Choosing a baseball bat can be quite a difficult task with all the options out there. I’ve been a baseball coach for many years and in the recent years, I’ve noticed that the “golfer” syndrome has been present in baseball.
Many golfers don’t get to work on their game as much as they like, so they believe by purchasing the best technology in golf clubs, that their game will automatically improve. There are the super fiber shafts, or over sized heads that cost hundreds for each club.
Unfortunately, youth baseball players have caught on to this syndrome. The technology can definitely help, but it’s not the answer. Players have become too used to relying on technology and it gives them an excuse to become lazy and they forget the real way – practice, practice and practice! In the early 90s there were several studies that said lighter is better for baseball bats. Following these studies, it’s been impossible to find a bat with a differential smaller than -8 when shopping for youth bats.
These studies have completely ignored the kinesiology of the body. They simply just focused on the bat and the ball. I read a great example that discusses how it is not a linear relationship. If a batter uses a 20 oz baseball bat, then switches to a 19 oz bat, does not mean they’ll swing 5% faster! The batter is also losing 5% in mass and they won’t be able to swing hard enough to make up for the loss.
In all my years of coaching, I rarely notice a difference in the bats used. There’s maybe a 5% difference between the old and new bats. The difference between bats that are 1-2 years apart is such a small fraction of a difference.
After analyzing my hitters for many years, I suggest to buy the heaviest bat your child can use, while still swinging with speed. Make sure the size of the bat fits within the little league rules of 2 1/4 inch diameter. A good estimate for a 10 year old is 29 – 32 and -7 to -10 oz from the length selected. A typical 12 year old will probably fit right around 32/25.
Using certain bats can also come back to hurt your children later on, when they’re preparing for college ball. Every bat must be BESR rated to determine the speed of the ball after its hit. This helps protect pitchers. So with that said, almost all BESR bats are created equally.
In conclusion, we know there are many bats out there. You’re better off spending the money on batting lessons, rather than an advanced bat. If your child knows how to hit the ball, the bat won’t matter as much as their form.