Replacing Your Metal Bat
Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s single season home run champion used one of the lightest and smallest bats in the game during his career. In this article I will attempt to explain the reasoning behind this as well as dispel some common held beliefs that often lead parents to spend far too much money replacing aluminium bats on a regular basis.
Three main reasons why parents are asked to replace their children’s aluminium bats.
- New league regulations.
Size is a critical factor when determining the right bat for a young ballplayer. It is worth mentioning that this article is aimed at young players and their parents. Athough many of these misconceptions also apply to older players. Young players often ask their parent’s for a new bat purely because their teammates are swinging a particular size or model. The bigger the bat, the better the bat. This is what I was always taught growing up.
A light bat is easier to control, and contrary to old-school thinking, you can hit a ball harder and further with a lighter bat because you can swing a lighter bat much faster. As acceptance of this fact has grown in recent years, the overwhelming trend in both baseball and softball has been to lighter bats.
In case you need convincing, consider that in the United States, the NCAA, high school athletic associations, and little league has instituted rules prohibiting bats from being more than 3 ounces lighter in weight than the length of the bat in inches (also known as -3). It was thought that big, strong players swinging ultra-light bats hit the ball so hard that infielders were at risk of serious injury.
Anyone who has coached or been around junior baseball will have heard the following.
“I just can’t seem to hit the ball when I use this bat.”
This is a comment I’ve heard for as long as i can remember. I’ve seen parent’s absolutely disgusted with their child’s performance. Because their child is not tearing the cover off the ball I often hear that the child lacks focus, talent, determination, or commitment to improve their game. Bad swings and poor approaches at the plate play a far bigger factor in the offensive performance than the bat they player is swinging, so don’t go out and get a new bat expecting an improvement in your child’s success at the plate.
Another prominent justification to update a bat is the lack of ‘pop’ in the bat. An aluminium bat is designed to take thousands of swings. Regardless of the size, bats are built to last far longer than they are given credit for, provided they are well looked after of coarse.
It seems like ever other years, the govening bodies of junior leagues around the world are increasing the number of requirements a bat must meet in order to be meet league specifications.
This is by far the most frustrating and difficult challenge a parent has to deal with. But as long as parents are making wise decisions when purchasing the next bat for the child, it should hopefully last longer and save you money in the long run.