Points of Consideration in Selecting Youth Baseball Bats
Youth baseball players must use bats that meet the regulations of the governing bodies that oversee their leagues and tournaments. That makes the most important factor to consider in the selection of youth baseball bats is the certification. On all of our category and product pages, you can see what the relevant certifications are for a given bat. That, however, is the easiest factor to account for, and there is much more to keep in mind when picking out a bat for a younger player.
Length is one of the key features of a youth baseball bat and will dramatically impact a bat’s balance, performance, and handling. While there are guidelines you can follow to be sure a bat is sized appropriately for a youth player, nothing beats a good old-fashioned test.
Have the player in question stand upright and place the barrel of the bat at his chest where his arm meets it, near the armpit. Now have the player reach forward on the barrel. The player should easily be able to grip the midsection of the barrel. This gives a rough impression of whether or not a bat is sized appropriately.
Another test you can perform is to have the player stand in a T-pose with the arms outstretched to the sides away from the body and level with the ground. Place the knob of the bat at the center of his chest with the barrel extending out away from the body in the same fashion as the player’s arms. In this instance, the player’s fingers should reach roughly to the end of the bat.
If you can account for bat length using these tests, then there’s a good chance that all else considered, you’ve landed on a youth bat that has the proper length. Just remember it’s sized appropriately and in accordance with the league rules.
Like bat length, bat weight will impact a bat’s performance and fitness to a youth player. Also like length, weight is regulated, along with weight drop. There are guidelines for appropriate bat weight, just as there are with weight, but similarly, you can get a rough idea by the following test.
Have the player stand upright and grip the bat by the grip right at the base of the knob. Then, have the player stretch his arm out forward away from the body, either in front or to the side. The bat should be held level with the ground for as long as possible.
If the bat is sized appropriately for the player, he should be able to hold the bat with his arm outstretched without fatigue for at least 20 seconds. If he can't, the bat is too heavy. If it’s too easy for him, you can add some ounces to the bat - provided that is legal for the league.
Swing Weight and Weight Drop: Balanced vs. End Loaded
Another factor that affects the swing weight of a given bat is the weight drop. Weight drop, which is the difference between the bat’s length in inches and weight in ounces. It is also regulated according to specific bat standards and league rules.
A bat with a smaller weight drop will feel heavier in the hands than a bat with a larger weight drop, even if the two bats weigh exactly the same. This is called being end-loaded, and a heavily end-loaded bat enables batters to put a lot of power behind the swing. Conversely, a balanced bat will be more responsive and easier to control, which is a trait that some players prefer.
Generally speaking, barrel diameter has the ability to increase the size of the sweet spot and the forgiveness of the bat. A big barrel bat can make it easier for a player to connect with a pitch and improve their chances of keying in on the sweet spot. However, it is also heavily regulated by specific leagues, so just make sure of the league rules when shopping.
Many youth bats are made single piece aluminum bats or single piece composite bats, in order to meet the requirements of youth leagues. There’s a good reason for this, beyond the league rules. Wood bats are unforgiving and finicky, and a mishit can cause pain or even cause the bat to shatter.
Keep in mind that, league rules notwithstanding, composite and alloy bats are a lot more forgiving for youth players.
Bat certification is another way to know if a youth baseball bat is appropriate or not for a given league, although it is not specific to the player. Here at HB Sports, we have large collections of USA baseball bats, USSSA bats, BBCOR bats, from top brands like Louisville Slugger, Marucci, DeMarini, Easton, and others.
Check out our collection and get in touch with us if you need more assistance picking out a youth bat. You can reach us anytime at 1-888-540-BATS!
- Blog Admin