Fastpitch softball is a game of skills, but if you want to be the best, you need the best fastpitch softball gear available.
The good news is there are a lot of options available, but this also presents problems:
for instance, how do you know which of these products and brands to buy? That’s where reviews come into play.
How Can Fastpitch Softball Gear Product Reviews Help Me?
If you search for fastpitch softball equipment online, most of the information will come from websites that sell softball products, so naturally they’ll hype up their product and tell you that it’s the best.
But as you probably already know, these products are not made equally, and choosing the wrong one will have a drastic effect on your own game.
That’s where product reviews can make a big difference, because here you’ll know whether a bat really has zero vibration or not, and reviews for cleats will tell you what spike type is used, how well it performs, how it fits, etc.
The reviews here will also give you a chance to compare the products that popular brands like Easton, Louisville Slugger, DeMarini and Mizuno have to offer.
No doubt, each of these brands has a loyal following who’ll tell you that it is superior to the other.
The point is that with reviews, you’ll get an objective, unbiased assessment of the product and help you make an informed decision. For instance, a softball bat review can tell you if the uniform really fits, if a cleat is durable, etc.
Of course reviews only make up one half of the equation, because as a buyer you also need to know something about the equipment and what features to look for.
Unless you know what factors to consider when buying, the information in product reviews won’t make much sense, so here are some tips to help you find the best gear.
Finding the Perfect Bat
To get the best fastpitch softball bats you’ll need to consider you or your girl’s skill level, age, weight and height among others.
As a general rule, 8 to 9 year olds should use a 26- to 28-inch (61 to 71 cm) bat, and you just add an inch to the bat’s length for each year.
These bats are usually made of graphite / titanium, aluminum or composite synthetic material that the manufacturer developed, but it’s best to go with aluminum as it is light and durable.
Another advantage of aluminum is because it’s light, you’ll have the opportunity to improve your swing because it doesn’t put as much weight or pressure on your arms and shoulder.
There are other things you need to consider when buying a fastpitch bat, such as the diameter, the handle, the construction, etc.
For those who don’t play the game, it seems like the bats look the same and don’t make much of a difference, but they do. Some bats handle better, produce less softball bat vibration, etc.
Tips for Buying the Best Softball Gloves
The purpose of fastpitch softball gloves is to assist you in catching the ball while protecting your hands.
The early gloves were nothing more than leather that covered your palm, but those used in today’s game are made of different types of materials and the latest technology so it improves performance.
Apart from size and comfort, you also need to consider the construction and design. There are many different types of gloves, with webbing, stitching, patterns and materials as varied as the brands.
The primary consideration will be size of course, but remember there are specific gloves for each player’s position.
Webbing refers to the section of the glove that assists you in catching and holding a ball. There are two basic types of webbing, open and closed.
Open web gloves have loosely woven leather with sufficient space to see through, giving you a better view when the pop flies. Closed design webbing on the other hand, provides extra support and stability for catching.
Tips for Buying Cleats
Because the game often requires you to run on dirt and / or grass, you’ll need to choose fastpitch softball cleats carefully.
This is especially true for fastpitch softball as the game is very competitive, and the type of cleats you wear can spell the difference between being able to steal a base or not.
There are several factors that should influence your buying decision, and one of the most important is the spike type.
Metal spikes in particular are good because they provide superior traction and designed for heavy duty use, which is what you need in fastpitch softball.
Metal spikes aren’t allowed in children’s games for safety reasons and because they usually rip the field up.
In this case, rubber spikes are the best option, and while not as good as metal, will be sufficient. Unless you’ve been playing the game for a while, it’s going to be difficult noticing the difference, and rubber spikes are cheaper too.
Some cleats have replaceable spikes, and that’s something you may want to consider if you play the game extensively. Just like gloves and bats, cleats are available in different brands, but more than the brand what’s important is the cleat fits.
Some cleats are available in high top, low top and mid top. The low tops are easy to run in and move, but they don’t have the ankle support that high tops give you.
The mid-top shoes are somewhere in-between the two, and all three types can have synthetic or leather uppers.
Tips for Choosing Uniforms
As far as fastpitch softball uniforms go, your primary consideration has to be the size and fitting.
Besides the fitting though, you need to look for compression shorts and sliders, which apart from firming up your upper legs, helps prevent thigh injuries.
Thermal layers are worn under fastpitch softball apparel to keep you comfortable and cool, and some tops are constructed from moisture wicking material which keeps your body dry and cool.
Just like with sliding shorts, you’ll find some shirts made of stretchy, tight material that provides compression for your arms and upper body.
And again similar to the shorts, these shirts will keep your muscles warm and minimize the risk of injury when sliding and diving.
You’ll also want to have some tank tops and t-shirts for general conditioning and practice.
The type of T-shirts you buy will depend on your team’s dress code of course, but for casual play, tanks and T-shirts can be worn as is or with layers if it’s cold.
Girls typically wear shorts when playing the game and ideal during the summer. However, women’s softball pants are also available, and they’re something to consider if it’s cold in your area.
Pants also provide some measure of protection for your lower legs and knees, and if you’re worried about knee abrasions, get some knee sliders.
Making the Right Decision
Needless to say the type of fastpitch softball gear you buy will make all the difference in your game, so it’s important you spend some time researching the product.
As mentioned at the top, you’ll also benefit from reading product reviews because it’s the most effective way of finding out if that bat or glove lives up to the hype or you’re better off buying something else.