How to choose the right bat size?
When I watch amateur or professional baseball games. I pay more attention to the technical aspects of the game. Players approach to hitting, their swings and the bat models that they use.
Having played baseball many years and catching at the college level, I needed to quickly figure out “How to pitch to opposing hitters?” . I had made mental notes of each player from how they took batting practice or swinging in the on-deck circle.
Most hitters do a Horrible job in selecting the right model and size.
The question of “How do I choose the right bat size?” continues to be the #1 question when shopping for a wood bat or metal bat.
I am going to share how we at 9P helps to answer this question.
Warning!! Do not let the bat size charts be the definitive authority on choosing the length of your bat.
“Why do you think this Dre?” The answer is… The chart does not ask follow-up questions.The charts offer calculations of bat lengths based on heights and weights.
I am not saying that the charts are all wrong, just that for hitting a chart cannot factor in the characteristics of the individual who will be using the bat.
- Will the player be playing the sport for the first time?
- Regardless of the players’ weight or height, Is the player physically strength or strong baseball IQ?
Based on the charts alone, a player who is 6 feet tall and 12 years old should be swinging a 34″ bat. Really??
When customers were able to visit us in the “bat-garage” , I always asked that the player who will be using the bat can come too.. Seeing the player up close is the best guide for us in determining the best length and model.
Starting with a “handshake” we have our first indicator on what the player could possibly handle. I can feel the range of strength in the grip. Is the grip strong with the 4 longer fingers or stronger with the thumbs.
I pull out a couple basic models (271, 141,110) with differing weights similar to visiting the eye doctor.
Starting with a lighter bat, I ask the player to take some swings at 50% percent impulse power.
While the player is warming up to game speed swings, from the side angle, I’m paying attention to the following:
- How and where the hands are set in the “Ready Position”
- What the hands and the bat head do during the weight transition to the rear or “trigger” position.
- How does the body change during an actually swing (using all test bat models).
The ready position is after you’ve set your swing and the pitcher is on the rubber and has or is about to starts the delivery. Every player will be doing something that makes them comfortable while they wait on the pitcher.
The location of the hands, hands activity (if any) and the bat is an indicator of the stress level the player will have when starting and ultimately finish the swing. How you handle this period of “waiting” is up to you.
Based on what your swing tells me, I might ask some questions to get you thinking about your answers later. Its not to suggest changes to your process. I want to gauge your understanding of the hitting process.
What your hands and body do?
When you start your backward motion or weight transfer, I look at how much hand motion occurs. Minimum to no hand motion is preferable during the transfer, however, the amount of “hand noise” gives me more information on the “Swing Stress”.
Body and Bat Changes
In 1994 I worked for the Daytona Cubs. The Single A minor league farm team. During the early work period, the coaches invited me to workout. One of the roving instructors gave a lesson on how to workout with the batting tee.
He had the participants take 10 swings starting with the tee extending to the higher position down to the lower tee position. This is a lot of swinging.
The instructor explained that balls pitched to at some levels, the players may not normally swing at (unless hit and run is the signal), however we must train our swing to handle contact from the different levels. Excellent lesson!
I ask all my customers to do the same drill taught to me to see consistency of the swing, body movement and the movement of the bat head.
Yes I know, my process is lengthy but is necessary in helping our customers to be successful hitters.
The next time you need help choosing the right bat. Contact us for any questions you have.
Until next time,