Fastpitch and slowpitch softball have their differences not only in the rules of the game but also in the equipment, mainly the bats. The nature of these two types of softball determines a lot about the differences between bats, as fastpitch is a much faster game than slowpitch.
While bats have similarities, their differences are more significant. Therefore, we are going to discuss them and help you get a better idea of the difference between them.
Let’s start with the weight. Since fastpitch is a faster game and predominantly played by women, the bats are weighing slightly less than the slowpitch ones. Slowpitch bats have a weight range of 26-28 oz, while fastpitch bats weigh from 22 to 25oz.
The length of the bats is one of the more minor differences between the two since they are mostly even in this department. Slowpitch bats are 34 inches long, and so are the fastpitch ones, but they can be a bit shorter, to 30″, which are used by younger players.
Since the softball in fastpitch travels at a much faster speed than the one in slowpitch, fastpitch bats have to be much more durable to withstand the rigors of the game. The difference is mainly in the design of the barrel, as it’s a part of the bat that makes contact with the ball.
While there are also end-loaded and evenly-loaded bats in both versions of softball, slowpitch bats tend to have more weight added towards to end of the barrel so they can generate more power. There are also slowpitch bats that have a supermax load with 1.5oz of extra weight towards the end of the barrel, and that is not the case with fastpitch bats.
In fastpitch, balanced bats are slightly more popular than end-loaded ones and they are used by contact hitters. Power hitters and stronger players prefer end-loaded bats.
Materials used to make slowpitch and fastpitch bats nowadays are mostly composite materials, and brands continuously search for new technologies that make the bats perform better.
Aluminum is used to produce fastpitch bats, and these are mostly one-piece bats used by youth players. Composite bats are used by older and more experienced players, and they are more expensive than aluminum bats.