Picking Out Youth Baseball Bats
Depending on a player’s strength as a batter, perhaps no other piece of equipment will have such a pronounced effect on young players’ performance than youth baseball bats. Strong batters need bats that are well suited to their needs as well as to their strengths as players, and the only way to get there is to try out a number of bats to see what a young player’s preferences are.
How to Choose Youth Baseball Bats
While there are subjective metrics you can use to determine the proper end load or length to weight ratio in accordance with a player’s preferences, there are a number of factors to crunch to determine the suitability of youth bats in the first place.
Have the player stand and grip the bat. With the player standing upright, have him (or her) extend the bat away from his or her body, holding it by the grip with one hand and raising it until the bat is parallel with the ground. The player should be able to hold the bat in this manner for a minimum of 30 seconds - if not longer. Most sources will tell you 45 seconds or a minute. If a player cannot maintain this attitude, the bat is either too long, too heavy, or both.
To measure the proper length for a batter, have the player whole the same bat with his or her fingers cupped over the end of the barrel. The knob of the bat should extend from the fingertips to the middle of the chest. If the bat does not fit accordingly, or nearly, it’s too long or too small for the player to use comfortably, all other preferences aside.
If you can determine that the bat fits in length and weight according to these quick and easy tests, you can move on to some other considerations.
After you’ve determined suitable length and weight, you can focus on the material. Typically, youth bats are made from wood, aluminum, or some kind of composite material, often including carbon fiber.
Wood bats require a lot of skill and precision to use and also to make. They can be heavier than alternatives and often have a smaller and less forgiving sweet spot, but in the hands of the right player, they can be deadly. At the same time, they are not as resilient as other materials, often shattering in response to mishits.
Aluminum bats are extremely durable and fairly lightweight. They are nearly indestructible and can be manufactured to precise degrees of qualification, making them suitable for skilled players. Generally speaking, however, their key attribute lies in their toughness.
Finally, there are composite material or carbon fiber bats, which can be made very lightweight, fairly durable, and can also be made to offer a high degree of performance. Because the bat manufacturer can play with the flexibility and thickness of the materials involved, composite bats often offer superior performance and durability in one package. A composite bat can be made balanced or end-loaded, flexible or stiff, or even lightweight or weighted for maximum energy transfer. It’s ultimately up to the player where his or her preferences lie; handle and swing a number of different types of bats to see what works best.
Endload vs. Balance
End loaded bats are bats that are imbalanced toward the end of the barrel - that is, they are ‘end-loaded’ as the name would suggest. They are great for strong hitters because they offer a great degree of energy transfer. However, some players feel they lack the maneuverability and precision of a balanced bat.
Balanced bats, by contrast, are much lighter in the hand and more responsive than most end-loaded bats. They are better for precision hitters that need to maintain a great degree of control over the bat and the hit than heavy hitters who focus on power. Each style has its benefits and players must practice with each to determine what works best with a given skill set.
At HB Sports, we offer a number of youth baseball bats to satisfy a large range of preferences. Whether your kid likes a heavily end loaded composite bat best, or the light and responsive feel of a balanced aluminum bat, we have options to satisfy.
Our catalog of youth bats is also composed of a huge selection from the most highly esteemed bat manufacturers in the world. We offer plenty of bats by Louisville Slugger, Rawlings, DeMarini, Easton, and more in our collection.
Not sure where you or your kid stand on what type of bat to use? There’s no replacement for practice, but it also can’t hurt to ask the pros. Reach out to us and we’d be glad to fill you in with some more information on the different types of bats and what they’re good for. Give us a call at 1-888-540 BATS today and we’ll get you started picking out the perfect bat.
- Christopher Bastien