Last updated on August 4, 2023
Believe it or not, the type of softball you use can impact not only its flight, but also how it feels when it comes off the bat, making it essential to know your options to find the perfect fit for your playing style.
So… what influences the flight distance and which type should you get?
- 1 Quick Answer: Which Slowpitch Softballs Fly the Farthest?
- 2 Factors that Affect Softball Flight Distance
- 3 Materials and Construction of Slowpitch Softballs
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
Quick Answer: Which Slowpitch Softballs Fly the Farthest?
You want a ball with the ideal combination of COR (Coefficient of Restitution), ball material, and compression, which influence how bouncy and hard the ball is. Temperature and altitude can also alter a softball’s performance, as cooler temperatures and higher elevations can increase the distance a ball travels.
Some of the best balls that meet these criteria are:
- Dudley ASA SB 12L: This 12″ .47 COR fast pitch softball is popular among players with its 375 pounds of compression. It can offer a satisfying batting experience and travel a good distance when struck by a skilled player.
- Dudley USSSA Thunder ZN: This slow pitch softball offers a .47 COR with a Stadium Stamp, making it an excellent option for those seeking more “bouncy” softballs.
- MacGregor X52RE ASA Slow Pitch Composite Softball: With 12 inches in size and ASA-approved for slow pitch play, these softballs are known for their performance and durability.
Factors that Affect Softball Flight Distance
In this section, you’ll learn more about key elements that influence the distance a slowpitch softball can travel when hit. We’ll look at the size and circumference, core and compression rating, and the coefficient of restitution (COR).
Size and Circumference
The size and circumference of a softball can play a significant role in its flight distance. In slowpitch softball, the standard ball size is 12 inches in circumference. However, there are also 11-inch balls available for certain leagues or age groups. A larger circumference generally means more surface area for the bat to make contact, which can affect how far the ball will fly.
Core and Compression Rating
The core of a softball is usually made from cork or rubber. This material, combined with the compression rating of the ball, can greatly impact its flight distance. The compression rating refers to how much force is needed to compress the ball, and a higher rating typically equates to a firmer, more solid ball. These firmer balls have a higher potential for longer distances when hit. For instance, softballs with a compression rating of 400lbs or 450lbs are known to perform better in terms of distance compared to balls with lower compression ratings.
Coefficient of Restitution (COR)
Another important factor that plays a role in softball flight distance is the coefficient of restitution (COR). In simple terms, the COR measures the bounciness of a softball. A higher COR means the ball will come off the bat with more bounce and energy, resulting in a farther flight distance. Generally, slowpitch softballs with a COR of 44 or 47 are known to deliver better performance and longer flight distances.
Materials and Construction of Slowpitch Softballs
When it comes to the cover of a slowpitch softball, you have a few materials to consider. The most common covering materials are synthetic leather and natural leather. Synthetic leather covers are typically made from a polyurethane material that provides a durable and affordable option for recreational leagues. Natural leather covers offer a better grip and are often favored by more competitive players. The cover color choices are usually white, red, or optic yellow, with optic yellow being the most popular for better visibility.
Cork and Rubber Cores
The core of a slowpitch softball is crucial to its performance. Most cores are made of either cork or rubber, with some even featuring a combination of both materials. Cork cores tend to be lighter and offer more bounce, while rubber cores are denser and provide more durability. Another option for core materials is kapok, which is a natural plant fiber and can offer a softer feel.
Seams and Stitching
Stitching plays a significant role in the construction of a slowpitch softball, as it keeps the cover and core together. The seams can be either raised or flat, with the former being more common in slowpitch while the latter is typically found in fastpitch softballs. Raised seams provide additional grip, whereas flat seams reduce air resistance and can help the ball travel farther. The stitching on a slowpitch softball can be red or white, depending on the league’s preferences and visibility considerations.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between .52 core and .44 core softball?
The primary difference between these two balls lies in their Compression and Coefficient of Restitution (COR) measurements.
A .52 core softball has a COR of .52 and is generally softer, while a .44 core ball has a lower COR of .44, making it slightly harder. As a result:
- .52 Core Softballs:
- Offer higher safety levels because they impact with less force
- Typically have better durability due to their softer composition
- May have a slightly slower speed after being hit
- .44 Core Softballs:
- Can travel farther distances after being hit
- May have a slightly faster speed after being hit
- Offer less safety due to the increased hardness
What is the difference between Hot Dot and Grey Dot softballs?
Hot Dot and Grey Dot softballs are both manufactured by Worth, but they differ in their performance characteristics. Here’s a rundown of the key differences between these two types of balls:
- Hot Dot Softballs:
- Designed for use in hot weather conditions (above 75°F/24°C)
- Maintain consistent performance in hot temperatures
- Feature a .52 core and 375 lbs. of compression
- Suited for higher-performing, competitive slowpitch leagues
- Grey Dot Softballs:
- Designed for use in cooler weather conditions (below 75°F/24°C)
- Feature a .44 core and 375-400 lbs. of compression
- Suited for recreational or lower-level league play
If you’re playing for fun, it’s all good. But depending on your type of league, you may have certain requirements for the type of ball you have to use.
It’s a good idea to practice with the type of ball that’s used in regulation play — you don’t want your team to have unrealistic expectations!
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