While there’s a vast number of baseball equipment and supplies to consider buying, there’s nothing that puts a smile on the face of your young baseball player quite like a brand new bat. Below is some bat buying advice and resources, but the first step is to determine whether or not your Little Leaguer actually needs a new bat. Now is the time to inspect his/her bat that was used during the season. Look for dings, dents, and cracks, as well as damaged end caps, and loose knobs. Also, determine whether you feel your Little Leaguer has advanced enough to properly handle a slightly longer and heavier bat.
Each bat manufacturer has its own colors and styles, but the look of the bat is much less important than the feel of the bat in the player’s hands. Weight and length directly influence a child’s ability to swing correctly and make contact with the ball.
“Picking the right bat for a player is all about the experience,” said Calin Thomas, Director of Sports Marketing for Easton-Bell Sports. “Whenever possible, parents and their young players should visit a retailer or a batting cage to swing or hit with a variety of bats. The right bat is about comfort level.”
While choosing the correct bat is certainly a personal decision, there are helpful guidelines:
When selecting the proper bat length, a good rule of thumb for any age group is to place the handle end of your bat in the middle of your chest and extend it out toward your index finger with your arm extended to your side. If the bat goes far beyond your index finger, it’s probably too long. If it is around your palm or wrist, the bat is too small.
The right weight is very much how you feel. If you take multiple swings and the bat feels heavy or begins to drop, the bat is probably too heavy. Try holding the bat handle and extending your arm to your side. If you can’t hold the bat extended for 30-45 seconds, the bat might be too heavy for you. Check the drop of the bat, too. Drop refers to the length of the bat minus the weight of the bat. The higher the drop, usually the lighter the bat is. Again, some leagues and/or programs have a limit on how much the drop can be so always check your rule book.
To ensure the baseball bat is acceptable, look for the APPROVED FOR PLAY IN Little League® mark on the barrel. All players playing in the ALYB 12U, 10U, 8U and 6U divisions must use bats with no more than a 2 ¼-inch barrel diameter.