How to Find the Right Size Bat

By Ashley Friedman

Players young and old enjoy baseball for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that it requires little equipment beyond gloves, a field, a ball and a bat. Choosing the right bat can help you hit your best, while using the wrong bat will hinder your ability to hit at all. Deciding exactly how big a bat you need can be difficult, especially to novice players. Fortunately, if you keep a few tips in mind you will always be able to choose the right bat for your size and needs.

Decide what size your bat should be, depending on your age--most amateur players use aluminum bats rather than wood. All players under 12 should be using bats with a 2 1/4-inch barrel. However, height depends more specifically on age, particularly if you are under 16. If you are between 5 and 7 years old, your bat should be from 24 to 26 inches long. If you are 8 or 9, your bat should be between 26 and 28 inches long. If you are 10 to 12 years old, your bat should be between 28 and 31 inches long. If you are 13 or 14 years of age, your bat should be 31 to 32 inches long. Finally, if you are 14 to 16 years of age, your bat should be 32 to 33 inches long.

If you are interested in sizing your bat more precisely, or if you are shorter or taller than the average for your age, proceed to Step 2.

Measure your height with a measuring tape. Place one end of the measuring tape on the floor. Use your foot to anchor the measuring tape in place. Stand up straight and extend the measuring tape until it reaches the top of your head. Record this measurement.

Use the measurement you arrived at in Step 2 to determine the ideal bat size for you. According to Louisville Slugger, a well-known bat maker, if you are between 3 feet and 3 foot-4 tall, the ideal size is 27 to 28 inches. If you are between 3-foot-5 and 3-foot-8, the ideal bat size for you is 27 to 29 inches. you are between 3-foot-9 and 4 feet tall, you will want to select a bat that is 28 to 30 inches long. If you are between 4-foot-1 and 4-foot-8, the ideal bat size for you is 29 to 31 inches long. If you are 4-foot-9 to 5 feet tall, the ideal bat size for you is 30 to 32 inches. If you are between 5-foot-1 and 5-foot-8 the bat size that you want is 31 to 33 inches. If you are from 5-foot-9 to 6 feet tall, you will want to select a bat that is 33 to 34 inches long. If you are 6-foot-1 or taller, select a bat that is between 33 to 34 inches long.

Decide the right weight for your bat. Players who weigh more will typically want a heavier bat. The best way to decide is by swinging a few bats and figuring out which feels best. Head to a sporting goods store and try out a number of bats, taking a few swings with each. The bat should feel heavy in your hands but not so heavy that you struggle to swing it and not so light that the momentum of your swing overpowers the bat's weight and causes you to move forward.

Narrow down your choices by using the measurements described in Step 3, once you've figured out what weight of bat you'd like. Try swinging a bat in the length-range appropriate for your height that is also the correct weight for you. This should help you determine which bat is right for your needs.

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