How to choose a slowpitch softball bat

With hundreds of different bat designs, different materials, different weights and different prices, choosing the best bat can often be a confusing task.  We hope to clear this up by explaining the main choices in slowpitch softball bat selection.

Choice #1:  Wood, Aluminum (Metal) or Composite

While wood bats are very common in baseball, they are not as popular in slowpitch softball.  The most common materials are Aluminum and Composites.

Aluminum Bats:

Aluminum is the more traditional bat material.  These bats consist of thin sheets of aluminum alloy.  There are 2 kinds of aluminum bats which in regards to the thinness of the metal.

Choice #2:  Single Wall or Multi Wall

Single Wall:  These bats are made with a thin layer of aluminum.  Because of the thinness in the metal, the act of hitting the ball produces a trampoline effect.  These bats tend to be very economical.  Typically, these bats are heavier and less effective.

Multi Wall:  These bats have more layers of metal which provide more spring action and a higher trampoline effect.  These bats are typically more durable.  Many players can hit the ball farther with these types of bats.  Verify with your league to make sure these types of bats are allowed.

Composite Bats:

Composite bats utilize the latest technology and materials (mixtures of carbon fiber, fiberglass, graphite and other materials) to create a very sturdy bat that is very responsive to hitting the ball.  Because these materials are very light weight, weight is added to the bat.

Choice #3: End Loaded or Balanced

Balanced Bats:  If the weight is evenly distributed throughout the bat, this is referred to as “Balanced”.  These bats are typically easier to swing.  Most players tend to prefer these bats.  Being that it’s easier to get a full swing, even average players can make great contact with the ball.

End Loaded Bats:  If the majority of the weight is placed near the end of the bat, this is referred to as “End Loaded”.  Sluggers typically do well with these types of bats.  These bats are great for stronger players who can swing fast with a heavier bat.  The heavier bat puts more power behind the ball.

Choice #4: One-Piece or Two-Piece

One-piece bats are made with the same material throughout the bat.  This allows for the bat to be stronger with less flex.

Two- piece bats consist of different materials in the handle and in the barrel.  These bats have increased flexibility with a higher trampoline effect.  Most composite bats are two-piece.

Legality:  Once you found your ideal bat, don’t forget to verify which bats are legal in your league.

We hope that this quick summary will help you to make a more educated decision.  If you’re still unsure, we suggest trying out some different types of bats at your next practice or game.  Once you find your favorite, check out some of the latest and greatest models in that bat design.

Kevin Eaton
 

Keavin Eaton lives with his wife and two boys in New Orleans, LA. He has a bachelor’s degree in Phys Ed from the University of New Orleans and a Master’s degree in Kinesiology from the Louisiana State University. As an athlete, Kevin competed in many sports including wrestling, rowing, speed skating and bobsleigh before finding skeleton. Opinions expressed by Kevin on Play Famously are his own.

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