If your youth baseball player is consistently fouling out, hitting grounders, or missing pitches, the bat length may be to blame. Often, players swing bats that are too long for their stature and strength, resulting in poor outcomes at home plate. This is a common problem, because many consider the weight of the bat before they consider length as a factor, or they simply have misconceptions about success rates with longer bats. Let’s dive into bat lengths in youth baseball and how to find the best one for your player.
Why Length is Important
While weight often gets far more consideration than length, length may more directly contribute to the success rate at home plate. A bat that is too long for a player can end up feeling heavier, and it is far more difficult to control than a slightly shorter, more compact bat. Longer bats put more consistent stress on a player’s muscles, leading to fatigue quickly.
If swinging a longer bat has such obvious negative impacts, why do players and parents still buy bats that are too long? If a young player has a role model that they look up to, they may want to swing a bat similar to theirs, resulting in getting one that is simply too big in general. Another reason is thinking that the longer bat will help cover more of the home plate, resulting in more successful hits, which is an inaccurate assumption. In reality, standing slightly closer to home plate with a shorter bat, and paying attention to what part of the bat is making contact with the ball (aim for the sweet spot), will result in a better hit percentage.
Length and Sweet Spot
Equally as important as the consideration of the length of a bat is the consideration of where the sweet spot lies, and how the player is swinging the bat in order to make use of this sweet spot as often as possible. Bat length may impact the size and location of the sweet spot, however, each bat style and model has their own unique sweet spot. Connections with this area of the bat usually result in more successful hits, so knowing where it lies on your bat is crucial to betterment as a player.
Sizing Your Youth Bat
Depending on the age of your baseball player, different lengths may be appropriate. Taller players may also be able to swing longer bats with less issues than shorter players. While finding the perfect bat length for your youth baseballer may involve some trial and error, as each player is unique, we have some suggestions of where to start.
For your youth baseball star, the length of their bat is correspondent to their height. Starting between a height of 3’ to 3’4”, a 26 inch bat is appropriate. For every 4 or 5 inches that they grow, add another inch to their bat length. When standing upright, should be equal to, but not higher than, the height of your child’s hip. If it’s any longer than this, it may prove difficult for them to control the swing of the bat.
Some leagues/age ranges may have rules or regulations regarding bat lengths, weights, or drops. Always check with the league your baller will be playing in to make sure you know all the guidelines to follow and that the bat you choose will be compliant and acceptable.
At Rude American USA, we offer several bat sizing options, so we truly have something for everyone. Shop our bats here.