First things first. A great bat will not turn a poor hitter
into a great hitter. If the player’s hitting mechanics
are all wrong, no bat will help.
While a good bat will not make a player better, a poor bat
(or a bat that is not suitable for the player) will be another
roadblock to a player’s hitting success.
When choosing a bat, a number of factors must be taken into
account. These are the size/strength of the player, the level
of skill, the type of bat (material), the bat weight, bat
length, barrel size, etc. Today you will find bats designed
specifically for Tee Ball, Junior, Little League, Senior League,
High School, and College.
According to CoachTeeBall.com,
for young players, especially T-Ball players, we advise that
the lighter the bat the better. Player’s need to be
able to generate enough bat speed to effectively hit the ball.
When facing a fastball pitcher, professional players are known
to go to a lighter bat to maintain bat speed and get in front
of the pitch. So it's that much more important that a young,
less experienced player have a light enough bat to swing with
enough bat speed to hit the ball.
As a rule of thumb, aluminum bats are lighter than wooden.
Additionally, aluminum bats can provide more "pop"
of the baseball off the bat, and are much more durable (therefore
cost effective) than wooden bats. Keep in mind that bats today
are becoming increasingly high tech and expensive - with youth
bats reaching $200+ price levels. Remember the most expensive
bat is not necessarily the best bat; especially with young
players. You don’t have to spend a lot of money for
a good bat.
When shopping for a bat, have your child hold the bat straight
and to their side out (parallel to the ground) with their
“hitting” hand (right hand for right-handed hitters,
left of left-handed hitters). If the player cannot hold the
bat straight out for 20 seconds or so without the arm starting
to shake and the bat dropping, it's too heavy.
Unfortunately your player will not get a good feel for the
bat by simply holding it and taking a few practice swings.
The best way to get the feel for a bat is to swing at live
pitches. As your players get older and the importance of the
bat grows, take them to the batting cages and have them hit
with a wide range of batting cage bats that are available.
You should be able to see right away which bat is too small,
too big, or too heavy.
Worth Sports conducted a study in which they determined the
best bat weights for hitters, based on their height.
The table below summarizes their findings.
Bat Weight Guidelines: