Few decisions impact your game as much as choosing the perfect bat. You want a bat that’s the right size, right weight and right length for you–and within your budget. Improvements in technology have given today’s ball players more options than ever, so you’re sure to find a bat that feels like it was custom made for you. You just have to do your homework to find it.
Unless you’re in the pros or playing in a wood-bat league, we’ll assume that you’ll be swinging aluminum or composite. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making your selection:
Weight: As a general rule, bigger, stronger players usually prefer a heavier bat for maximum power. Smaller players usually benefit from a lighter bat that allows greater bat speed. To determine the weight that’s right for you, swing a variety of bats and see how much weight you’re comfortable with.
Length: Length and weight combine for peak performance. A longer bat gives you greater reach, allowing you to hit balls on the other side of the plate. But remember that a longer bat may be heavier, and the extra weight could slow you down. Like checking the weight, you need to swing bats of different lengths to decide what length best suits you.
Barrel diameter: Most players 12 and under should use a 21⁄4" barrel. This is the standard barrel size for Dixie Youth and Little League baseball, although some leagues and travel teams are using larger 23⁄4" barrels. High school and college players are restricted to a maximum barrel diameter of 25⁄8".
League requirements: Virtually all leagues have their own bat requirements and restrictions. For example, high school and college requirements call for BBCOR-certified bats. To avoid costly surprises, make sure you know all league requirements before you go bat shopping.