Wooden softball bats are made out of different types of wood, which give them different characteristics. The most popular wooden bats are made out of maple, ash or walnut. Since softball players have different batting styles, there are different bat types to accommodate them.
Maple Softball Bats for Power
Maple is a hard wood with little give. The hardness of the wood allows more power to be transmitted to the ball, which means that it can travel a further distance. Many home runs have been hit with a maple softball bat, but there are also some drawbacks to consider. The denser wood makes the bats heavier for each given size and not the best choice for youth. In addition, they are more brittle, causing them to break more readily, and they are not recommended for batters who drive off the end of the bat.
Ash or Walnut Softball Bats for Flexibility
Many batters have moved from maple to either ash or walnut. Ash and walnut are softer woods than maple. They have more flexibility than maple bats so they don't break as readily. However, since the softer woods don't transmit power to the ball as efficiently, the ball won't go as far. If a maple bat is not broken with use, it will last longer than a softer ash or walnut bat because the softer wood grains tend to separate over time and weaken the bat structure Overall, ash and walnut bats are more durable than maple and a lighter weight softball bat for youth.