Choosing the right baseball bat for your youth baseball player can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be stressful! We’ve put together this guide on baseball bat buying to give you the information you need to make the best choice possible, whether it’s your first youth baseball bat or you’re looking to replace an older one. Whether you want to learn more about different types of baseball bats and what they can do, how to find the best prices, or how to handle sizing, read on!
A new baseball season is just around the corner! With that comes many decisions, one of the largest being what type and size bat to purchase. It can be a difficult decision, but this guide will help you make an informed decision.
The most popular bats are made by Easton, Rawlings, Marucci and others.
Certifications and Age:
- Players between the ages of 4 and 6 will likely need a tee bat bat (USA Certifiied)
- Players between the ages of 7 and 13 will likely need a USA bat or USSSA bat.
- Players between the ages of 14 and 18 will likely need a bat meeting BBCOR bat standards.
USSSA Baseball Bats
The USSSA's bat standard hasn't changed since the 2005 season. A BPF 1.15 rating stamp is found on the part of the bat near the handle and the barrel. In addition to the stamp of approval, the full list of USSSA bat regulations includes:
Barrel diameter cannot exceed 2 ¾”
All must be manufactured by an approved USSSA bat manufacturer
All USSSA bats sold by Smash It Sports will be manufactured by USSSA-approved manufacturers.
USSA is called the governing body of most premium tournaments which is often refrerred to as "travel ball". USSA bats are hotter than other baseball bats in the market, including BBCOR bats, wood bats, and USA bats.
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USA Baseball Bats
The USA Baseball Bat standard applies to youth players in Little League Baseball, Big League Baseball, Babe Ruth League, Dizzy Dean American Legion Baseball, and the Pony (13-14 year old) and Colt (15-16 year old) divisions of Pony and Colt baseball. The USA baseball bat standard was developed by the College of Southern Nevada with input from bat manufacturers including Rawlings Sporting Goods Company. This standard is stricter than the USSSA and BBCOR standards.
While USA baseball bats are designed to be close to a wooden bat performance-wise, many parents ask the question, then why don't we just use cheaper wood bats?
While wood bats might offer a lower price, they cannot offer the lightweight and durability needed by young players, so metal or composite USA baseball bats were made with lower swing weights and better than wood durability. Interested in finding out more about bat regulations in the USA? Give us a call at 585-465-3167.
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BBCOR Baseball Bats
The BBCOR bat stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution. It was first introduced in 2006 and is the bat used in High School and College level baseball. Like USA Baseball Bats, BBCOR bats will have a wood bat like performance, for example the 0.50 BBCOR means that if a pitch is thrown at 100 mph at a stationary bat, the ball at impact would rebound at 50 MPH or 50% of the thrown ball's velocity. A BBCOR bat’s barrel also must be 2 ⅝ inches in diameter or less and cannot exceed a -3 length to weight ratio (aka drop 3).
Weight matters. But how does one know what weight is right? When swinging, if the bat feels heavy or starts to droop down, it might be too heavy for your skill level. Try holding up a bat and extend your arms out to your side (with the hands gripping at least two thirds of the way around). If you can't keep this position for 30-45 seconds before feeling uncomfortable, then there's a good chance that the bat may be too heavy for your needs.
It should also go without saying that every player has different preferences when it comes to both size and weight because they come with their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Bigger kids might prefer heavier weights because they want more power while smaller kids ones could benefit from lighter bats because they need more swing speed.
When it comes to deciding what material your new bat should be, you'll usually find one of three options: wood, metal.
Wood bats can come in a variety of tree varieties such as ash, maple, birch and more; this will usually determine the quality which they offer. All wooden bats tend to come at around a -3 drop so that they're easier to compare against each other (professional players use this higher drop). If you still have questions about wooden bats and want some advice on how best to purchase one then we recommend giving us a call at 585-465-3167!
Metal/Alloy bats are also available - these bats don't need much breaking in at all before use (which is both convenient and helps ensure performance). They're slightly weaker than their composite counterparts but these bats allow players more consistency even when playing during hotter temperatures.
Lastly Composite bats have a larger sweet spot, less vibration, and better performance. The downfall of composite bats is they may have less durability compared to metal or wood bat options.
One-Piece vs Two-Piece Bats
One last thing to consider when choosing the right bat for you would be selecting a one-piece or two-piece design. The main difference between these two options is how much flex and energy transfer your bat will have.
One-piece bats as the name suggests, are a continuous piece of wood, composite, or metal. Upon contact, there is minimal flex in the bat, resulting in maximum transfer of energy from bat to ball. This can be great for a power hitter, but mishits can cause stinging in the hands.
Two-piece bats are constructed as two seperate pieces. The barrel and the handle are put together using a connection peice between the two. This design can create more flex and “whip” in the swing, allowing faster bat speeds. Two-piece bats also have reduced vibrations because the connection piece is usually made of rubber and will absorb that vibration, making them a great option for players looking to eliminate that stinging feeling.
If you have any questions about what type of bat your child should use, check with their coach or the team's manager. It is important to know that not all bats are legal in all leagues. Smash It Sports has what you need for your league, your players' preferences, and which one fits your budget.