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Softball Training Equipment: 5 Trends to Watch in 2024

A bunch of softball equipment on a field

Whether consumers are playing slow-pitch, orthodox, or fast-pitch, they’ll need all the basic softball skills. They must have good throwing, catching, pitching, and hitting techniques to remain at the top of their game.

While softball is more of a team sport, consumers can train their skills individually with the right tools. As a result, this need creates an opportunity in the softball market for businesses to make a profit. Here are five pieces of softball training equipment players need to hone their skills and remain ready for the next big game in 2024.

Table of Contents
How big is the softball training equipment market?
5 softball training equipment players are clamoring for in 2024
Closing words

How big is the softball training equipment market?

The global softball equipment market is growing strong, as experts valued it at US $698.9 million in 2023. They also predict it will expand to US $854.8 million by FY 2030, growing at a slow but steady 2.12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). Research also showed the market registered a 2.5% CAGR from 2018 to 2022.

Modern technological integration is one of the major driving forces in the softball equipment market. The tech-infused gear trend and niche market expansion also make huge waves in the softball equipment market. Experts also suggest that Asia-Pacific will grow at a 5.5% CAGR from 2023 to 2033. The region will expand steadily due to the increasing adoption of Western sports and favorable government initiatives to boost spending on softball in Japan, South Korea, and China.

5 softball training equipment players are clamoring for in 2024

1. Weighted balls

A green weighted ball on a field

While many softball players still debate about the best way to practice with weighted balls, it’s undeniable that these accessories can help improve pitch velocity. Players can expect increased throwing speeds and stronger arm muscles when training with weight balls. Since they don’t travel far, weighted balls are the perfect training accessories for advanced players without room for rebounders or softball nets.

Even better, pitching and throwing are not the only skills players can practice with these balls. Consumers can also hone their batting game. Here’s the scoop: weighted balls are popular in 2024, as 12,100 people searched for them in January.

But instead of relying on a single weighted ball, players increasingly incorporate multi-weight sets into their routines. This variety trend allows for a more personalized and progressive training approach, targeting different muscle groups and skills with varying weights. Variable resistance balls are also gaining traction, offering different resistance levels throughout swings.

Variable resistance balls mimic the feeling of hitting actual softballs, providing a more dynamic and realistic training experience. For batters, manufacturers now specifically design some weighted balls to enhance rotational power—a crucial element for generating bat speed and hitting harder. These weighted balls often have an uneven weight distribution or textured surfaces to engage more muscles during the swing.

2. Softball nets

A red softball net on a white background

While players can train without nets (especially those with limited space), these accessories will upgrade the practice experience. Softball nets provide better targets for batters, preventing them from swinging wildly (and breaking windows). They also attracted 1,900 searches in January 2024.

Gone are the days of single-purpose nets. Today’s softball nets come with versatile and easily adaptable designs! Softball players can now engage in multiple training possibilities, especially with features like detachable hitting screens for easy switching between hitting and pitching practice.

Space is often a premium, especially for backyard practice. Portable and collapsible nets are trending, allowing easy setup, storage, and transport. Some manufacturers even throw in carrying bags for added convenience.

Nets with efficient ball return systems are also gaining momentum as they save time and energy. Consumers don’t want the hassle of constantly retrieving throws or hits, so they’ll go for funnel-shaped designs (to channel balls back for quick repetitions) or netting with integrated rebound panels (for maximum ball return and uninterrupted practice sessions).

3. Rebounders

Man using a yellow softball rebounder

Softball rebounders are like upgraded versions of nets. They have similar qualities, like high-quality materials, thick nets, and sturdy bases. However, they come with versatility, allowing players to practice skills like catching and pitching. Although rebounders are less popular than nets, they still attract some attention. They raked in 390 searches in January 2024.

These accessories also come in two varieties: stationary and adjustable. Although stationary rebounders do what their name states, they still allow consumers to alter them sightly for up to eight angles. One good thing about stationary rebounders is that players can usually try up to two different attack angles without adjusting the net. Stationary rebounders are also great for beginners hoping to improve their softball form and other basic skills.

On the other hand, adjustable rebounders offer even more features. Trainers can adjust them to stimulate pop-flies and line drives, making them more realistic than stationary variants. The best part is that players can master every softball pitch by switching pitching angles!

Note: Adjustable rebounders also provide instant feedback with their angled edges. They’ll send a ball that doesn’t land in the center flying.

Additionally, sellers can offer rebounders with ball-return features to make training sessions easier. Automatic rebounders make retrieving balls easier, allowing players to spend more time honing their skills than chasing softballs.

4. Softball mitts or gloves

Woman catching a ball in a softball mitt

Throwing and catching balls can be painful, especially if players use their bare hands or low-quality protection. That’s why they shouldn’t train barehanded. Instead, sellers can offer them softball mitts. The best part is that softball mitts are performing excellently! They’ve garnered 18,100 searches in January 2024, proving many people want them or are looking to upgrade their gear.

Softball mitts have evolved to accommodate lighter and stronger materials. Manufacturers now use new composites and weaves to create lighter mitts for improved flexibility and quicker reaction times. The best part? These new materials don’t sacrifice strength and durability, ensuring players get a long-lasting performance.

The design area has also received an upgrade. Today’s softball mitts come with exo-skeletal designs that look amazing. But beauty is not the only thing these bad boys offer. This exoskeletal design also features strategically placed reinforcements and support, enhancing stability and structure—all without sacrificing weight or feel.

5. Softball bats

A green softball bat on a white background

Batters can have a training session without their trusty softball bat. These tools feature narrow barrels with long bodies, making them perfect for swinging with super force. However, manufacturers are now creating bats that are more tailored to individual players’ needs and preferences.

As a result, bats now offer various weights, lengths, drops, and handle shapes. But before going into the types of softball bats, here’s a look at their popularity stats: these tools got an impressive 27100 searches in January 2024!

Softball bat typeDescription
Slow-pitch batsThese softball bats are heavier, weighing around 25 to 30 ounces. The extra weight makes them harder to swing, allowing batters to perform slow pitches at around 25 mph.
Fast-pitch batsThese softball bats drop the extra weight, clocking in at 23 to 28 ounces. They’re the go-to for hitting balls at higher speeds and with faster swings. They also closely resemble the shape of bottles.
One-piece batsManufacturers make these softball bats from a single material—it’s how they get the name “one piece.” It could be a block of wood, composite, or alloy materials.  

The benefits? One-piece bats are more robust and stiffer, making them the go-to for power hitters.
Two-piece batsManufacturers create the barrel and handle of these bats separately before gluing them together. They’re also more flexible than one-piece variants.  

How? Two-piece bats (particularly the head region) can swing and build up speed faster. It’s why contact hitters prefer them.

Beyond types, composite bats (made from a blend of materials like carbon fiber and fiberglass) are becoming increasingly popular. Consumers prefer them for their ability to offer large sweet spots, better pop, and a lighter weight compared to traditional aluminum bats. Manufacturers are also incorporating new technologies into bats to improve performance and durability. For example, some bats now feature vibration-dampening systems to reduce hand sting and enhance feel.

Closing words

Softball is incredibly similar to baseball and cricket, but throwing the ball and batting are where the similarities end. This sport requires a lot of arm power, meaning players must train routinely to keep themselves ready for the next game. Capitalize on weighted balls, softball nets, rebounders, barricades, and softball bats to offer players a complete and rewarding softball training experience in 2024. Add them to inventories now!

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