For every aspiring hitter, a bat has to be an extension of his/her arm. It is, in fact, one of the most gut-wrenching feeling when you can’t swing the bat gracefully through the air and hit the ball. Or when you don’t get to hear the satisfying ‘pop.’
I remember I had a ton of those days. And, all of this was because I had no idea how to select my bat properly. Bat drop? I had no clue what that was.
Simply put – bat drop is bat length – bat weight. So, when you subtract a bat’s weight from the length, you get the bat drop. And it’s important to understand this because it’ll help you choose a proper softball bat.
My coach would recommend the measures, and I would go to the store with my parents and simply pick one. I had no idea that I could get the same bat drop for different lengths and weights.
Ultimately, it affected my game, and I was never satisfied with my performance. So, to prevent history from repeating itself, I have jotted down some of the information that can help you understand what a weight drop means.
what does the drop weight mean on a softball bat?
The drop weight or bat drop of a softball bat is the ratio of the length of the bat to that of its weight. You can calculate it this way – when you subtract the length of the bat to that of its weight, you get the bat drop.
- Bat length – Bat weight = Bat drop
For example, if a bat is 33inches long and 22 ounces, then the drop weight is -11 or drop 11. Usually, for beginners, the bat drop weight is around -11, -12, or -13. But, at an advanced level, the drop weight gets lower.
Note: A bat that has a drop weight of -5 is heavier than that of one having -10.
How To Determine What Drop Bat for Softball Bats?
Now that you know how the bat drop is calculated, you can see that it depends on two basic factors – the length and weight of the bat. Here’s a little bit of information about the two.
The length of the bat is the distance between the knob and the end cap. The measurements of the softball bats vary between 28 in. to 34 in. When you are wielding a longer bat, you will have a greater reach in hitting the balls that fly on the outer part of the plate.
But here’s where the misconception comes into play. Many think that getting a longer bat is always the better option, but that’s not the case. Using a longer bat means that it will be heavier than a regular one.
And, if the player is not comfortable in using a bat that long, then it will slow down the player and mess up the timing of the swings.
So, the correct bat length depends on three facts-
- the swing of the player
- the stance relative to the plate
- and the plate coverage
The weight of the softball bat is measured in ounces. While there are range of softball bats available, the right weight of a bat depends on these factors-
Each league has its own set of rules that clearly states the weight drop permitted during the game. So, when you are getting a bat to play in the leagues, make sure you double-check the specific standard for drop weight.
If a player is new on the field, then they may prefer a lighter bat for better control over its movement. However, these bats don’t generate much power during impact. So, if a player wants to strike the ball into the deep zone, they will need a heavier bat. Normally, the weight drop for the fastpitch bat is between -8 and -13.
What Does Drop 10 Mean on A Softball Bat?
When the length to weight ratio of a bat is -10, then it is called drop 10. For instance, if the length of the bat is 32 inches and the weight is 22 ounces, then the bat drop will be -10.
What Is the Difference Between Drop 10 And Drop 11 softball Bats?
A softball bat with drop 10 is heavier than that of drop 11. Bats with drop 11 lose most of the striking power during its momentum. But the drop 10 bats hit the balls harder.
What Drop Softball Bat Should I Get?
Before deciding on the drop of the bat, you need to know how to choose the length of it first. Here are a few ways to do so.
Method 1 –
Place the knob of the bat to the middle of your chest and extend it along with your hand. If you can wrap your fingertips around the end cap, then the bat is of the right length.
Method 2 –
Make the bat stand on the ground and place your hand on top of the knob. If the bat is of the right size, then you will be able to gently place your palm on the top face of the knob.
Method 3 –
This is similar to that of Method 1. Place the knob perpendicular to your sternum. Extend your hand. If you can reach your hand out to the barrel, then it’s a good height.
After you have decided on the length, then comes the weight drop. For
- Age 4 – 6: Bat drop between -11 to -13
- Age 7 – 11: Bat drop between -10 to -12
- Age 12 – 14: Bat drop between -10 to -11
- Age 15 and above: Bat drop between -8 to -10
There are a number of governing bodies that have laid down a set of rules and standards for the type of gear that you can use during the game. Each standard by different leagues is unique, and it is necessary for the bat manufacturers to meet the necessary requirements.
The softball bats that receive approval can be identified by the league logo that is printed on them. The leagues adapt their standards according to what appears appropriate for the game. So, the standards can differ from region to region.
You can consult your coach or a league official before purchasing a bat. There are five major league associations -the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), Amateur Softball Association (ASA), National Softball Association (NSA), Independent Softball Association (ISA), and the International Softball Federation (ISF).
A Quick Recommendation of -9, -10, and -11 Softball Bats
If bat drop calculations have you all confused, take a breather. It’s not that complicated. Still, I’m giving you some suggestions on what bat you should get for different drops.
1. Rawlings Mantra Fastpitch Softball Bat Series (Drop 9)
The Rawlings Mantra fastpitch series is one of the latest inspired series that remarkably improves the performance of the player. The series comes in two different weight drops, -9 and -10. Of which, -9 is the heavier bat.
It hits the ball a little harder than the -10. And, it allows the player to produce smooth and powerful swings.
Here is how this particular series performs better than the rest. To get a maximized performance, the bat is designed with a 3-step inner barrel that optimizes its strength.
The equal distribution of the bat’s weight across the length of the barrel gives it a powerful connection through the swing zone.
The external shell of the barrel is 15% thinner and is more flexible. This increases the trampoline effect of the bat. So, whether you are hitting the ball at the barrel or the taper, it can bounce the ball deep into the zone. And, as an added bonus, it produces an explosive sound on contact.
To reduce the vibrations around the grip area, the vibration dampening collar system gets rid of the barrel drag after every hit. And, for the player to feel comfortable and have tack, the bat has a lizard skin grip.
One of the amazing features of this series is that you can install a blast motion sensor that is sold separately. It monitors the performance of the player and gives real-time feedback. It calibrates the analytics without adding any extra weight to the bat. You can easily insert it into the slot available on the top face of the knob.
Moving on to the dimensions and construction of the bat, the Mantra series is available in a patterned combination of light blue and white colors. It is made out of composite material. However, the handle is made out of carbon fiber.
The bat is lightweight. It weighs about 24 ounces. The standard grip size is 1.8mm. And you will get a range of variations in the bat length – 30in.,31in.,32 in, 33in., and 34in.
The bat is approved by different league associations. You can use it to play in ISF, ISA, USSSA, and NSA sanctioned leagues and tournaments.
As you can see, this bat has a number of great features; however, it does not come in cheap. The bat alone costs way over $300.
It is very durable but, at the same time, there are also other bats that are long-lasting as well. So, it comes down to personal preference as well. Still, if you are serious about becoming a fastpitch hard-hitter, you should try this one out.
2. Louisville Slugger LXT Fastpitch Softball Bat (drop 10)
When it comes to fastpitch softball bats, Louisville Slugger has different popular models – RXT X20, and LXT. Each with its own set of uniqueness. All the bats are made out of composite material. But the technology used to design them is what sets them apart.
In the LXT, the PBF technology is used to design the barrel. This makes the softball bat extremely balanced, which comes in handy, especially for those who have trouble holding the bat steady throughout the game. The Slugger is a three-piece design bat. It features a VCX2 connection system. Personally, Here’s the reason why it enhances the responsiveness of the bat.
The VCX2 connection system allows the barrel and the bat to move independently and controls the vibration. The COPA performance end cap coupled with the barrel increases the sweet spots. But in the other versions, the design of the end cap helps in improving the speed and control of the bat.
Yes, while these attributes are important to win the game, having enlarged sweet spots do beat the odds. The handle is also made out of composite material. It is laced with premium LS Pro Comfort Grip that offers a lot of tack. It’s both comfortable, and you can easily maneuver the bat.
3. Easton GHOST Fastpitch Softball bat (drop 11)
When you are deeply invested in the game, spending over $300 behind a bat may be justifiable. But, many a time, that can be a stretch even if you are not living on a budget. So, now I am going to highlight one of the alternatives to the above two high-end bats.
The Easton Ghost bat is a great choice for beginners as it is specifically meant for youth. They can use this model to perfect their stance and swing. When I was a beginner, I had no idea of how to hold the bat right, let alone follow a drill properly. So, I ended up with a lot of broken bats.
Similar to that of the Rawlings 2021 Mantra, the Easton Ghost Fastpitch is also made out of ALX50 military-grade aluminum. It is highly durable and is, therefore, long-lasting. But, here’s the best part – it costs one-tenth the price of the Mantra and the Louisville Slugger.
The diameter of the barrel is 2 ¼ inches. The end cap at the tip of the bat is concave. The handle is ultra-thin 29/32 inches. It is made out of carbon fiber. This material makes it easy for the player to have a good grasp and control of the handle.
Moving on to the grip, it is of a standard size with high tack. And the material is polyurethane. So, with a thin handle, you don’t have to worry about any slippage. The bat itself is ultra-lightweight. It has a length-to-weight ratio of -11. So, you will not feel the brunt of the weight and find it easy to lift. With this, you make more contact with the ball.
The Easton GHOST has six different sizes – 26”/15 oz., 27”/16 oz., 28”/17 oz., 29”/18 oz., 30”/ 19 oz., and 31”/ 20 oz.
This is another advantage of this particular model; you have a range of selections to choose from. It is quite crucial to get the right bat length, and the sad part is that not every model of different brands has a good array of sizes.
Lastly, this bat has received certification from USSSA (fastpitch only), NSA, ISA, USA, and WBSC. You can use this bat in any of the games by the league associations. So, it’s an excellent budget softball bat.
Getting the right gear is the basic 101 for any game. Whether it is softball or baseball, you need to have the right mitts, protective gear, and bat. Without it, you will be in big trouble. And, if you feel it’s right, you can also go for the bats that I have recommended. These are some of the best fastpitch softball bats.
And whenever you feel confused about bat drops, just remember the equation –
- Bat length – Bat weight = Bat drop
You shouldn’t have any trouble calculating the drop once you drill this into your mind. So, there you have it. That’s all from me. Again, I hope this helps. Have a great game!