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What does drop weight mean?

How much does your bat weigh? It may sound like a simple question, but what bat you should choose isn’t as simple case of just looking at the amount of ounces that it has. While it’s clear to all that a bat will have its actual weight, there is an equally important factor to consider and that is the softball bat’s drop weight, especially for developing young players.

What is ‘drop weight’?

19_softball-batsThe drop weight of the bat depends on two factors that determine how it feels throughout your swing. The first one is simple and obvious, and that is the actual weight of the bat. The heavier a bat, the harder it is to swing, but that’s not all. The length of the bat will also affect how heavy the bat feels and how easy it is to swing.

The drop weight is the ratio of weight to length and is worked out as the following: Weight (ounces) – Length (inches) = Drop. Most drop weights are shown in a minus, as if you had a 20 ounce softball bat which was 30 inches long, this would have a drop weight of -10. If the bat weighed in ounces the exact same as it was long in inches, then the drop weight would be 0.

“The drop weight is the ratio of weight to length and is worked out as the following: Weight (ounces) – Length (inches) = Drop.”

Why does it matter?

It is much harder to keep a weight held up away from your body than it is close in, as the further away it is from your body I is, the more you’re working against gravity to keep it held up. It therefore follows that a 20 ounce bat will feel a lot different if it was 25 inches long, or it was 35. This means that thought has to go into not only the actual weight, but the drop weight too. The higher the drop weight, the lighter the softball bat is too swing, but this isn’t always a good thing as you could lose hitting power if the bat is too light.

Why is bat length important?

The length of a softball bat is generally relative to the height of the batter, so a taller player would need a longer bat. As a player gets taller and stronger, the actual weight of the bat would increase, but so would the length, meaning the bats drop weight stays the same even though the actual weight has increased. This is why drop weight becomes a good measurement as it can be a better indicator of the right bat for you.

08_softball-batsIf a size guide can tell you the right length of bat your bat to choose, then you don’t have to constantly try different actual weights if you already know your preferred drop weight. To simplify this down to an example, you may find that your perfect drop weight is -5. If you start out as a young player with 20 ounce bat which was 25 inches long, that would have a drop weight of -5.

As you got taller, you would be able to swing a 25 ounce bat which was 30 inches long, and this would once again have a drop weight of -5. Both bats would feel the same to swing, even though they have different lengths and weights.

“It is important then to find the correct drop weight for yourself.”

It is important then to find the correct drop weight for yourself. A power hitter would look for a drop weight towards and beyond zero, and a contact hitter with less power may be looking at a drop weight at -10 or beyond.

Once a batter is fully grown and as tall as they’ll be, the drop weight becomes less important as you should feel comfortable with the right length of bat and the weight to match.

Summary

Drop weight can be a very useful tool in determining how well matched a softball bat is to a batter without going through the whole process of trying out a range of different bat ounces. The wrong actual bat weight could mean having to find a different swing and could increase the risk of injury and poor performance if the bat is too heavy, or too long. Knowing your perfect drop weight will ensure that you can be confident the bat will feel right when it comes to replacing your old one.

The process starts by matching your height up to the length of a bat. Once you get the right length then it’s time to experiment with different ounce bats to find the one which best suits you. Once you’re sure of the right ounce weight, then you are able to work out which drop weight is best for you. Once that is known, you won’t have to worry about it again.

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