Regardless of whether you’re an amateur or seasoned ball player, buying a new bat can be an overwhelming process.
Bats are complex tools and are much more than a mere hunk of wood. They are strategically designed so that players can maximize on every hit. Each part of the bat, be it the knob or end cap, is carefully engineered to get the most out of every performance.
If you’re confused by the variety of bats available, this guide will take the stress out of your buying experience and help you narrow down your options so that you have the best wood bats in your hand.
Wooden softball and baseball bats have been used since people started playing. The flexibility, durability, and hardness of the wood material used all matter significantly. The three major types of wood used to make bats are maple, ash, and birch.
Maple is the most popular type of material used to make bats. It’s a closed-grain wood that’s very strong and durable. Ash bats, on the other hand, are open-grained. They used to be the most popular bats but they lost their favor in 2001 when Barry Bonds recorded the most home runs in a season while using a maple bat.
Birch bats are a hybrid between ash and maple wood. Just like maple, they are a closed-grain wood and are steadily growing in popularity.
The length of a bat is measured in inches from the end cap to the knob. Most stores have a bat sizing chart from where you can refer before making a selection.
Use a tape measure to find out the distance between your index finger and the middle area of your chest. Make sure your favored arm is fully stretched so that you can get an accurate figure. Compare the distance you get to a bat sizing chart.
Another trick to go about is to compare your wingspan to a bat’s length. Take the bat and put the knob against one of your armpits, stretch your arm, and place the bat on it. If your hand can get to the barrel of the bat, then you have the right size.
The weight of your bat will affect its performance tremendously. If you want to know just how heavy or light your bat is, you will need to hold it out in front of your body. If you can hold it upright for about a minute without the barrel tipping downwards, then that bat is of an ideal weight for you.
Your swing speed is important for you to succeed at the plate so try to find a good balance between the bat’s length and weight that works best for you.
A lot of baseball players bear the false belief that a longer bat should gain you more coverage and efficiency. What they don’t realize is that the longer the bat, the heavier it will feel. A heavy bat will slow your swing and prevent you from hitting inside pitches.
Look out for the factors listed above when buying a wood bat so you can make a more informed buying decision.