Speed vs. Control

“What bat should my daughter swing?”

We hear this question almost every day. We also know there’s no shortage of opinions and theories floating around the softball world.

So which is right?

We’re addressing this age-old question with a series of short discussions to help you make an informed decision about what size and weight bat is right for your player.

Which is more important?

This is a legitimate but, in many ways, a trick question. Sort of like “the chicken or the egg?” Both are very important and both have a place in choosing the right bat.

Several factors contribute to bat control. Strength, technique and experience all help a player control her bat effectively and make consistent, solid contact.

All players can improve their bat control through good training and practice.

Choosing a lighter bat will often help a younger or less experienced player make more consistent contact, which, equals bat control.

The lighter the bat, the easier it is for a player to manipulate it, make adjustments and increase contact. However, there is a tradeoff. Typically, it’s a loss of power.

Of course, for beginning players, making contact and putting the ball in play should be the first priority because not hitting the ball isn’t much fun.

Bat speed does become a major concern for players as they develop their skills and become more advanced hitters. My belief, for advancing players, is that no matter how fast your bat speed is, it needs to be faster!

There are many tools and techniques for increasing bat speed.

Common sense would tell us that a heavier bat would be harder to swing fast. This leads us back to an earlier discussion about choosing the heaviest bat you can swing without losing bat speed.

The trick is finding the balance point where the weight of the bat helps to create more momentum and force rather than be too heavy to move.

For most hitters, a drop 10 is great place to start when to try to maximize bat speed. For the more advanced player, we often suggest moving to a drop 9 or drop 8 to help create more bat speed.