Every year, a large number of youth bats for the softball and baseball games hit the market. Youth bats are specifically geared at the younger players who are transitioning from the early levels of the game to a more advanced level.
However, the youth bats manufactures for the baseball and softball games have a number of notable differences. This is simply because of the difference in the general rules of both games.
Following is a comparison of the key factors on which the two types of bats differ from each other.
One of the most significant differences between youth softball and baseball bats is in terms of their measurements. Both are governed by the rules set forth by the relevant organizations, such as the Little League.
Youth baseball bats have a wider range of barrel size. They can be as small as 2.25 inches and as large as 2 5/8 inches in diameter. However, the barrel size can’t be larger than 2 5/8 inches.
At the same time, youth baseball bats don’t exactly have a maximum length limit, although they are mostly 29 to 32 inches in length. In general, youth baseball bats fall somewhere between -8 and -13 when it comes to their weight drop.
In contrast, youth softball bats typically have a single standard barrel size i.e. 2.25 inches. Rules set forth by the Little League also put a bar on the maximum length of these bats. According to these rules, youth softball bats can’t exceed 34 inches in length.
In terms of their overall weight, youth softball and baseball bats are quite similar. This can be ascertained from the average weight drop of both types of bats.
Weight drop signifies the difference between the length and weight of a bat. The average weight drop of both types of bats is between -8 and -14. Baseball bats tend to have a higher weight drop whereas softball bats tend to have a lower weight drop.
Both youth softball and baseball bats have a considerable range of weight options. Contact hitters can find light-weight bats in both categories whereas power hitters choose heavier bats in each category.
In general, it can be said that baseball bats are lighter. This is for a number of reasons. For one, baseball is typically thrown at a higher speed compared to a softball. This is why the hitter in a baseball game needs to the swing the bat at a greater speed in order to hit the incoming baseball. For this reason, baseball bats have to be more light-weight.
Even within the game of softball, youth bats differ depending on whether they are used for a slowpitch or a fastpitch game. Slowpitch bats tend to be bulkier and heavier whereas fastpitch bats are typically slimmer and lighter.
Again, this is because the speed of the ball tossed in a fastpitch game is greater than that in a slowpitch game. So the batter in a fastpitch game needs a lighter bat to swing it at a greater speed.
One of the most important certifications for a youth baseball bat is the 1.20 BPF. This refers to the 1.20 Ball Performance Factor. This certification indicates that even the best youth baseball bats do not perform beyond a certain limit and meets the maximum performance limitations as set forth by the Little League.
The certification also ensures that a bat is safe enough for use in a youth baseball game and does not pose a safety risk for the players on the field.
Like the youth baseball bats, the non-wood youth softball bats are also required to carry the 1.20 BPF certification. Again, this is done to ensure that the exit speed of the softball upon a hit does not exceed a specific limit. By setting such a limit, this certification helps ensure the safety of the players.
Approved for leagues
The youth baseball bat rules are typically defined by Little League. While these bats are automatically eligible for use in all the Little League matches, they are also approved for use in a number of other leagues.
These include Pony Baseball, Dixie Youth Baseball, Babe Ruth Baseball, Amateur Athletic Union, and American Amateur Baseball Congress or AABC.
The youth softball bats are also approved for use in all the Little League matches. In addition, these bats may also be used in other leagues depending on the rules set forth by that particular league.
In terms of their safety, both youth baseball and softball bats are quite similar. Both come with a 1.20 BPF certification. This certification puts a bar on the maximum limit of performance for both varieties of bats. 1.20 BPF ensures that both the softball and baseball bats at the youth level do not perform beyond a specific limit.
This limit ensures that even the most powerful hits on the plate during youth matches are not too dangerous or risky for the players. Any bats that do not meet the 1.20 BPF certification are considered illegal at the youth softball and baseball levels and prevented from use in either category.
The price range for both the youth baseball and softball bats varies considerably. In general, if you are looking for good youth softball bats, you may have to pay somewhere around $100 to $300. The alloy bats cost less whereas composite bats cost significantly more.
The same applies to youth baseball bats as well, although the higher end models in this category may cost a lot more. For instance, the most top-performing youth baseball bats may cost well above $400.
Like the youth softball bats, baseball bats come constructed from wood, aluminium alloy and composite materials. The composite bats cost more and deliver a more powerful performance on the plate.
Alloy bats typically cost less and are more suitable for power hitters. Wood bats are rare and few at the youth level but can still be used to great effect.