What is the right size baseball bat for your child? So many parents are confused by this question, and end up buying the wrong size bat.
I’m sure you’ve seen it. The most common example is a small youth player around 10 years old dragging around a 34-inch bat. “It’s not too big for me!” he exclaims, moments after flailing late at another third strike.
It is even more frustrating for the parent. They’ll go out and lay down $100 or more (sometimes several hundreds of dollars) for their child’s birthday, but they end up getting a bat that doesn’t fit their body.
Kids often want a bat bigger than they need; and parents are quick to think that their kid is big and strong enough to take on a bigger bat. But the truth is that moving to a bigger size too early can be more detrimental than using a smaller bat.
The bottom line is that we want these kids to easily handle the bat. Bat speed is incredibly important. While additional length and weight can add distance, that benefit won’t help if the player isn’t making solid and consistent contact.
Here are a few rules of thumb to consider when shopping for the right size baseball bat for your child — including length, weight and drop…
[This information was collected from several websites, including CheapBats.com.]
Have your child grab a bat and hold it with the barrel on the ground. The handle should reach right about to his hip (but not to his waist).
In the example above, my son is about 56 inches tall and close to 70 pounds. He is graduating from a 29 to 30 inch bat, which is consistent with the chart below…
This is just a rule of thumb, of course. A player may be stronger than the typical kid that is his height and weight (let’s not exaggerate just how strong they are though!). On the flip side, know when your child may need a lighter bat than may be typical.
Of course, the length of the bat is only one half of the equation. You might find the right size bat for your child, but it may actually be too heavy for him.
The ideal bat weight is actually a bit trickier, and we should approach it differently depending upon the age of your child.
Here is a chart for a general rule of thumb (based on age and either player height or weight)…
Just to make the ideal weight of the bat a bit more complicated, you should also consider the “drop” weight — or the difference between the length (in inches) and weight (in ounces).
For example, a bat that is 30 inches long and weighs 20 ounces would be considered a “drop 10″ (otherwise expressed as -10).
Younger and smaller players will have a much higher drop — a greater difference between the length in inches and weight in ounces. These players are typically not as strong, so the focus is on a lighter bat for greater bat speed.
As a child ages, though, they get bigger and stronger. While bats typically won’t be longer than 34 inches, the weight will begin to catch up to the length.
Here’s a chart that provides a basic rule of thumb for 2 5/8” barrel bats (found in most travel ball tournaments)…
Little League uses 2 1/4″ barrel bats with different drop restrictions…
Know the Rules!
Understand that your league or tournament may have restrictions on the allowed drop. For example, your Little League may not allow a drop 3.
Similarly, before you invest in a bat make sure that the composition (alloy, aluminum or composite) is allowed by your tournament or league. If you check their website, they should include very specific guidelines — maybe even a list of makes and models they allow.
What other questions do you have about determining the ideal length and weight of your child’s baseball bat?
Let me know in the comments below!