“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.
How long is too long?
There isn’t a universal method to measure how long a bat should be. Having a player stand a bat on end and measure where it meets her hands just doesn’t hold up to logic.
What’s a very tall player supposed to do? There aren’t any bats that long.
Many people think a longer bat gives you better leverage or more plate coverage. At face value, both of these assumptions are true. However, like many other things, there are qualifiers. And, just like our discussion on bat weight, there are trade offs to every decision.
The area of the bat we really want to hit with, the SWEET SPOT, is about the same size no matter how long the barrel is. Physics does tell us that a longer lever is a better tool. But when the lever becomes too long, it becomes difficult to use.
Using a bat that’s too long makes it more difficult for a player to hit the ball on the sweet spot.
The assumption that bat length equals better plate coverage is also questionable. Plate coverage can and should be gained through proper technique more than from a longer barrel. But even a player with flaws in their swing can find the best length to use.
Here is a very simple test to see if the bat your player is using is correct:
Stand where you would normally stand at home plate. Then using a tee, test the three main contact points, inside, middle and outside. If you see a player having to over extend or reach to make contact in any of the three contact points then the bat they are using is probably too short.
Conversely, if they are having difficulty getting the sweet spot of the bat to the ball (jamming themselves), then they may have a bat that is a too long.