Hitting a baseball is certainly not an easy thing to do. It takes a great amount of hand-eye coordination and skill, to say the least. You also have to hold your bat properly, stand correctly in the batter’s box and swing through the ball the right way too. Even if you do all of these things correctly you stay may not hit the ball well if you are not using the right size bat. Using the right bat is as critical as any other part of the hitting process. So how do you know you are using the correct bat for you? We are going to give you some tips on how to select the right baseball bat for yourself in this article.
DETERMINING YOU OR YOUR CHILD’S IDEAL BAT LENGTH
The first step in determining what is the right bat for you to use is to determine the proper length bat for you to use. It is important to note that no matter what size you are they do not make bats smaller than 27 inches long or longer than 34 inches in length. This is so bigger players do not use super long bats that give them a competitive advantage.
We have attached a chart that is a good reference means to start with. That is not to say you can’t switch to a longer or shorter bat as you gain experience playing the game of baseball. It is not uncommon for bigger players to use smaller bats or smaller players to like using a longer size bat.
This chart holds true for both children and adults alike. You simply have to know your height and weight to use it.
There are a few quick checks to do before you purchase the bat to make sure it’s the right size for you.
- If the bat is for your child place it on the ground next to them. If the bat goes more than an inch past their hips that bat is probably too long for them to be able to swing well.
- For adults, you can do one of two bat length checks. The first is to hold one end of your bat in the center of your chest and have it go out to your side. If the bat fits from the center of your chest to your outstretched fingertips that bat is the right size for you. You can also place the knob of the bat against your chest facing away from you; if you can reach forward far enough to grab the bat’s barrel then it is the right size bat for you too.
PROPER BAT WEIGHT IS IMPORTANT TOO
The next thing you will have to do is find the correct bat weight for you for the length of bat that found was right for you. Many people overlook bat weight when picking out a bat but it plays a big role in your or your child’s hitting performance.
If you use a bat that is too heavy you may not generate enough bat speed to hit fast pitched baseballs. You also may not be able to control the bat well enough to move it to different places in the strike zone that a ball is pitched. Too heavy a bat will also make you uncomfortable when swinging which is bad too.
Too light a baseball bat may make you swing too fast and sacrifice some power because its all-important barrel may not be thick enough to drive the baseball a long way.
Baseball bat weights are measured in what is called a drop rate. A drop rate is simply expressed as a number that is subtracted from the length of the bat to tell you how much that bat weighs. For instance; a baseball bat that has a drop rate of (- 5) and is a 32-inch length will be a 27-ounce bat. Drop weight is always expressed as a number. You will see higher drop weights for younger players because drop rates become regulated as you get into high school and college baseball.
Here are some very common drop rates found in different leagues:
KNOW YOUR LEAGUES BAT REGULATIONS
These days’ leagues usually have strict rules for the bats that can be used in them. You better know what these are before purchasing any baseball bat for yourself or your child. You certainly don’t want to spend $400 on a baseball bat only to find out you can’t use it.
You should become familiar with your league’s allowed safety factors such as BBCOR (Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution) and BPF (bat performance factor) numbers. These indicate the maximum allowed force that a ball can achieve after being struck by a baseball bat. Some leagues even require a special stamp on a baseball bat that shows it is approved by a specific sanctioning body such as USSSA.
If you follow the guidelines here you should have no problem finding a bat that will work well for you or your child when playing the game of baseball.