As a seasoned softball player, I know how picking the right fastpitch bat can be a huge headache. There are so many decisions I have to make, before even picking a brand: Which length to weight ratio is ideal for a short and stocky girl? What bat make-up will give me the best pop? The list goes on and on. If you’re new to the game, here’s a quick run through of the most important things you need to figure out, pre-model decision:
Length and Weight of Bat
See where you land on a sizing chart or if you have some more time to spare, follow these steps from Homerun Monkey.
There are even more variables to consider when trying to pick what your bat is made out of, so I’ve just listed them here, from least expensive to priciest. Obviously, the more you pay, the more durability you get.
I began the sport using an alloy model, because I knew I’d be spending more time practicing, rather than competing. I thus wanted a lighter bat, that’d let me work on my swing and follow-through, without the post-training muscle pain. My current model is a composite – when you’ve been playing for so long, it’s a worthier investment!
The Barrel Size
This will depend on your league’s regulations (see below). I use the diameter which is most widely accepted: 2 ¼ inches.
The League Approval
Whether you’re a member of the ASA, USSA, NSA, or ISA, you’ll have to check your league’s requirements before picking a bat. Justbats.com has a nice article which can help you out here.
One-piece (for strong hitters) or two-piece (for contact hitters)? Balanced-loaded (good for smaller players) or end-loaded (good for players with more power)? The point is, picking the perfect softball bat takes a lot of time and effort!
That’s why finding this article from Bristol Herald Courier was a boon for me. Its portrait of Chilhowie High School’s No. 2 pitcher, Haley Caudill, confirmed which bat I should definitely invest in:
the Louisville Slugger Xeno.
100% composite and enhanced with both IST and S1iD technology, this bat gives me the perfect, balanced swing. Take a look at how it compares to the fastpitch model I was using previously:
|My Bat Before||My Bat Now|
|Model||Miken Freak Black||Louisville Slugger Xeno|
|Approved By||ASA, USSSA, ISA, ISF, NSA||ASA, USSSA, ISA, ISF, NSA|
|Features||Tetra-Core and Sensi-Flex Technology for increased compression||S1iD and iST Technology for improved feel and foregiveness|
When it comes to price, product upgrades, certification, and so on, you can see that both bats are exactly the same. But specs and marketing spiel can only paint you part of the story. After just a week of hitting with my Miken, its spiral split! With the Xeno, durability has not been an issue – I’ve been swinging it for over two months now, and it’s just as reliable as it was when I pulled it out fresh from the package. So if you’re tired of going through all the softball bats that are out there and want to skip ahead to actually holding one which will give you fantastic pop after fantastic pop, then get your Louisville Slugger Xeno today!