Swinging the right baseball bat on the pitch is as important as learning how to swing. But finding the right bat is a laborious task. One of the most important things to consider when finding a baseball bat that suits you perfectly is its size.
Why is size important?
Size is perhaps the most critically significant aspect of a bat. On it depend a lot of vital things such as the swing speed, the balance of your shot, your mid-swing stance and above all, the power of your hit. With the right sized bat, you are able to hit the ball squarely and powerfully. With a bat that is not the right size, you will not have a good balance of the stick and will not be able to deliver a good enough performance.
The height and weight
Size in the world of baseball bats refers to two things: height and weight. Both are decisive factors in the overall feel, balance and efficiency of a bat. Both are directly inter-related, so much so that baseball bats are not categorized on the basis of height alone, or on the basis of weight alone. Rather, all bats are categorized on the basis of a ratio of height and weight. This is called weight drop, and it is the golden standard of baseball bat categorization.
Weight drop is the numerical difference between the length of a bat in inches and its weight in ounces. So for example, if a bat is 32” inches and has a weight of 29 ounces, it has a weight drop of minus 3. Similarly, if a bat is 34” long and has a weight of 27 ounces, it has a weight drop of minus 7.
Different sizes for different leagues
Naturally, lighter and smaller bats are recommended for younger players. Bats with more length and weight are usually used in high school, college and adult league matches. Typically, the youngest players tend to use a bat with a weight drop between minus 10.5 and minus 13. This is a unit of the bat’s size. Senior League players usually use a minus 7 bat.In high school and league matches, players use a bat with a weight drop of minus 3.
Finding the right-sized bat
There is a simple enough method of finding the exact bat that fits your physique. Hold out your arm to your side. Now measure the distance from the center of your chest to the finger-tips of the arm you are holding on your side. This is a basic estimate of the size of bat which will fit you and will allow you to swing with balance.
The next step is to carefully note this distance and match it with your corresponding height and weight in this chart:
In all probability, you will be able to find exactly the right size for you based on this method. However, there are ways of determining whether you have made the right choice.
Re-checking the length of your bat
If you have used the above method to determine the exact size of your bat, use this method to re-check whether you have made the right decision. Place the bat in a vertical position by your side. Does your palm reach the handle of the bat easily? This means that the length of this bat is good enough for you.
To be further sure of your choice, carry out another little test: Place the knob of your bat against your chest and hold it straight in front of you. If with the knob placed at your chest, you can easily reach and hold the barrel of the bat, the size is right for you. If the barrel is too far for you to reach, this means that the bat is too long for you. If your hand reaches the middle of the barrel in this test, this means that the bat is too short for you.
Re-checking the weight of your bat
The weight of the bat, as mentioned above, is directly tied with the length of the bat. Once you have found the right length of the bat, it will remain the same for you. The weight, on the other hand, may change depending on what you prefer and what sort of league match are you playing in. A high school or college league match, for example, may require a drop 3 bat. So if your ideal bat length is 31”, the only option for you would be to use a bat with a corresponding weight of 28 ounces. Alternatively, if by using the methods above, you have discovered that the ideal length of your bat is 33”, the only corresponding weight for your bat will be 30 ounces.
Different leagues have different weight drop requirements. A general rule-of-thumb for the weight of a bat is that it should be such that you can swing it with speed and ease. The heavier the bat it, the slower is it going to be. The lighter it is, the quicker will be your speed in swinging it. So a bat’s weight directly impacts your hitting performance.
Here’s a little test to determine whether your bat has the right weight: hold the bat to your side for a few minutes. If you can comfortably hold it in the air without feeling too much fatigue in your arm, then the weight of the bat is right for you.