By Chris Lindsley
When it comes to baseball, most kids really want to just get into the batter’s box. Getting in there with the right bat, though, can make the difference between success or failure.
In general, youth baseball players tend to use too big and heavy a bat. Since most sports parents aren’t aware that kids should be using a bat of a certain length and weight depending on their height and age, they tend to buy the wrong bats for their kids.
So when buying baseball equipment, start with a small and lightweight bat. A lighter bat will be easier for kids to swing and get some bat speed, which helps determine how far the ball goes.
An easy way to tell if the bat is too heavy is to have your child hold the bat out in front of him (as though pointing at the pitcher) with one hand just above the handle for 10-20 seconds. If he can do this without his arm shaking or the bat dropping, the bat is probably the right size. If the arm shakes or the bat drops, it is too heavy.
We've got a great segment with former professional baseball player Billy Hall in our youth baseball video section of the PSTV site that talks more about the process of bat selection. Billy has some great tips for choosing the right bat for kids that are especially useful for parents with kids just starting out in t-ball or the first years of Little League baseball.
Coaching Youth Baseball
Former major leaguer and current Princeton Univ. baseball coach Scott Bradley presents over 80 video tips, skills and drills developed specifically for 5- to 12-year-old players. Check out the Coaching Youth Baseball training plan.