Picking the right bat for you
When picking the right bat to you, there are a couple of things to consider. We'll be breaking them down one by one for you as we go along. Focusing on weight, length, material, drop, and feel.
A bat's weight has a bigger impact on your game than you'd think. The weight of your bat determines how fast you'll be able to swing the bat and what kind of power you'll be able to get from the bat. The general rule of thumb is, the higher the weight, the more home run power you're going to get, the lower the weight, the faster you'll be able to swing your bat and the more safe hits you'll get.
Generally higher weight bats will be chosen by your power hitters or your "stronger" players to get more reward for their risk, while lower weight bats will be chosen by your safe on base "faster" players.
Bats come in a wide variety of lengths, usually ranging from 24" (T-Ball) to 36" (Fungo Bats). The length determines how close or far you'll be from the plate. Usually once a player is comfortable with a length, they stick with that length for the remainder of their career.
Two of the ways to measure if the length of your bat is the correct size for you are as follows:
- Stand up straight with the bat against your side. The bat should reach your wrist to ensure a comfortable fit.
- Hold the bottom of the bat with your outstretched arm, and have the knob of the bat lay against your chest. The bat should be at the middle of your chest and you should be comfortably be able to grab the bottom of the bat.
Wooden bats have already been covered in our "Wooden baseball bat information" section, so we'll be focusing on alloy and composite bats.
- Lighter swing weight
- No break in period required
- Cost effective
- Wide sweet spot
- Stiff compared to composite bats
- Tend to weaken as they get used
- "Rolls Royce" of bats
- Little to no sting
- Better Performance
- Gets stronger as they get used
- Wide sweet spot
- Unusable in very cold temperatures
- Expensive compared to alloy bats
- Break in period of at least 100 - 200 hits required
The word "drop" is a baseball/softball terminology that refers to the length of a bat minus the weight of the bat.
In baseball your most common drops are -9, -5, and -3.
In softball your most common drops are -10, -8, and -6.
Drops work opposite to the weight of a bat, where the higher the drop, the lighter the bat, and vice versa.
The higher drop bats are usually for your slap bunters or safe hitters that like sprinting around the bases, where the lower drops are usually for your home run hitters that enjoy nothing less but taking a leisurely stroll around the bases.
The most important part of a bat is how it feels in your hands or how it makes you feel on the field. Once you've found a bat that you like, you usually stick with the specs of that bat, if not that specific bat for the rest of your career.
Most players will stick with a certain turn model, weight, length, material, or even brand, throughout their whole career. The most important thing is that they feel comfortable with the bat that they chose and that the bat makes them feel good on the field of play.