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01/14/2016

Keys To Buying A Youth Baseball Bat

Keys To Buying A Youth Baseball Bat

The new season is right around the corner. Whether you’re a youth baseball player looking to improve on last year or a helpful parent who wants their little All-Star to be as prepared as possible, you already know the importance of a good baseball bat.

But what should you keep in mind when buying a new Youth Baseball Bat?


First of all, make sure the bat is legal for play. Visit Little League Baseball, Dixie Baseball, Babe Ruth League, or USSSA depending on the League you play in for specifics on what bats are eligible. Rules regarding factors like length to weight ratio, barrel materials, and barrel diameter can all vary depending on your league - although the vast majority of what we consider Youth Baseball Leagues will require the use of a 2 1/4 inch barrel diameter for players under the age of 12.

After that, consider whether a wood or metal/composite bat makes the most sense. Most youth players use metal/composite bats in competition because they offer better performance and durability while wood bats are very popular for training in the cage or may be required in special Wood Bat Tournaments.



But, selecting the right youth baseball bat really comes down to three key elements:

 

Length

Let's start with the length of the bat. A longer bat gives you greater reach, allowing you to easily hit balls on the other side of the plate. But selecting a longer bat generally means that the barrel will be more difficult to control.

Finding the right length bat for your player is pretty simple if you know their height and weight. To make the process even easier, we've creating the Bat Coach sizing tool. Simply plug in your player's height and weight, and Bat Coach will recommend a range of lengths and show you all of the bats on our website that match your search criteria. You can even narrow down the results further by specifying which materials, brands, or price ranges you're considering!

Bat Coach Sizing Tool at JustBats.com 

Weight

Choosing the correct weight of a bat is all about balance. The heavier the bat is, the more power the player can generate. But if a bat is too heavy, the hitter can loss valuable swing speed and control over the barrel through the hitting zone. 

It can often be difficult to suggest the appropriate weight for a particular player because their height and weight might not always be indicative of their strength level. But thankfully, most youth baseball bats are only produced in a small range of length to weight ratios (-10, -11, -12, -13).

 

Length to Weight Ratio (Drop)

OK, there are technically two key elements to selecting a Youth Baseball Bat. But we field so many questions about Length to Weight Ratio or Drop Weight, that we feel it deserves to be explained here. 

The length to weight ratio, or drop weight of a bat, is simply a representation of the difference between its length and weight. And bats that have a greater length to weight ratio will have a lighter overall weight. (ie a -12 Length to Weight Ratio is lighter than a -10 Length to Weight Ratio)

Say you're looking for a 32 inch bat, and a coach has instructed you to find one that is a "Drop 12". With a simple formula (Length - Drop Weight = Weight) , you can gather that he/she is telling you to find a 32 inch / 20 ounce bat (32 - (12) = 20). It seems that the most common problem arises when someone is absolutely set on finding a 32 inch / 22 ounce bat (which makes it a -10) that also offers a -12 length to weight ratio.


It just can't be.

If you know the length and weight of the bat you're going to purchase, you can see that the length to weight ratio it will have is already set. That's just math. But it's important to know that some youth baseball leagues may restrict how light a bat can be by only accepting bats that have certain length to weight ratios (ie no bats with a length to weight ratio greater than -12, or in the case of High School / College, greater than -3). Stipulations like this are one of the many reasons we always recommend checking with your league office /official / director to ensure the bat you're about to purchase works for you.



*  Also note:  If this isn't your player's first year of baseball and they've been swinging a particular weight bat effectively already, we generally recommend increasing the weight 1-2 ounces every season (in order to help the player transition to leagues that restrict lighter bats). 


Buying the right bat is an important part of your child’s continued baseball growth, so if you still have questions, do not hesitate to give the pros at JustBats a call or visit our Bat Buying Guide for more details.

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