How to Choose a Baseball Bat
A bat is one of the main pieces of equipment that baseball players need. Although the specific bat isn’t what makes a hitter good or bad, it is important to make sure players use a bat that fits their size and strength. For example, a baseball player using too short of a bat won’t be able to reach the outside corner of the strike zone. Additionally, a player using a bat that is too heavy will have a bat speed that is too slow.
When choosing the correct-sized baseball bat, it’s important to consider the length and weight of the bat. If you’re playing in a league that requires a specific bat standard, you’ll want to make sure that the bat you’re choosing will be approved to use in a game.
How do I choose the right sized baseball bat?
You’ll find more information below on how to choose the correct length and weight for your baseball bat. The tables included here are meant to be a guide, giving you a starting point based on age. There is also more information about which end of the recommended range is best for which types of hitters. Lastly, we’ll include a quick exercise to do before purchasing a bat to make sure it’s the right fit for you.
- Baseball Bat Length
When deciding what bat length works best, you’ll want to make sure the bat is long enough to cover the outside edge of the strike zone but short enough that the batter can control it as they swing. Baseball bats are normally between 24–34 inches in length. The table below serves as a good starting point if you’re unsure of where to begin:
|Age||7 and Under||8–9||10–12||13–14||15–16||17 and Older|
Generally, the ideal bat size changes as batters grow. If the batter is much taller than most people their age, a bat on the higher end of the recommended range may work for them. Similarly, if the batter is much shorter than most people their age, a bat on the shorter end of the recommended range may work for them.
To check if a bat a the correct length, stretch your arms outwards, positioning the knob of the bat at the center of your chest and holding the bat parallel to your outstretched arm and hand. If your fingertips comfortably reach the end of the bat, it is the correct length.
- Baseball Bat Weight
When deciding what bat weight works best, make sure you’re comfortable with it in your hands. A bat that is too light will allow the batter to generate quick bat speed, but they will be lacking power when making contact with the ball. Likewise, a bat that is too heavy will provide power, but the batter’s swing will lag through the zone too slowly.
The weight of baseball bats is marked by the bat’s “drop weight.” This will always be a negative number because it’s calculated as the bat’s length subtracted by its weight. For example, a 30-inch bat that weighs 25 ounces will show a drop weight of -5. Batters tend to get stronger as they grow, so youth leagues will have a bigger drop weight (-10, for example) than high school leagues (-3, for example.) The table below serves as a good starting point if you’re unsure of where to begin:
|Age||7 and Under||8-9||10-12||13-14||15-16||17 and Older|
Like with bat length, the ideal bat weight can change as players get bigger and stronger. Because different leagues often have different sizing rules, batters should always check which guidelines apply to their league. If the league allows batters a range of drop weights to choose from, bigger and stronger hitters may be comfortable with a lower drop weight (heavier bat) than players undersize based on age.
The ideal bat weight varies from batter to batter but ultimately comes down to a batter feeling like they have controlled speed and power when they swing. If you’ve chosen a weight that works for you, double-check by holding the handle of the bat and extending your arm straight across. If you can’t hold the bat outstretched for about 30 seconds, the bat might be too heavy for you. Try doing the same 30-second test with another bat that has a larger drop weight (lighter bat). If you’re able to hold it comfortably for 30 seconds, the weight is likely good for you.
How do I know if the baseball bat meets the league requirements? How to Choose a Baseball Bat?
The three most common baseball bat certifications are BBCOR, USSSA, and USA Baseball. Requirements can change, but the attached links will take you to the rules and approved bat list for each.
- BBCOR: http://www.mme.wsu-ssl.org/certifiedbaseballbats.aspx
- USSSA: http://usssa.com/baseball/baseball-baseball-bat-marks/
- USA Baseball: https://usabat.com/
Conclusion on How to Choose A Baseball Bat?
Deciding what sized baseball bat to purchase is important to ensure that the batter is comfortable at the plate and can safely control the bat. If you’re shopping for a new bat, figuring out the ideal length and weight based on your batter size and then try out a few different bats. Take some swings and, if you can, hit balls off a tee or live pitching. This will help you gauge your comfort with the bat before you purchase it for yourself.
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