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The type of bat you’re hitting with can have a serious impact on your performance. The best way to increase control, distance and feel of your hits? Pick the best wood or metal bat type for your body type and swing style.
Adult Baseball Bat Types
Major league baseball players only play with bats made from wood and most college level and adult baseball players are required to play with wood as well. Back in the day, hickory was the go-to material for bats but manufacturers like Rawlings, Louisville Slugger and Marucci have changed the game by introducing woods that are denser, feel more natural and provide more power than ever.
Maple bats are an easy choice for pros looking to add an extra advantage to their at-bat performance as well as some beginners making the switch from metal bats to wood. Maple is considered heavier and firmer than other wood types, meaning these bats are designed to provide excellent energy transfer from ball to bat, creating a nice ‘pop’ off the bat and adding extra distance on well-hit pitches. Some batters note the natural feel of maple bats while others praise the extra power they find.
Some ball players find ash bats easier to hit with because of the increased size of the ‘sweet spot’. Major leaguers have been playing with ash bats since the early days of the game and it’s still a popular choice among many athletes today thanks to its flexible feel upon contact. Known to produce a ‘trampoline effect’, this springy bat type is an excellent choice for your first wood bat.
Many players see birch as the best of both worlds. It’s lighter than a maple bat but heavier than an ash bat while still providing a degree of flex which produces a nice whipping sensation when contact is made. More durable than other wood types, birch bats are designed to last for a number of seasons but they also require a short break-in period before they’ll perform at their best.
Adult Softball Bat Types
Softball bats utilize more forgiving materials like aluminum and other metals rather than wood to increase the amount of contact you make with the ball and maximize the distance of your hit. To choose the best bat material for your swing style and body type, consider which features are most important to you and will complement and enhance your next at-bat. Industry leading brands including Demarini and Worth have advanced slo-pitch bat design by introducing hybrid designs and integrating lighter handle materials that produce greater ‘whip’ in your swing.
Aluminum softball bats are the most prevalent type of bat played with in adult leagues as well as youth leagues. They’re generally less expensive than composite bats but still provide a natural feel, are lightweight, and produce a fair amount of pop. Because they’re light, easy to handle and somewhat flexible, aluminum bats allow even lighter batters to increase the amount of whip in their swing, which can have a dramatic effect on velocity and distance. Aluminum bats don’t require any breaking in and are designed to last for many seasons.
Composite softball bats tend to be more expensive than aluminum bats but the increase in performance is well worth it for players looking to maximize their effectiveness at the plate. Made from materials similar to carbon fibre, composite bats are more lightweight, provide excellent whip in your swing, and produce a distance-maximizing pop off the barrel. You’ll also find these bats are highly forgiving in a miss hit, reducing sting when the ball makes contact with the handle of the bat, and composite bats have a larger-than-average sweet spot.