There are two varieties of softball; slowpitch and fastpitch. This makes you wonder whether you can use a fastpitch bat for slowpitch and vice versa as the bats are different. The answer to that is quite straightforward, so stick with me, and you’ll learn that and much more!
In general, you can use a fastpitch bat for slowpitch softball; however, it isn’t recommended. You should use the designated bat for slowpitch because fastpitch bats are considerably lighter. Thus, you can’t add as much power to the ball with a fastpitch bat considering the speed of a slowpitch throw.
That being said, you get the best hits with the right bat for the right kind of softball. However, you can still use a fastpitch bat for slowpitch softball if you don’t get separate bats. First, let’s take a closer look at what bats are legal in slowpitch softball.
What Bats are Legal In Slowpitch Softball
There are many softball leagues, but the most common ones are USA Softball (formerly ASA) and the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA). Most softball players play in the Amateur Softball Association league (ASA), and pro players are within the USSSA league. There are certain bat regulations specific for slowpitch softball.
In the USSSA league, a legal slowpitch softball bat needs to have a permanent USSSA mark on its taper or be a wooden bat. In the USAS (formerly ASA) league, a legal slowpitch softball bat needs an ASA 2000 Mark, ASA 2004 Mark, or ASA 2013 Mark.
That being said, there aren’t any regulations that you can’t use a fastpitch bat for slowpitch softball, even in league play.
Now, please look at why it isn’t recommended that you do so even when you can.
Difference Between Slowpitch and Fastpitch Bats
Most of the differences between slowpitch and fastpitch bats come from the weight and size, which shows in the performance side of things. So, let’s start by comparing these two from the most drastic differential, the weight.
1. Bat weight
As discussed, slowpitch softball bats are heavier than fastpitch bats. Depending on the exact bats being compared, the weight difference can be minimal or drastic.
Here are the weight ranges for both types of bats:
- Slowpitch softball weight range: 26-30oz (737-850g)
- Fastpitch softball weight range: 15-26oz (425-737g).
As you can see, both slowpitch and fastpitch bats can weigh 26oucnes (737grams). This would make it insignificant whether bat you decide to play softball with.
However, if you compare a softball bat weighing 30ounces (850 grams) to a fastpitch bat weighing 15ounces (425 grams), the difference would be massive as it would take the same strength to swing one slowpitch bat and two fastpitch bats.
Keep this in mind when deciding whether to use a fastpitch bat for slowpitch softball.
The reason why slowpitch bats are heavier than fastpitch bats is because of the pitching speed of the game.
Generally, a slowpitch throw travels at the speed of 25mph (40kph). The pitcher uses a windmill motion in fastpitch, resulting in an average pitch speed of 50-60mph (80-97kph).
This means that in slowpitch, the batter has much more time to swing the ball so that the bat can be heavier. In fact, the bat needs to be heavier as the ball doesen’t help with the swing power as much as it does in fastpitch softball.
2. Bat lenght
Fastpitch bats, as well as baseball bats, are measured by the drop weight. This means the separation between the length and weight of the bat.
For example, if a bat is 34 inches (86cm) long and has a drop weight of (-10), the bat weighs 24 ounces (680grams). Note that the drop weight is only measured in inches and ounces.
So when you see bats that are equal in length, but the other one has a larger drop weight, it means that it weighs less. It’s very important to look at the drop weight in addition to the bat length so you will get the full idea of what the bat will be like.
3. Bat performance
So, how do these two different types of softball bats differ by performance?
In short, the heavier the bat (slowpitch), the slower it is to swing, but the more power it can generate. In contrast, the lighter the bat (fastpitch), the faster it is to swing, but the less power it can generate from its weight.
Now, when slowpitch throws are slower, and the bat is heavier, it has a good balance between swing speed and power. The same goes for fastpitch as the bat is lighter, but the pitches are faster, so the power generated is balanced.
If you are changing the balance by using a fastpitch bat in slowpitch, the power you can generate isn’t nearly enough for it. Still, it can be played, but it is far from optimal.
Can You Use a Slowpitch Bat for Fastpitch Softball?
As it is legal to use a fastpitch bat for slowpitch softball, but not recommended, is it the same the other way around?
It is legal to use a slowpitch bat for fastpitch softball; however, this isn’t recommended. This is because the pitcher in a fastpitch throws much faster, meaning that you won’t necessarily have enough time to reach the ball, given that the slowpitch bat can be twice the weight of a fastpitch bat.
Again, it is best to use the right type of bat for the right type of softball, especially if you are playing seriously. If you are playing recreationally, then sure, it doesen’t matter which kind of bat you use for softball.
My Favorite Softball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here are my top softball equipment recommendations that I think will take your game to the next level.
- Bat: My favorite certified fastpitch softball bat is the Easton Ghost. This bat has a double-barrel construction which is incredible if you are looking for a great feel and are a fan of satisfying pop and sound. The handle is a great bonus as it’s great to hold on to and very thin. The technology used for this bat provides great durability and flexibility. This bat comes in various styles and sizes.
- Softball: The best softballs, in my opinion, are the Franklin Sports Official Softballs. These affordable yet official featured balls are perfect for practice if you want to train with a similar ball as in a real game. These balls have the official 12-inch circumference and weight. The yellow color makes it easy to spot, and the flat seams enable minimal air resistance so that they will fly consistently and far.
- Glove: Rawlings Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Glove should be introduced to every softball player. The 12.5″ size makes it a breeze to catch and secure softballs. The glove is very comfortable as it’s made from full-grain leather, and the pull-staps will perfect the fit. The design is breathtaking as well. Be prepared for a little break-in time tho.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.