Best Youth Baseball Bats: How To Choose One?
A lot goes into picking a baseball bat. It requires assessment of not only the bat itself, but the player too. Different players will require different variations of baseball bat when it comes to length, width, weight, material and so forth. It can be confusing and daunting, but the perfect bat is out there waiting for you.
To get the most out of the bat for a young player, they need to feel comfortable with it. You may end up buying 2 or 3 baseball bats before they can truly feel at ease with their ‘weapon of choice’. Let’s go through each variation and help you find the right one:
Weight and Length
The weight and length of the bat is a crucial element; the taller the player, the longer the bat they will require. The stronger the player, the heavier they will want the bat to be.
If you buy a bat that is too heavy, not only will your kid feel really uncomfortable while playing, but his hits will be mediocre at best due to low swing speed. A good rule of thumb is to look for bats that weigh anywhere between 2.5 and 5 pounds.
A bat’s length is often compared to how heavy it is. This is done by subtracting the weight of the bat from the length. For example, a bat that is 27 inches long and weighs 15 ounces would be considered a “-12” bat.
A good way to judge this is to rest the head of the bat on the ground; the knob of the bat handle should rest easily in the player’s palm. The more easily it does this, the more suitable the length of the bat is. If you can get this right, you’re well on your way to finding one of the best youth baseball bats for your youngster.
A longer bat translates into greater reach, which means that hitting balls gets much easier. However, the longer the bat is, the heavier it gets, so this brings us to the weight issue again.
Since you’re looking for a bat for your kid, our advice is to find the one that offers an optimal combination of length and weight that will help him reach peak performance.
If you want a youth baseball bat, you’re obviously heading for a youth league; youth leagues generally require you to have a metal bat. Metal bats come in two forms – one-piece and two-piece. One-piece bats are made from one type of metal, whereas two-piece bats are made from two types; one for the barrel of the bat, and one for the handle. One-piece bats are generally more suited to the harder hitter because there is less give.
Two-piece bats are a little more flexible which makes it more favourable to hitters who generate less power. Two-piece bats can possibly come in different forms; the barrel of the bat can sometimes be produced from composite materials, which produces a bigger sweet spot. A larger sweet spot means more power, which makes composite two-piece bats popular with power hitters.
If your kid is 12 or under, he should use a 2 ¼’’ barrel. This is the standard barrel size in youth bats for most leagues out there, including Little League and Dixie Youth. Other independent leagues prefer 2 ¾ ‘’ barrels, but not higher.
In general, baseball bats are made of one or more of the following materials: aluminum, composite, alloy, or hybrid. Aluminum bats are lightweight and relatively durable. Composite and alloy bats are far more durable, but also heavier. Hybrid bats are a combination of alloy and composite.
We recommend sticking to aluminum-based bats due to the added lightweight benefit. If you prefer durability over flexibility, you can opt for composite and/or alloy-based bats.
As we pointed out in the first part of our article, each league plays by its own rules. Even if you stumble across the perfect bat in the market, always check with your local league’s requirements before buying it. This will save you a lot of money and hassle.