Want to get your kid interested in baseball? Gift them the best youth baseball bat. These are models that would give your child the confidence that, with enough practice and patience, they’d be able to hit those home runs they have always dreamed about. Such bats would also ensure your little one’s comfort. Here’s how.
The best youth baseball bats have a massive sweet spot and are made of incredibly sturdy materials. While the former will help your child hit home runs, the latter would minimize the transfer of vibrations between the barrel and the handle.
But how do you get such a bat for your little one? That’s where this article comes into play. We have listed several factors you need to consider when buying a youth baseball bat. Some of them are those you might already be aware of. Others might have skipped your attention. Yet both must influence your final selection.
What are the parts of a baseball bat?
Here’s a quick anatomy of a baseball bat:
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How to Choose the Best Youth Baseball Bats
Here are multiple factors you need to consider when choosing a youth baseball bat:
Material of construction
Most wood baseball bats are made of one of three types of wood:
- Ash: Those of you who have never used a wood bat before will find ash bats easy to use. They are inexpensive, offer more flex, and their multiple wood strands stay together even when the bat falls apart. On the flip side, ash bats are susceptible to flaking apart when hit on the wrong side.
- Maple: Maple wood bats are incredibly dense and can help the perfectly hit ball travel farther. They don’t flake as well and most of them have a ‘trophy shine’, which will help set these bats apart on the field. However, they weigh heavier and are difficult to swing for those with weak forearms.
- Birch: Such models are incredibly forgiving on mis-hits and have the flexibility that lets them impart more ‘whip’ to their shots. That doesn’t mean they have no shortcoming. Birch bats are soft and require a few days to ‘break-in’. And their softness also has an adverse impact on the ball’s exit speed.
One of the reasons why many players are unhappy with wood bats is that they tend to break regularly. Something as innocuous as turning their label off-centre could allow them to give way, even in slow pitch baseball.
Which is something you won’t have to worry about with aluminum bats. They are also much lighter than their wood counterparts. This imparts these bats with faster swing speeds and lets them hit the ball a farther distance.
That’s not where the good news ends. Aluminum alloy bats also have a bigger barrel and an even bigger sweet spot. You can therefore count on them to increase your batting percentage and help your batting average go north.
Composite bats are made out of a mixture of graphite, carbon fiber, fiberglass and in rare cases Kevlar. They are available in both one- and two-piece designs – thereby letting the player pick one suiting their playing style.
They last longer than wood bats but break down faster when compared to their aluminum counterparts. These bats tend to break upon abuse or misuse, unlike aluminum bats which don’t break but dent.
There’s one last thing you might want to know about composite bats. Their performance goes south in cold weather conditions and these bats require up to 200 hits to break in. Your child would thus have to be a little patient with them at first.
Weight and Drop Weight
Choosing whether you want your kid’s bat to be lightweight or heavy is a matter of their personal preference. Little ones who are still learning the ropes of the game might want to side with the former. Slightly grown up kids may prefer testing their forearms with heavier bats.
That is also the case with a bat’s drop weight – which is the difference between its weight and its length. Models with a bigger drop are lightweight and are thus easier to handle and swing for beginners. Those that have a reduced drop are mostly the choice of veterans looking to impart sheer power to their shots.
Length of the bat
Picking the right length youth baseball bat is crucial for your kid’s game. Models that are too large for their liking won’t be easier to swing. Those that are too small, meanwhile, won’t let them cover the whole strike zone and would thus restrict the shots they can play.
Here are two ways you can select the correct length bat for your kid:
- Make your kid stand with their back against a wall. Place a bat against their leg and if it’s reaching their mid-hip, the length is suitable for them.
- Once again make your kid stand straight against a solid object. Ask them to place the bat’s knob at the center of their chest and extend the barrel in their eyesight’s direction. If they can touch its end with their fingertips, then its length is right for them.
That part of baseball that is made for hitting balls is its barrel. It is where your child would want the ball to land in order to help it cover more hitting distance. Barrel diameters are available in various sizes and are measured in inches.
You cannot pick any barrel diameter you like. Little League bat rules stipulate that all bats used in one of its four league divisions should not exceed 2 5/8-inches in barrel diameter.
Baseball bats have one of two types of handles:
- Thick Handle: Thicker bat handles transfer the least amount of ‘sting’ to your hands in the aftermath of a mis-hit. This makes them ultra-comfortable to hold and their better shock absorption help them last longer too. However, thicker handles make it difficult for the batter to swing the bat.
- Thin Handle: Thinner handles let you swing the bat easily. That is their only unique selling point. Otherwise, when compared with their thicker counterparts, they absorb less sting, fare poorly when it comes to shock absorption and are equally poor when it comes to their durability.
Following are some of the baseball bat brands whose name you can afford to trust. They have been in the market for decades, some even more than a century, and have rarely given their customers reason to complain.
Here are the best baseball bat brands:back to menu ↑
The requirements and restrictions differ from league to league. Some leagues require the bat to be stamped with a logo of an official supplier. This makes sure that the bat has the approved material, barrel size, length and a knob. Ensure that you are aware of all your league requirements before you go to buy one.
You can also check with your coach. Youth bats are almost governed globally by 1.15 BPF. BPF is the short form for Bat Performance Factor. When you go shopping for the youth, look for the 1.15 BPF mark on the bat.
The markets are full of different kinds and varieties of baseball bats. Some are meant for professionals and there are bats for those who play for fun. And then there are special baseball bats for kids.
It is very important to know what to buy when you are choosing from amongst such multitude of baseball bats as it makes no sense to give a kid a baseball bat that is too big or too heavy for them.back to menu ↑
Additional Factors To Consider
Buying a perfect youth baseball bat is not a silly matter. You need to be determined and should know all the necessary facts about it. Though I have given all the necessary tips to choose a youth bat, here are some add-ons that you might want to consider:
- Cost – Some youth baseball bats cost as much as to blow a hole in your pocket. Examples of such bats include those that are made of composite. Others, especially wood and aluminum bats, are generally more merciful on the health of your bank account.
- Weather – Do you know that composite bats tend to break down in cold weather? Or that wood bats shouldn’t be stored in a humid environment? Make sure you understand how the material of construction of your bat will behave in the environment in which you intend to store or use it.
Choosing the best youth baseball bat is easier said than done. You have to consider multiple factors, including the bat’s length, its weight, drop weight, the size of its barrel and its handle’s diameter. You then have to make sure that the bat’s specifications meet those that are approved by the league in which your little one intends to play.
This is why we recommend that you keep all the factors mentioned above in your consideration before going for a youth baseball bat. Only then would you be able to get a baseball bat that would be best for your child’s game.