Before your season starts, there are three things to consider when choosing a softball bat: length, weight and drop.
All of these can affect your swing, so be sure to know how and what to look for in each design.
Just like finding the right size glove and cleats are essential, finding the right length softball bat is also important. There are three ways to measure whether a bat is the right length:
- Place the bat knob at the center of your chest and extend the barrel out toward your fingertips. If you can touch the end of the bat with your fingertips, the bat is an appropriate size.
- Place the bottom knob of the bat in the center of your chest facing outward. If you are able to reach out and grab the barrel of the bat, then it is an appropriate length.
- Stand the bat up vertically against your leg. If the bat reaches your mid-hip, it should be a suitable length.
Bat weight can vary among models, and it’s really up to your preferences. If you’re a stronger player, you can probably get away with swinging a heavier bat. If you want a little quicker swing, maybe drop a few ounces. Ultimately, though, you want to keep your swing as level as possible.
An all-too-common problem with younger players is that they try to swing too heavy of a softball bat. This causes their hands to drop during their swing and reduced the effectiveness.
A good test to see if you can handle a certain bat weight is to hold the bat in one hand, with your arm extended to your side for 30 seconds. If you can keep the bat extended without dropping it, you should be able to properly swing that weight.
If you do not have a bat handy, you can substitute with either a can of beans or four sticks of butter. These will mimic a bat with a -10 drop, and while the physics won’t be absolutely identical, it is still a good indication as to whether or not you can handle that weight.
The drop is the difference between length and weight. A bat with a smaller drop will indicate a heavier bat, which may be too much to handle at the plate. Take your length and weight numbers from before and try to find a bat with similar measurements to fit your needs.
Finally, take your budget into consideration when purchasing a youth softball bat. If your child is still growing and will ultimately outgrow the bat after a season or two, don’t break the bank. There are a number of options available to fit every budget without sacrificing performance.
Finding the right softball bat could help enhance your at-bat performance. Keeping these tips in mind can help in making sure the bat you choose will be a home run.