Bats with a smaller drop (-9, -8), or smaller length to weight ratio, are generally considered end loaded bats. The weight is distributed more towards the end of the bat, making it a bit heavier to swing. Many players tend to choose a balanced, lighter bat, because they think they will be able to swing better. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. However, end loaded softball bats for fastpitch can have many advantages.
Sometimes two bats with the same actual weight might feel different when they are swung. This has to do with the distribution of weight. The “swing weight” is defined by something called moment of inertia, which depends both on the total weight and the balance point. The end loaded bats are initially harder to swing and control, but give much more power on impact, sending the ball further.
The bat with weight distributed towards the end of the barrel may not be good for the beginners that do not have developed strength and quick swing speed. For stronger power hitters this type of bat has many advantages. The “top heavy” bats require refined hitting skills because if you hit the ball just right, it goes a long way, if you don’t hit it perfect, you foul it off or pop it up.
If you are tall and strong the end load will help you keep your speed up on impact. After contact speed can actually increase using an end loaded bat, or at least stay the same and not decrease as much as balanced does because of the weight distribution keeps the inertia.
Youth fastpitch players need lighter swing weight so they can achieve more power at the plate. For them the balanced bat might be the best solution. But if a young player is strong and athletic enough to control the speed, then the extra power can translate into another 10 to 30 feet or more to the ball distance.
Have in mind that regulations are different form one league to another and you should check them before making a purchase, since USSSA bats may not be allowed in ASA play, and vice-versa. There are bats that have dual stamp and those are allowed in leagues of both associations.
Finally, you should know that choosing the right fast pitch bat is very individual. Ray Demarini used to say that for a softball player the perfect bat weight was 28oz. That may be right, but the real truth is that the perfect bat is the one you feel most comfortable with and you can use for a long time. You can browse though our selection of best fastpitch softball bats and read the reviews to help you with your choice.