlowPitchHitting.com - Your Reource for Selecting a Slow Pitch Bat 

When deciding to buy a slow pitch softball bat, there are many things that you may need to consider… bat material, length, weight, weight distribution, and grip.  You then also need to correlate these items to your build and preferences because unfortunately slow pitch bats are not always one size fits all. 

Let’s get into the details a bit to see if we can help demystify the process.

Bat Material
Slow pitch softball bats come basically in two different materials, composite or metal.  There are pros and cons to each, although most bat manufacturers have moved most of their business to using the composite materials for slow pitch.  In general the composites are likely the better choice because of their durability, ability to perform in colder weather and the advancements in composite technology.  We have discussed this in more detail previously

Bat Length
In terms of slow pitch softball, nearly all bats come in a 34-inch length which the maximum length allowed by league rules.  Generally, most slow pitch players don’t need to worry about a shorter bat length unless you are really small and/or not heavy enough to swing the 34-inch bat.  If that is the case, the player could consider choking up on the bat to essentially decrease the bat length.

Bat Weight
Typically bat weights range from 26 ounces to 30 ounces, but you may find some that exceed these standard ranges.  The primary principle behind bat weight is that if a player is able to maintain a constant swing speed while using both a light and heavy bat, then the batted-ball speed will be fastest for the heavier bat. The best results are obtained by swinging a heavier bat faster, but this is something that most average players are not able to do and still maintain control over the bat while swinging it.  If you have to choose, we would recommend using a lighter weight bat because swing speed in slow pitch tends to rule much more than bat weight because the high swing speed is what will flex the walls of the bat at ball-impact, thereby increasing the trampoline effect of the bat wall.

Note: For reference, I am 5’ 11” and 195 pounds.  My best performance comes from using a 26 ounce bat.  I have tried bats up to 28 ounce, but all tend to reduce my swing speed farther than the any benefit derived by the heavier bat.

Weight Distribution
Bats for slow pitch softball come in two different weight distributions: balanced and end-loaded.  These differences in weight distribution can contribute to the feeling of a light or heavy swing weight of the bat.  To get a bit nerdy on you, it really comes down to the location of the balance point (or center-of-mass) and the moment-of-inertia.  Essentially, the concept here is that the way bat weight is distributed along the length of the bat can affect bat swing speed just as significantly as the differing overall bat weights.  The closer the bat's balance point is to the handle, the easier it is to swing and control the bat barrel. 

Consider two bats that are identical in length and both have a 26-ounce weight.  However when you pick them up and swing them, you can clearly differentiate the swing feel between the two.  Bat 1 has a balance point that 23 inches from the handle and Bat 2 has a balance point of 20.5 inches from the end of the handle.  Bat 1 would have a much larger moment of inertia (i.e. hit harder) than Bat 2 if they were swung at the same bat speed.  However, as mentioned previously, the bat with the weight closer to the handle is easier to swing and control.  The bat with the weight further from the handle will be more difficult to control and likely decrease your bat swing speed because of the larger moment of inertia.  Let us reiterate here that bat speed rules in slow pitch because of the high bat speed leads to the trampoline effect of the bat walls when it strikes the ball.

There you have it, if you are a big bruiser and can both swing an end-loaded bat fast and with good control, then that is the weight distribution for you.  Most slow pitch players cannot do that and should use a balanced which will provide them maximum performance.  Personally I prefer a balanced bat.

Grip
The grip bats tend to come in leather or synthetic leather.  Sometimes grips come with cushioning to absorb shock.  Grip selection tends not to be a factor in bat selection, particularly since if you do not like the grip you may replace it with a new one.

-----

There you have it, happy bat hunting! To check out the latest deals on DeMarini bats at the ever-trusted Amazon, click here: DeMarini Bats on Amazon