When it comes to softball, knowing how determining the size of the softball bat is one of the most important things. The bat is obviously a crucial piece of equipment, and it’s all about finding that one bat that is perfect for you. But this can be tougher than it seems. You can’t just go into a store, pick a bat that looks “cool” and buy it. While bat design is a factor (how can you not get a bat with that awesome color and design), it is important to choose a bat that correctly fits your body. There are a few important things to keep in mind while determining the size of a softball bat.
- Height/Weight. The most standard way to determine the size of a softball bat is by your height and weight. Players who stand under four feet tall should use a bat measuring 26 to 29 inches in length. Players between four and five feet will best benefit from a bat length of 29 to 31 inches. Bats that are 31 to 34 inches long should be considered by players who stand five to six feet tall. Any player over six foot should use a bat that is 34 inches long. Although you can also use your age to determine the size of a softball bat, choosing one based on your height and weight is generally a better and more precise method. Being that players of all ages grow at different rates, basing bat length on that aspect only can sometimes be deceiving, especially if a player is farther along on the growth chart than the average player her age. A specific chart including height and weight can found on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website or almost any softball-related website.
- Strength. While bats come in different lengths, they also come in different weights, which is part of the formula to determining the size of the bat. The weight drop of a bat is the difference between the length and the weight. So, if a bat is 34”/24 oz., the weight drop would be a -10. The higher the weight drop, the lighter the bat will be. After selecting the appropriate size, you can check if the weight of the bat is correct for you by doing one short test. Hold the handle of the bat straight out from your side with your dominant hand. Your arm should be parallel to the ground and there should be no bend in the elbow. If you can hold the bat like that for about 25 to 30 seconds without dropping the barrel, then the bat is the correct weight for you.
Here are a few extra things to keep in mind when determining the size of a softball bat:
- A bat that is too heavy will slow down your swing speed, cause you to become unbalanced in your swing, and decrease your ability for bat control.
- A bat that is too light will cause your swing to be too quick (the front shoulder will open up too early and cause you to pull away from the ball).
- Bigger, stronger players should use a heavier bat (to generate more power) while smaller hitters should go lighter for a quicker swing and better bat control.