By: Hannah Gliedman
One of the most important parts of softball is hitting. A good hitter is what makes a team gain points and win games. For a swing, speed is the most important thing. Being able to time a pitch to hit it in the strike zone, and generating enough speed to drive the ball, is what creates a good hitter.
Normally, when buying a bat whilst in high school, you don’t only have to think of what bat, but also what size and weight of bat. A general rule is that from ages 13-15, bat length should be about 31-32 inches.
Once players reach ages 16+ a bat like 33-34 inches is good. The USSSA prohibits bats over 34 inches.
A test to see if the bat is the right size is to hold the bat where the knob is in the center of your chest. If you can reach the end of the bat with your fingertips, it’s the correct size.
One thing to note is the diameter of the barrel. Most fast-pitch bats have a barrel of 2 3⁄4 inches. and standard bats are 2 1⁄2 inches. Having a bigger barrel creates a bigger sweet spot, meaning more pitches are likely to result in bigger hits; however, a bigger barrel creates a heavier bat. For players desiring a faster swing, a bigger barrel might not be right.
As for the weight of the bat, Worth Sports created a chart that shows the best weight of the bat for players:
The USSSA prohibits bats over 31.5 oz, this includes tape and grip additions.
Finding the proper weight is extremely important to creating power and hitting hard. Finding the sweet spot between a too heavy or too light bat is critical. If a bat is too heavy, the player won’t be able to generate speed and won’t be able to hit pitches in motion whilst in the strike zone.
On the opposite side, if a bat is too light, the player will open up too early in the pitch, which can cause players to top the ball.
A simple way to find the right weight for your bat is to extend your arm out and hold the bat straight out. Hold it there for 20 seconds, if you can’t, the bat is too heavy. However, if it’s too easy the bat might be too light.
If there is a choice between a too heavy and a too light bat, skew on the side of a lighter bat.
Last thing to note, is to make sure the bat is USSSA approved before you buy it.