Are you interested in playing softball or just interested in the construction of a softball bat? What role do the materials a bat is made from play in the distance that a ball travels after been struck by a softball bat? As with cricket bats, field hockey sticks, and any other stick, bat or racket that is used to strike a ball, there are many different types of softball bats and the materials they are constructed are few of the major factors that affect the bat’s performance.
The game of softball was first mentioned in 1887 and was invented by George Hancock. Hancock was with a group of people and someone threw a boxing glove and it was hit back using a broomstick. Hancock also designed the first softball by wrapping the glove into a ball and tying it together with the boxing glove’s laces. The first bats were created from wood and used until 1970 when the first aluminium bat was developed. These early softball bats were mainly constructed from Hickory wood.
Modern softball bats are constructed from either wood, aluminium, alloy or composite materials. Some bats are also made from a combination of materials. Nowadays, the softball batter has a selection of different bats, made from a variety of materials, to choose from. The best softball bats are constructed either from bamboo, Maple or White Ash wood, or composite woods. Both these woods are very dense and have the ability to strike the ball well.
Softball bats also tend to be constructed as a one-piece bat or a two-piece bat. The best softball bats are made from a single piece of the chosen material because they tend to be stronger and less flexible than two-piece bats. Big hitters of the ball seem to prefer the one-piece construction. A less flexible bat will allow the ball to travel further than a bat than a two-piece construction. In other words, less of the energy generated when striking the ball is absorbed by the bat. In the construction of a two-piece bat, the handle and body of the bat are constructed independently of each other and fused together or bonded to each other. This creates an inherent weakness in the bat, especially at the bonding point. The advantage of a two-piece bat is that the bat is more flexible than a one-piece bat. This creates a trampoline effect which is desired by some batters. It acts as a springboard, allowing the ball to travel further.
Softball bats are not only made from wood but are also made from aluminium, aluminium alloy and composites. Bats made from these materials are known to hit the ball further than wooden bats. These bats are also weather resistant while wooden bats are not. If a wooden bat gets wet, the wood will swell resulting in a destroyed bat. Aluminium bats are the second most utilized bat after wooden bats. They are light and have the ability to drive the ball farther than wooden bats. This is aided, in part, by the trampoline effect that is achieved when striking the ball with an aluminium bat. The bat bends slightly inwards when the bat strikes the ball and causes the ball to bounce off the bat at high speeds. Most aluminium bats are now mixed with other metals to reduce the trampoline effect and increase the longevity of the bat. As mentioned earlier, aluminium is a soft material and, therefore, does not last as long as an aluminium alloy bat.
The final category of softball bat is the bat that is manufactured from composite materials. These bats are mainly made up from fibreglass, carbon fibre and graphite. Layers of the composite materials are fused together using resin. One hundred percent composite bats tend to improve the more they are used. A two-piece aluminium alloy bat is sometimes manufactured from a composite handle and an aluminium alloy body. This results in a lighter bat than a one-piece aluminium alloy bat.
The body or barrel of the softball bat is constructed from one or more layers or walls. The more walls a softball bat has, the greater the trampoline effect is. These bats are also more durable than a single-walled bat.
There are indeed several options in selecting the best softball bats. However, the choice of bats to be used during the game mainly depends on the preference of the player and her batting technique and stance.