Grip It & Rip It
Selecting the Right Baseball Bat
Baseball is one of the most popular and competitive sports in the world. With this status, comes the need for the right equipment and training for that skillful edge. Selecting a baseball bat is an individual choice, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a few factors to consider for finding the perfect bat. Whichever one you choose, make sure it adheres to league requirements for your division. Check with your coach or local league association for details.
Covering the Basics
Understanding Bat Construction
- The measurement of the diameter around the bat.
- Generally, the longer the barrel the larger the “sweet spot” for making substantial contact.
- Many players prefer a smaller barrel diameter that lightens the weight and provides more swing speed.
- Barrel size varies by league.
- The grip is simply the covering that bat manufacturers use on the handle of aluminum, wood and composite bats.
- Rubber grips absorb more of the shock when the ball makes contact with the bat.
- Leather or synthetic leather grips give a strengthened feel for a more confident grip.
- Some bats come with a special cushioned grip to decrease bat vibration even more.
- Also known as a bat’s length-to-weight ratio or a bat’s minus (-) number, i.e. -3, -5, -10, etc.
- Defined as a negative number denoting the amount of ounces the bat weighs less than the amount of inches its length. Basically stated, it’s the difference between the weight of the bat minus the length of the bat.
- Wood bats and Slow Pitch bats are not identified with a drop.
- Different leagues have different drops legal for play. Check with your coach or local league.
Selecting a Bat by Age or by Length and Weight
Selecting the correct bat weight really depends on two critical factors: your strength and hitting style. It also depends a lot on your personal preference in weight and length, so the following are simply guidelines to follow:
- Bigger, stronger players generally prefer a heavier bat since they get the benefits of substantial swing power and ball-carrying distance.
- Smaller players looking more for groundball hitting through the infield should consider a lighter bat to generate a quicker swing.
- Younger players should think about starting out with a lighter bat, where they can practice their stance, batting form, and running out base hits.
When searching for the perfect bat, size matters. This is also an important step for promoting player safety. Youths starting out in the game need to be able to work on their form, technique, and batting stance. To do this, it’s important to tailor the bat to fit their specific needs.
Tips for Beginners
- Lightweight alloy bats increase the size of the “sweet spot” on the barrel that allows for solid contact.
- A starting player needs to learn to hit close to the “sweet spot.”
- Go for a lighter bat to maintain bat speed, which is top priority in hitting.
- Have a light enough bat to swing with enough bat speed to hit the ball powerfully.
- If they cannot hold the bat for 20 seconds without the arm starting to shake, it’s too heavy.