As you learn about various benefits of baseball, you hope your kid try it too for improved mental and physical health. So then, it is you shop for necessary baseball equipment. The most important equipment should be the bat. Finding the best youth bats is no way easy. Consider following factors before you pocket hundreds of dollars for a high-quality bat:
If you buy a bat for your kid to practice alone, this is not important. However, with bats used for games and competitions, there can be certain rules and regulations about size and material. So, make sure the bat is legal to play. Take note that different rules can apply for different age groups. When you are not sure, just ask the coach or an expert for advice.
There are two main types of youth baseball bats, which are categorized according to the player’s age.
- Tee-Ball Bats: they are used by kids of around 5-7 (or younger). Their barrels (the hitting area of a bat) are about 2 and 1/4 inch in diameter. They are quite lightweight, making it easier to little kid to swing and handle.
- Little League Bats are meant for children from 7 to 13. They are longer than T-Ball Bats.
Of course, the age range indicated here is just for reference because there are 5-6 kids that can handle long bats with ease thanks to their physique and ability.
There most common bat materials are alloy and composite material. Wood is no longer as popular as it was before.
Allow (or metal and aluminum) bats are used by most young players because they are powerful and easy to swing due to their lightweight design. They are also hard to break: upon great impact, they tend to dent. Buyers can make a choice between high quality metal alloy and regular alloy – they are all solid options.
The downside of this alloy bats is that they tend to have smaller sweet spot than composite bats.
Composite bats are very durable and have large sweet spot. They give the feel of wooden bats and reduce vibration to the player’s hands. On the other hand, they are more expensive than alloy bats (plus break-in time is required if you wish them to perform well).
This classic material is rarely used for youth baseball bats. Wood’s unique grain structure provides great flexibility for the bat and also great feel. However, wooden bats are considered too heavy for kids; plus they can break during the game or practice.
Again, the choice of material should comply with the league’s regulation.
To find the right bat size, you need to consider the kid’s height, weight and age also. Make sure you have the data before shopping for a bat. You can easily find sizing chart at stores or online. For example: Kids of 10 should use bat of 28-29 long. However, you can choose a model that is a little bit longer or shorter than the recommended size because it should based on the kid’s specific physique, not a general estimate. If you kid is taller than his age, a longer bat can be fine.
Weight does matter in choosing a baseball bat. It is best to let the kid try holding the bat and swinging it several times. There is no use buying a cool bat that the kid cannot even lift or hold still for about 20 seconds. That being said, a heavy bat can provide more power; just not too heavy. Children with weak muscle strength should go with lightweight bats. In both cases, make sure the kid can swing the bat comfortably.
The length to weight ratio (or “drop”) should be in the range of -7 to -13.5 (the higher the number, the more lightweight the bat is).
Basically, strong and experienced players should go for heavy bats with smaller barrels while newbies should opt for light bats with smaller barrel.
Look for a thicker handle if you look for a bat that offers more stability. With thinner handles, players can react and move hands quicker.