Baseball truly is America’s past-time. It’s a fantastic sport (I’m a little biased, but still). It teaches children to play as a team and leave individual statistics behind, gives great hand to eye coordination skills and keeps them in good physical condition.
But no matter what all the psychiatrists and family book writers say, it is much more fun to win than to lose, and it is way more fun to hit the ball well than to strike out or hit short hoppers every time you get to bat.
Importance of Selecting a Bat
Selecting the right baseball bat is a rather tedious process, as it involves the use of many different bats to get to the one that is best for you. (To all my Harry Potter fans: Choosing a baseball bat is similar to selecting a wand.) You must be prepared to do some research beforehand so you know what to look for. You may even want to consult some bat reviews, something like this site (that specific page is for a type of gymnastics equipment, but you get the idea).
Factors to Consider When Picking Your Bat
A baseball bat that is made of aluminum, wood or composite metal each have different characteristics and feels to them. One model may feel better to swing with, but when hitting the ball, you may find that it hurts, or does not get as much distance as it should. But, before finding which material you want your bat to be made of, you need to determine the length and weight of the bat.
Picking a baseball bat starts with finding the right weight and length for your swing. A general rule of bat manufacture is that a bat weighs one ounce for every inch in length, and most bats are 30 to 35 inches long. There are shorter bats for the younger children, and at that age, composition does not really matter, just go with the bat that your child likes the best when hitting a ball. For older players in leagues, over 10 years of age with a few year’s experience in league play, then finding the best bat for their swing is more important.
Finding the best baseball bat for yourself may be a measure of going out to the batting cages and trying each of the three types of bats, and finding which one feels better when hitting a hard thrown ball. Once you know your preferred composition — say maple wood — you can try the different lengths, to see which length gives you best coverage of the home plate. Your next step is to find the weight that suits you best.
There are different weights available for bats, aside from the general rule of one ounce per inch of bat length. You can buy a +3, a -2, or other variations on weights. A plus three, 32 inch bat would weigh 35 ounces, 32 ounces for the 1-to-1 ratio, and 3 extra ounces for the +3. You find your best weight by swinging for home runs in the batting cages, or at practice. Use the bat that you produce best with until you find that “perfect” baseball bat.
Note: If your child is beginning little league, we definitely recommend starting with an aluminum bat. This is pretty much standard nowadays from little league up through college, unless your child’s team plays in a wood-bat league/tournament.
Where to Buy a Baseball Bat
Sporting Goods Store
If you are not in a league or belong to a baseball team, and are simply looking for a baseball bat for yourself or your child, one place you can go to buy a bat is a sporting goods store. Some stores even have hitting cages out back, and you can try the different makes, models, lengths and weights of bats.
The potential downside to sporting goods stores is they can sometimes have a limited selection, depending on the store. If you’d like a wider selection, with more options, colors, styles, lengths and weights, then you can find great bats online at sites like Amazon.
While buying a baseball bat online means you can’t test out the bat before purchase, if you already have an idea of the bat you’re looking for, buying the bat online can be your best option in terms of pricing and convenience. Many online stores — again like Amazon — have great return policies, so you can exchange the bat for a different one if for whatever reason you discovered the bat wasn’t for you.
My Top Baseball Bat Pick
To give you guys an idea of what to look for, I selected my current favorite bat — the Rawlings Raptor (check it out on Amazon).
This is a very high quality bat at an affordable price. Not only does it have a great feel, but your child will love the stylish coloring. I highly recommend it.
Once you decide on and buy the best baseball bat for you (or your child), get out there and start practicing!
Swing batter batter, swing.