What Size Bat Should I Choose?
Choosing the Right Bat Length
There are lots of reasons why hitters choose various bat lengths, but most hitters want to get a bat that is the perfect size. If your bat is too long or too short, then it will affect your swing. When the bat is just right, then you have control over your swing and will get better results. You essentially put yourself in position to take charge of the pitches being thrown to you.
The rule of thumb for measuring bat length is to have the hitter stand up straight in their cleats, stand the bat up right along one side of the hitter and have the hitter reach down for the bat. If the hitter’s palm can grab the knob of the bat, then the bat is the right length.
You can also use the chest measurement technique by placing the knob of the bat against the middle of the hitter’s chest and extending the bat out horizontally, parallel to the ground. If the hitter can grab the barrel of the bat, then the bat is the right length. The hitter only needs to be able to grab the very beginning of the barrel for this to work.
Another way to measure bat length that will give you an actual number is to measure the distance from the middle of the hitter’s chest to the tip of their outstretched fingers. It is important for them to be standing up straight and have their arm fully extended to get an accurate measurement.
For little sluggers, there are a couple of quick rules you can use to find the bats that are perfect for them. If your hitter weighs 60 pounds or less, then let them try a 26 to 29-inch bat to see which one feels best. If your hitter is over 60 pounds, then their ideal bat lies somewhere in the range of 28 to 32-inches long.
Choosing the Right Bat Weight
Bat weight is actually measured in a negative number called the drop weight. When you see a 30-inch bat that is a -13, then the bat weighs 17 ounces. Bats get heavier the closer the drop weight gets to zero. Bat weights are done this way to make it easier for manufacturers to make several types of the same length bat. A manufacturer could make several 30-inch bats, and you would be able to separate them primarily by drop weight.
As we discussed earlier, power hitters usually benefit from a heavier bat. But it is always best to choose a bat that fits your game. Some bats distribute their weight evenly throughout the barrel, while others put a large percentage of the weight in the barrel end cap. It is important to try a variety of weighted bats because sometimes an off-balanced bat can work well with your swing and give you more distance and accuracy.
When choosing a bat weight, a hitter needs to remember that contact with the ball affects the ability to maintain control of the swing. If you do not rely on power for your swing, then a heavy bat combined with ball contact can make it difficult for you to create a smooth swing. Always choose the bat that feels comfortable at all points in your swing to give you the best results.