Slow pitch softball bats are typically used in softball games involving slow pitch speeds. The speed of the ball in slow pitch games normally does not exceed 25 mph. Consequently, the slow pitch bats are specifically designed for such games.
They usually come with a 2 ¼ inch diameter and are 34” in length on average. Different slow pitch bats may vary in weight and a player can choose a heavy or light slow pitch bat depending on his or her preference. Similarly, slow pitch bats are also available in a wide variety of materials including wood, aluminum and composite.
Each of these materials have their pros and cons. A wise way of finding the right bat is for the player to be aware of his or her own batting needs and then to be aware of the many available options.This is why picking the right slow pitch softball bat is a fairly thorough task. To make the right choice, read through the following sections.
Finding the right weight
The weight of the slow pitch bats ranges between 26 ounces and 30 ounces. Since the length of all slow pitch bats is nearly the same, weight plays a decisive factor in differentiating them. Differences in weight also prove critical during in-game hitting. A lighter bat is easier to swing and can be swung with lightning-fast speeds. But it lacks the sheer force of impact that a more weighty stick can offer.
Light-weight bats are well suited for such players who know that they can physically provide the strength needed to hit the ball hard enough. Weightiest bats, on the other hand, offer a solid force upon impact but they are slower to swing due to their heavier design. These are more suited for such players who need extra solidity in their bat in order to hit strong enough.
Balanced vs End-loaded
In terms of the overall balance of the bat, there are two types of slow pitch softball bats, namely balanced bats and end-loaded bats. End-loaded bats are slightly imbalanced in favor of the barrel so that the natural incline of the bat is towards the barrel.
This often helps the player swing the bat with greater speed and more force of impact. But using an end-loaded bat expertly requires practice since their swinging angle can be unexpected for new players. This can result in many mishits because players are unable to predict the sweet spot when tackling the end-loaded swing.
So end-loaded bats are generally more suitable for advanced, more expert players. Balanced bats, in contrast, come with a weight evenly distributed along the bat so that they are very smooth to swing. The swinging angle of a balanced bat is quite predictable and such bats are easy to master. For players, it is easier to hit the ball with the sweet spot of a bat when using a balanced stick.
Alloy vs Composite
Two major materials used in the construction of slow pitch softball bats are alloy and composite. Alloy bats are usually made from aluminum or a mixed alloy including aluminum. These bats are generally more light-weight, come with single-walled barrels and carry a stiff overall design.
The redeeming points of an alloy bats is that it is easier and quicker to swing and the trampoline effect on the barrel is good. The stiffness also adds more impact to the bat’s barrel. The downside of alloy bats is that they are less durable over multiple seasons and may get damaged easily. Also, these bats do not offer as much trampoline effect as top composite bats.
Composite bats, in comparison to alloy bats, carry a more flexible design. They generally come with multi-walled barrels which adds a lot of trampoline effect to them.
The flexible design, usually a result of two-piece construction, adds a whip effect to the swing of a composite bat, adding more impact to the hit. In terms of performance, composite bats usually outdo alloy bats but different players may prefer different materials.
You should test out slow pitch bats made from both of these materials and only then decide the one that suits you.
Different softball leagues require different certifications for the bats to be used in their matches.
ASA, for example, requires players to use only such bats in ASA matches which carry an ASA certification. For slow pitch softball bats, this includes only such bats which are suitable for use against .52 COR 300 Compression softballs and carry an ASA stamp on the bat itself.
Like ASA, other leagues such as NSA, ISA, USSSA and ISF have their own certification requirements for the slow pitch bats used in their league matches. So before purchasing a bat, the player should be well aware of the leagues in which he or she will be using the bat.
Once the player has this information, he or she can then purchase a slow pitch with the relevant certification stamped on it.