How to Use Fastpitch Softball Bats in Cold Weather

February 22, 2024
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Players most commonly enjoy fastpitch softball in the spring or summer, yet occasionally, the sport extends into the colder seasons. There are many things a fastpitch softball player must consider when playing in cold weather, such as the best softball bat to use and the best practices for maintaining a softball bat in extreme climates.

Below, we’re breaking down everything you need to know about using fastpitch softball bats in cold weather.

What’s the relationship between fastpitch softball and cold weather?

It’s not the best time to practice fastpitch softball in cold weather. Many softball players detest playing in cold weather because of the damage it can cause to their equipment, particularly softball bats.

Fastpitch softball bats and cold weather have a direct adverse relationship: the lower the temperatures, the worse the bat’s performance. Using a fastpitch softball bat in low temperatures can even cause cracking and denting in a bat, resulting in the need to replace equipment.

What is considered a low temperature for a fastpitch softball bat?

Fastpitch softball equipment manufacturers usually say temperatures around or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius) may negatively affect bat performance. Some even advise players to avoid using bats in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

What happens to softball bats in cold weather?

The softballs cause much damage to bats, rather than just the cold weather alone. Low temperatures cause the material in baseballs and softballs to become dense and cold. Materials like string and leather are highly affected by temperature, and even if aluminum or alloy barrels are sturdy, they’re no match for a cold ball.

Fastpitch softball and baseball bats designed to resist cracking and denting are available, but their performance against a cold ball is not guaranteed. When temperatures are low, the ball jumps off the bat at a higher speed. The barrels of softball and baseball bats, designed to flex, produce a more significant trampoline effect in cold weather.

While faster balls and more distance are things to strive for when swinging a bat, using bats in cold weather can lead to damage and safety issues. According to manufacturers, bats that are unaltered, rolled, or shaved must not be used in low temperatures at all.

What kind of bats are best to be used in cold weather?

Even though aluminum bats are better at resisting low temperatures than composite bats, avoiding using them in cold weather is recommended. Despite their sturdiness, aluminum bats can still sustain damage.

When cold, dense softballs hit composite bats, the impact is more significant and can lead to cracks. Aluminum bats tend to get dented and bent when hit by cold softballs. Using both types of bats in cold weather could lead to damage, breaking, or injury.

Fastpitch bats with thin or single walls are more prone to damage than bats with thicker or multi-layer walls.

Wooden bats are not immune to the effects of cold weather either. In low temperatures, wood can become dry and brittle, which increases the risk of cracking or breaking. Thus, wooden bats are not guaranteed to perform well in cold conditions.

How can you use fastpitch bats in cold weather?

The best way to maintain your fastpitch softball bat in cold weather is not to use it. Bat warmers are beneficial to some extent but do not prevent or counter the damage done by a cold softball upon impact. As long as the softballs are cold, there will always be risks when using your softball bat.

Final Thoughts:

When playing fastpitch softball in cold weather, keep these in mind:
1. Bats have a higher risk of cracking in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius).
2. Bat warmers are better than nothing, but a cold softball can still significantly damage a warm bat.

If it’s necessary to practice or play with your fastpitch softball bat in cold weather:
1. Please do not use your best or favorite bat, as there are more chances it can get damaged.
2. If you must use your favorite bat, ensure the balls are not cold by storing them indoors.
3. Try to practice in a heated indoor space or batting cage instead.

Using a bat in cold weather can cause irreversible damage. If your area is naturally colder throughout the year, remember this information.