How do I pick the right sized baseball bat?
This is something that people struggle with at all levels and is our most frequented question. Given that there are so many different models out there with tons of different lengths, weights, and feels picking the right size and weight can be overwhelming but shouldn’t be.
The ultimate goal for a hitter when picking a bat is finding something that feels most comfortable for you, but how do you do that?
Starting at the very beginning, most youth baseball players under the age of 7 will use a 26 or 27 inch bat. A standard rule is that for every 3-4 inches of growth in height, your bat length should increase by an inch. By the time you get to about middle school you most likely want to be using a 29-31 inch bat, depending on your height.
After this point it really starts to depend more on your height and personal preference. High school and college hitters typically usebats anywhere from 31 to 34 inches, but this is quite a wide range.
A basic rule of thumb is that if you place the bat standing up on the ground next to you, your palm should reach the handle of the bat. If you can do this comfortably then you have probably chosen the right bat length. Another test you can do is to put the handle of the bat in the center of your chest and reach your arm out towards the barrel. If you can comfortably reach the barrel of the bat from this position then, again, you’ve probably chosen the right bat length for you.
Bats weights are measured in ounces and are usually referred to by minus or drop weight. Drop weight refers to the difference between the length and weight of a bat. For example a 32 inch bat that weighs 29 ounces is referred to as -3 or drop 3.
Choosing the right bat weight for you can be tricky because many leagues have restrictions on drop weight. Most wood bats come in -2 or -3 sizes, with some youth versions coming in -5, -6. By the time you reach high school, all bats cannot have a greater drop weight than -3, so this is usually a good place to start.
A good way to test if a bat is the right weight for you is to grip the handle and hold the bat straight out in front of you. If you can hold the bat out in this position for 45 seconds without the barrel falling then the bat isn’t too heavy for you.
It’s important to find the right length/weight combination that is the most comfortable for you, but there are a few other things to keep in mind. For instance, people tend to assume that taller players choose longer, heavier bats and while this is often the case, the type of hitter that you are plays a key part in what length/weight combination you should choose.
A longer, lighter bat will provide you with more bat speed and possibly greater plate coverage, but there will beless inertia behind your swing and this results in a loss of power. On the other hand, a shorter, heavier bat may produce slightly less bat speed but much greater inertia,and “pop” because the bat is more dense which in turn creates more power.
All of this information might seem like a lot to process but as mentioned before, the greatest tool to use when choosing the right bat for you is feel. Does itfeel right in my hands when I hold and swing it? These tips are good starting points for someone looking to find the right bat for them, but there is no one better to tell you what bat to use than you.