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Hitting - Bat Selection

Introduction

When you select a bat, make sure you select one you can handle with confidence and feels comfortable to you. If you are big for your age you may find you want a bat that is a little larger than what most of your teammates are using. On the other side, if you're a little smaller than most of your teammates then you may want to use a smaller bat. Don't let what your teammates use for hitting be your deciding factor when deciding what to hit with. Bat selection is an individual choice and if you swing a bunch of bats you'll know which one feels good to you.

Length, Weight, Bat Drop

Many charts, used to determine proper bat size, use player weight and height to determine the proper bat length. While these two factors are important, other characteristics are missing. The bat length, weight, grip, brand, and whether the player likes to choke up on the bat are all important factors when determining whether a bat has a good feel in the players hand.

Bat drop is the difference between the length and weight of the bat. A 30"/18oz. bat has a bat drop of -12. A 30"/23oz. bat has a bat drop of -7. The higher the bat drop the easier it is to swing and the more you will pay for the bat. When purchasing a bat it can be an important factor in determining the size to purchase. A player may not be able to use a 30"/23oz., but may be fine with a 30"/18oz. If you are going to purchase a lower drop, be aware that the player may need a shorter bat.

Choking up has an effect on the bat size you will want to purchase because choking up has the effect of making the bat shorter and lighter in your hands. A player that chokes up an inch on the bat will need to take that in account when determining what size of bat to purchase. If you don't have a bat and you're using a team bat that is a little too big for you, choking up can make that bat feel shorter and lighter, so use that as a way to make a bat feel right for you.

Tony Gwynn who is a hall of fame player and considered one of the best hitters ever is an example of how individual preference is important in selecting a bat. While most college and pro teammates of Tony used 33 and 34 inch bats, Tony selected a 32 inch bat. Although the bat was an inch or two shorter than most of the bats used by his teammates, Tony didn't care because it felt good to him and as important he got results.

What to watch out for: Don't use a bat just because other players are using it or someone says it's a great bat. Be willing to try it out along with many other bats until you get an idea of what feels right for you. Make sure you don't swing a bat that is too big for you. It may seem cool to be swinging a big bat but it will cause many problems with your swing and your ability to hit well. No bat looks very cool when you're walking back to the dugout with it after getting out.

The table below will give you a general idea based on height and weight of what size bat would work. In addition you must take into account the other information described above in picking out a bat.

Determine Your Bat Length by Weight and Height
height3'-3'4"3'5"-3'9"3'10"-4'4'1"-4'4"4'5"-4'8"4'9"-5'5'1"-5'4"5'5"-5'8"5'9"-6'6'1"+
weightBat length
< 6026"27"28"29"29"
61-7027"27"28"29"30"30"
71-8028"28"29"30"30"31"
81-9028"29"29"30"30"31"32"
91-10028"29"30"30"31"31"32"
101-11029"29"30"30"31"31"32"
111-12029"29"30"30"31"31"32"
121-13029"29"30"30"31"32"33"33"
131-14029"30"30"31"31"32"33"33"
141-15030"30"31"31"32"33"33"
151-16030"31"31"32"32"33"33"33"
161-17031"31"32"32"33"33"34"
171-18032"33"33"34"34"
180+33"33"34"34"


Key Points to Remember: Always use a bat that feels comfortable and you can swing with confidence. Choking up on the bat will give the bat a different feel and can make a bat that is a little big, feel just right.

Next Topic

Gripping the Bat


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