Choosing the right bat for young players can be a difficult task, whether they’re starting their first softball season, or simply choosing a new bat each year that will support their growing bodies. That’s why we’ve done the research for you, and narrowed it down to the best possible bat you can buy for a young player based on their specific age.
We know how important it is to give your child the best possible chance of success during gameplay, so they can feel confident in themselves and enjoy the game to its fullest.
Use our easy to read guide to choose a bat for your upcoming season, so the only thing you have to worry about is having fun out there on the field.
Choosing a Youth Softball Bat – The Basics
If you want your child to excel at any sport, you first need to provide them with the right equipment. For softball players, gear selection is extremely important because of the many factors in a bat’s design that impact a player’s style and performance.
Your child’s weight, strength, height and speed isn’t exactly the same as their peers. So, the best softball bat for them is likely to be different too. This is why it’s important to consider a bat’s composition before buying it to make sure it’s optimized for your child’s specific needs. For example, soft ball bats are generally heavier and take more energy to swing. With this in mind, are you choosing a bat that’s lightweight enough, and designed for young players with smaller hands to maintain a sturdy grip on the bat? What about making sure the bat you choose is designed to minimize bat vibration and hand sting upon the ball’s impact? And if your child is just starting out and doesn’t yet have the confidence to swing with maximum precision and accuracy, are you choosing a bat that’s specifically designed with a larger “sweet spot”?
Keep reading for some helpful tips on picking the best softball bat for your child’s next game.
1. Look At Recommended Sizes
Head to a sporting goods store and you’ll find a variety of tools designed to help you make optimal gear choices. Softball size charts, for instance, are common in these stores. Just look for your child’s current height and weight. Then, read the recommendation provided on the chart. It’ll give you a suitable bat length and weight based on your child’s dimensions.
2. Do Some Quick Calculations
You can also do your own calculations to find an optimal bat length. This is sometimes useful for children who are outside the average height and weight categories for their age group. For example, your son or daughter might be very tall for their age.
To play fastball skillfully, a child aged 5-7 years needs a bat that’s 61 to 66cm long. Kids aged 8-9 years should play with a bat that’s 66 to 74cm in length. For each year after this, add approximately 2.54cm (or one inch) to the optimum bat length.
3. Know How to Shop for Drop
If you hear the term ‘drop’ used when discussing youth softball, just know it refers to the difference between a bat’s weight and length. The best softball bat for your child is, again, one with a drop that’s suitable for their age range or closely matched to their specific dimensions. Typically, children under ten play better with a smaller drop number (between -13.5 and -10).
4. Don’t Forget to Pick It Up
It may sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many people buy softball bats without handling them properly first. To get the perfect match, make sure your child has a chance to touch, carry, and manipulate the bat. Let them swing a little (as long as it’s safe to do so) and get a feel for how it sits in their hands.
5. Consider Handle Diameter
While it’s easy to overlook handle diameter, it’s actually a very important feature. It can certainly have a big impact on how your child plays. All softball bats are tapered at the handle end but thickness varies. You may find a slimmer handle more comfortable for a child with smaller, slender wrists. On the other hand, thickness reduces impact vibrations and boosts speed. Consider a compromise between comfort and performance.
6. Find the Right Material
Finally, we come to what is, perhaps, the most important feature of all – the softball bat’s composition and material makeup. There are traditional wooden bats, lightweight alloy bats and bats made from composite materials like cork, felt and polyurethane. The right choice for your child will depend on what type of game they play and the rules laid out by their team, club, league or organization.
Common Types of Fastpitch Softball Bats
Lightweight Alloy Bats
The most common type of alloy bat is the aluminum softball bat. It is lightweight, reasonably strong and inexpensive to buy. For these three reasons, it continues to be a popular choice with little leaguers. One of the biggest advantages is they can be played right away.
Alloy bats don’t require any ‘breaking in’ or practice play before they’ll perform at a high level. They do, however, give a smaller ‘sweet spot’ than wooden bats. So, it’s a little bit harder to hit forcefully and accurately with one of these.
It’s common to find children practicing with wooden bats but using alloy bats for tournaments and competitive matches. It’s because, generally, they’re slower. Wooden bats are heavier to swing. They can be wielded very powerfully but rarely as forcefully as a metal bat.
It’s why some leagues restrict players to wooden bats only – the risk of injury to others is reduced. Wooden bats are particularly well suited to slow pitch games and swinging practice at home or out in the park.
There are many different kinds of composite bat so make sure to do your homework and pick a product that suits your child’s needs. The advantage to using composite materials is they tend to create well balanced bats.
When considering composites, know several different materials have been used to create a bat that’s lighter than wood but more accurate than alloy. The downside is they’re more expensive than either of these. They also need to be ‘broken in’ as a wooden bat does.
Best Softball Bat for 6 Year Old
Mizuno is trusted by some of the top fastpitch softball players in the world, including Team USA Legend Jennie Finch. This is a company that knows how important it is to have the right equipment during the early stages of a young player’s career. The Minzuno Finch is an extremely lightweight bat with a classic one-piece construction, forged from Mizuno’s MZ 1700 Alloy, and a cushioned grip to eliminate vibration.
- -13 Length to Weight Ratio
- Approved for Play in ASA, USSSA, NSA, and ISA
- Endorsed by USA Fastpitch Legend Jennie Finch
- MZ 2200+ Alloy - Creates Optimized Performance while Lowering the Swing Weight
- Ultra-Light Swing Weight
Best Softball Bat for 7 Year Old
The Easton MAKO 11 features an ultra-thin 29/32″ handle with an All Sports grip, which makes it easy to handle and control for young players with small hands and a light grip. Crafted from aluminum alloy, this bat is both durable enough to withstand hard hits, and lightweight enough for learning fast swing speeds.
