Not sure how to go about bat shopping for your young slugger? It may feel daunting, but you’ve come to the right place. In fact, we’ve made it our goal here at JustBats to alleviate the stresses that come with shopping for the best baseball bat or fastpitch bat for your child. We will equip you with the questions you need to ask and the information you need to know. So without any further delay, let’s take a look at what you should know when shopping for a new bat.
How to Shop for a Great Bat
Understand Your League’s Requirements
When shopping for your son or daughter, the first thing you need to know is what bat certifications their league(s) requires. Nothing is worse than buying a bat that isn’t allowed for play. Most top fastpitch softball bats come standard with every bat stamp you’ll ever need. Baseball, however, is a different story.
The two primary leagues in youth baseball are USA Baseball and USSSA Baseball. USA Baseball’s bat requirements are more stringent than USSSA, requiring their bats to perform similarly to a wooden baseball bat. Meanwhile, USSSA bats are allowed a much higher threshold for performance. If you have the option to choose either, always go with a USSSA bat over a USA bat.
If you are interested in learning more about the differences between the two leagues, be sure to check out our Bat Buying Guide.
How Competitive is Your Player?
It’s often helpful to determine the competitiveness of your team. If you are shopping for a recreational league, you likely don’t need to overspend to find a suitable bat. In fact, you can find a slew of quality baseball bats for less than $100 at JustBats.
If you are in the market for competitive or travel ball bats, you should determine a budget you are comfortable spending. This will enable you to narrow down your bat options and hone in on researching every model. Feel free to use our full array of verified bat reviews to help aid your search. Otherwise, you can contact our team of Bat Experts. They specialize in assisting parents find the perfect bat for their kids.
Find the Right Size Bat
Having your player swing a bat that is either too big or too small can cause problems in the short term and down the road. Avoid these issues by taking the extra time to determine the correct size bat. We recommend that you ask one of your player’s coaches for guidance on the appropriate size bat for your hitter. If that doesn’t work, take advantage of our Bat Coach. It’s a simple series of questions to help get you in the right ballpark for bats.
Another option is to utilize our Bat Assurance Program. Add it to your bat purchase to begin a 30-day, risk-free tryout with the bat(s) of your choosing. This allows your hitter to get a feel for the bat without fully committing ahead of time.
What Type of Bat Fits Their Game?
When it comes to correctly shopping for a young baseball player, it’s important to understand the style of hitter you are shopping for.
Aluminum Alloy bats, like the Marucci CAT9, tend to provide additional power for stronger hitters. However, they often produce more negative vibrations or “stingers” when not hit on the sweet spot.
Composite bats, like the DeMarini CF, will be more forgiving and offer a more prominent sweet spot on the barrel. The downfall with composite bats is that they generally take a while to fully break in. This can mean hundreds of swings before performing at the same level as an alloy bat (straight from the wrapper.
Please note that the majority of fastpitch softball bats will feature a composite design. This material tends to offer more “bounce back” when used to hit the denser softball.
Hybrid bats, like the Louisville Slugger Select, can serve as a nice middle ground between the two traditional styles outlined above. They provide hitters with an alloy barrel for power and a composite handle to nullify negative vibrations; however, the size of their sweet spots can be limited.
Older players will often develop a preference among the three styles of bat listed above. If your player is partial to one design, we always recommend you stick with it. Because, after all, the more comfortable and confident a hitter is at the plate, the better.
Don’t Overthink It
The final piece of advice we’d like to offer bat shoppers is the simplest. Don’t overthink the bat shopping process. Parents all around the world sometimes become paralized with the fear of not buying “the best bat.” At the end of the day, all of our bats are held to performance standards and each has been tested and approved. So find a bat that is right for your player (and their league) and empower them to become the best hitter they can be!
We hope this helps as you search for the right bat for your child. If you ever have any questions or need guidance, please reach out to us. We love talking about baseball and softball, and we really love to set our hitters up for success. We’re JustBats, and we’re with you from Click to Hit!