Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the options when shopping for equipment? Bats, especially, come with so many options, and at such a high cost! ONE Softball is here to help simplify things for you, and in this article we talk about the ins and outs of finding a good bat for your player.
Choosing a bat is a subjective thing, and as a ball player, we often feel like our bat and glove are an extension of ourselves. Therefore, choosing the “right” equipment isn’t always an easy answer. The mental perception of one bat compared to another can be just as powerful as how good one bat is on paper. Softball can be a superstitious game, so if your daughter is obsessing over that $400 bat with the custom graphics, it very well could help her performance on the field. Sorry, Mom and Dad. That does not mean that you must buy it, but you should value the “feels good” mental impact.
What really differentiates one bat from the next?
In general, not that much. While bats don’t differ in performance, they do differ in what is technically called the moment of inertia (MOI) or, more popularly, “swing weight.” Bats that are advertised as end-loaded have a higher swing weight than those that are balanced. The higher the swing weight, the more difficult the bat is to control and generate bat speed. Therefore, it is recommended to err on the side of a lighter bat. This can become expensive for younger players that are constantly growing so in this case, a set of team bats that are shared can be a great solution.
Bats aren’t like electronics where we must have the latest version to achieve the best performance. In 2013, bat testing procedures and standards were revised in an effort to keep the game safe and reduce injury. Essentially, the rules were changed to ensure all bats pass certification, and cannot exceed the performance limit regardless of how many hits they have on them. This rule reduced the effect of the break-in on the performance of bats. But even though the break-in process is reduced, it still does occur and the performance does increase with the bats use. So hold on to your bat and take a lot of batting practice!
Overall, a bat has to feel good swinging it. If there is a net or even a pitching machine to try before you buy, that is a great option. But in general, if it feels good and is light enough to be able to swing fast without too much effort, then it is probably ok. And, try your friends bats as well! Brand loyalty is a strong influence but sometimes brands that you have never considered can surprise you.
Good luck and happy swinging!