- Aluminum alloy with end cap
- Ultra-thin 29/32" handle with All Sports grip
- Certification (98MPH): ASA, USSSA, NSA, ISA, SSUSA, ISF
Best Softball Bat for 8 Year Old
The DeMarini Bustos allows young players to reach their full potential with cutting-edge bat technology, including a 2-piece hybrid comfort grip and fiber reinforced composite handles to prevent hand sting and vibrations. This bat’s handle and barrel are also performance matched, meaning that the bat responds to the energy of a fast moving ball with optimal flex and recoil. Built with DX1 Alloy, and a rotation index to remind players to constantly rotate their bat during play, this bat will continue to perform season-after-season.
- Fiber Reinforced Composite handles eliminate vibrations and hand sting
- Half & Half means the handle and barrel are performance matched to create optimum flex and recoil with a burst of ball launching energy at impact
Best Softball Bat for 9 Year Old
The DeMarini Vendetta C6’s fully carbon composite design gives it unparalleled flex, acting as a springboard for the ball to launch it maximum distances. This bat features a C6 composite barrel and an Internal Rails Hybrid Handle to help eliminate vibration and hand sting when making hard hits, while still maintaining power. DeMarini also knows the importance of a well structured end-cap for a bat’s swing weight, feel, and even sound. With Clutch End-Cap technology developed exclusively for DeMarini , this bat is optimized for all three of those performance factors.
- Bob, weave...and explode: C6 Composite. This fully carbon composite has a visibly wider weave pattern, giving it more flex than other designs. This creates a trampoline effect when the ball makes contact with the bat-absolutely jumping off the barrel.
Best Softball Bat for 10 Year Old
DeMarini’s CF Zen Fastpitch Bat takes advantage of a 3-Fusion Technology System, meaning that each section of the bat was designed to work together, symbiotically, for optimal performance. For example, this bat’s 3-Fusion end-cap and handle work together to redirect energy back down the barrel when making contact with the ball for powerful hits. This bat’s Paraflex Composite materials also give the bat optimal flex. It’s these technologies that continuously puts DeMarini’s at the top of the game, with some of the lightest swinging and highest performing bats on the market.
Best Softball Bat for 11 Year Old
Louisville Slugger is one of the most trusted names in the game. Their 2018 Proven series is a 100% composite design with a 1-piece construction so the bat feels sturdy and easy to control. This design makes the bat great for younger players who are still learning how to control their bat at higher swing speeds. This well-constructed bat from a time-tested brand also comes at a great value.
- 100% composite design at a great value
- 1-piece construction for more solid feel
- Great option for younger players who want maximum control and increased bat speed
- 7/8 inch standard fast pitch handle diameter & synthetic comfort grip
Best Softball Bat for 12 Year Old
Easton’s Hyperlite bat is just what it sounds like: light. With Easton’s CXN zero two-piece Conation Technology, players can make big hits without experiencing vibration or hand sting. This bat’s ultra-thin 29/32″ composite handle and 1.2mm Hyperskin grip allows players to maintain a solid, comfortable hold on the bat throughout gameplay. This bat also has a smooth, evenly-balanced swing weight, so that players already feel accustomed to the bat on first use.
- Easton's new Hyperlite uses the company's Hyperlite composite barrel technology for an optimized sweet spot that delivers maximum performance.
- The Hyperlite barrel design has an evenly balanced swing weight to create a faster swing speed.
Best Softball Bat for 13 Year Old
The Louisville Slugger Xeno Plus series takes advantage of S1iD technology to create a larger “sweet spot” on the barrel where the ball will catch it maximum pop. It’s hard to understate the significance that this massive sweet spot has on both a player’s consistency and confidence. This bat also has a stiffer feel, with a zero-friction double-wall design to maximize flex while minimizing resistance.
- S1iD Technology provides maximum pop on contact and a larger sweet spot
- Two-piece construction with a stiffer feel for increased energy transfer
- Performance PLUS Composite with zero friction double wall design
Best Softball Bat for 14 Year Old
This bat from the Louisville Slugger Xeno series features S1iD inner disc technology, which maximizes barrel flex without increasing resistance. With a LS-2X composite thin walled, light weight barrel, this bat lets players hit at extremely fast exit speeds that come as close to the legal limit as possible without surpassing it. In other words, this bat allows players to hit hard and fast. This model is available in three different weight drops—(-10), (-9),(-8). This is a bat designed for the serious fastpitch player with high aspirations.
- 10 length to weight ratio
- 2-1/4" barrel diameter
- 2-Piece Pure 360 Composite construction provides thinner walls for more pop and less weight
- IST inner composite technology strengthens bond between the handle and barrel
It can be challenging to find the right bat for young players who’s bodies are constantly growing and changing. That’s why we’ve assembled this list of the best softball bats for youth by age, so you easily can locate the equipment that will optimize your child’s performance to give them the best possible chance of successful gameplay.
We chose these bats because they were constructed with specific technologies and features that will assist your child’s learning curve—such as larger sweet spots and reduced hand sting upon ball impact—so they can feel confident in themselves and enjoy themselves out on the field. After all, young players are at their best when they’re not only operating at peak performance, but having fun doing it.