A bat is one of the pieces of equipment that all baseball players must have. To get the most out of your offensive game, just grabbing any bat off the rack won’t do. With numerous weights, lengths, and materials, finding the best bat for you can be a chore.
Before jumping into what can kind of bat to choose, you must understand the breakdown of a bat from bottom to top. The knob of the bat helps keep hands from moving while gripping the bat. The goal should be to hit all balls off the thickest part of the bat, the barrel. Some players use a bat with a cap on the end, which helps in bat control.
Consider Age and League
Be careful to consider league rules with regards to bats. For example, the USABat standards and different from the USSSA and BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution). Regardless of age, every league will have a bat standard. Children ages 4 to 6 will use a tee ball bat. A USA bat or USSSA bat will be used for children ages 7 to 13. From 14 to 18, players will use a bat the conforms to BBCOR regulations. You can check the official websites of each for more details. One thing to look for is league logos stamped on the face or barrel.
After determining the standard for your bat, you need to choose a length. If a bat is too short, you may severely limit your plate coverage. On the other hand, a bat that is too long could slow bat speed or interfere with proper swing mechanics.
How can you determine if your bat length is right for you? There are three effective ways.
First, put the bottom of the bat at the center of your chest, pointing horizontally to either side, parallel to outstretched arm. The bat is too long if you cannot comfortably touch the end of the bat with your fingers.
Next, with the bottom of the bat still at the center of the chest facing outward, try grabbing the barrel. If you cannot, it is too long. If you can reach the end of the bat, consider a longer bat.
A very simple way to measure is to simple stand up the bat against the side of your leg while in a standing position. If the end of the bat and palm of hand meet while arm is naturally extended, then the bat is the correct length.
There is no one concrete answer to this question about weight. This is more about feel. Simply take a bunch of swings and if the bat head drops or feels heavy, then go to a lighter bat. You can also try holding the bat by the handle and extend to your side. If it is difficult to hold for about 30 seconds, then it’s likely too heavy. Larger, more powerful players tend to like bats that have less difference between bat length in inches and weight in ounces. Smaller players with less strength will benefit more from bats that have a greater difference between length in inches and weight in ounces.
Wood versus metal, which one should I choose? Wood bats are generally made of ash, maple, or birch and tend to have a lower difference between length in inches and weight in ounces. Aluminum bats have a smaller sweet spot, but are generally lighter for the same length. The composite bats generally have a larger sweet spot than alloy (aluminum) bats and have less annoying vibration on balls hit off the trademark or near the handle. In addition, composite bats are more expensive and need a break in period of about 150 hits.
In the end, the way a bat feels in a player’s hands is the most important factor. Find a bat you think you may like, find a place to take some practice swings. Whichever style, length, weight, and material feels right for you is the one to go with. The more comfortable you are with your bet, the more confidence you’ll have at the plate and the more likely you’ll have success as a hitter.
At Rude American USA, we have many options for bat styles and sizes. Shop our full lineup here!