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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Choosing the Right Bat For Your Baseball Swing

By Nate Barnett

A question I get asked a lot, especially from younger players, is regarding the correct bat weight and length. The reason it's a difficult question to answer is because it's not cut and dry. However, here are a few things to consider as you select a bat that matches your baseball swing.

1. The goal in selecting a bat that is the correct size is to not get sucked into the fallacy that bigger is better. This is not always the case. I was a power hitter during my playing days and always batted in the 3rd or 4th spot in the lineup. The biggest bat I ever used was a 33 inch, 30 ounce bat. Some guys used a 34 inch bat, but that was the exception and not the rule. In fact, we had quite a few hitters through college and into pro ball who used small bats. The reason? Bat speed. If you want a good baseball swing, bat speed is important.

2. While bat speed is valuable, there is a point where too light of a bat is counterproductive. A hitter should want to be swinging the bat instead of the bat swinging the hitter. If the bat swings like a whiffle bat, then it will be tough to maintain bat control while hitting a baseball. This usually happens when swinging a bat where the weight of the bat is far less (minus 9) than the length of the bat.

3. Don't worry so much about if the bat is long enough to cover the entire plate. If a hitter is swinging the correct way on an outside pitch, he will be able to reach the outside part of the plate with most bats. And even if the hitter is having a tough time covering the outer part of the plate because of the bat, chances are that most pitchers at that point will not be able to throw on the outside part of the plate consistently.

4. Lastly, rely on comfortability. Many hitters, even younger ones, can pick up a bat and swing it and can tell if it "fits". It's much like trying on a pair of shoes that are too small. You can tell instantly that they don't fit right, especially if you compare them with a pair of shoes that fit comfortably.

Nate Barnett is owner of BMI Baseball designed to improve the mental game of baseball in athletes. Learn how to help your game by improving your baseball psychology

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