By Nick Dixon
The 3 biggest mistakes parents make when they buy a new baseball bat are: 1) Buying a Bat that is Not Appropriate, 2) Buying a Bat with the Wrong Intentions, and 3) Buying a Bat That is Illegal. I will now explain each of these mistakes. I will now offer explanations of how these mistakes are made. And I will tell how each of these mistakes can be prevented.
1. Buying a bat that is not appropriate. - Many parents buy a bat without having the player touch or hold the bat. The bat is purchased is not the correct size for the player. The bat is purchased and later the parents and player realize that the bat is too heavy or too light, or the bat is too long or too short for the player. The best way to determine the perfect bat weight and length is to try a friends bat during batting practice.
If the player can swing the bat and generate obvious bat speed, then the bat is the right size. Many people judge bat speed by simply listening for the amount of "bat wind" generated by the batters swing. If the swing is too slow, very little wind noise will be generated. There is also a universal test called the "horizontal lift & hold test" that players should perform before a bat is purchased. The player holds the bat by the handle near the knob and lifts and extends his arm straight outward at shoulder height. The batter should be able to hold the bat steady for at least 30 seconds. If the batter struggles to hold the bat steady, the bat is either too long or too heavy. The lighter weight or length bat should be considered if the player fails this test.
2. Buying a bat with the wrong intentions. - Many people buy a bat that is sized for the tea and not their child. This is a bad mistake. The parent should make sure that the bat purchased is perfect for the player. There are few teams than can purchase a "team" bat without several players being handicapped with the purchase being the wrong side for them.
Another common mistake is that Dad buys a heavier or longer bat than needed because he wants to make the $300 spent on the purchase last the player for more than one season. This is a terrible mistake. It is true that your child is going to grow. But, trying to buy a bat for future growing is the quickest way I know to put your child at a distinct disadvantage right now. Buy the perfect weight and size for your child today. If he or she outgrows the bat before next season, be proud. Sell the old bat to a friend and buy a new one new year.
3. Buying a bat that is illegal - You league has rules that pertain to specific bat materials, construction, weight, and lengths. Make sure that you know what barrel sizes, what materials, and what "bat drop" rules are applied in your league play. The drop of the bat is the difference between the length of the bat minus the weight of the bat. For example, if a bat is a 32" long bat and it weighs 29 ounces, then the bat drop for the bat is -3.
The drop of the bat varies in baseball, depending on the level of play. Little League, at this time, has no regulations for restricting drop weight. High school baseball has a drop weight zone regulation of no lighter than -3. College baseball has a drop zone regulation of no lighter than -3. I hope that you enjoyed reading this article and found it to be informative. I really appreciate you taking the time to read it. Good Luck in the coming season! Have a great day, Nick.
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Nick Dixon is the President and founder of Nedco Sports, a sports training company established in 1999. Dixon is also an active and full time high school baseball coach with over 25 years experience. Coach Dixon is better known as the inventor of the BatAction Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Derek Jeter Hurricane Hitting Machine, the SKLZ Target Trainer, the SKLZ Derek Jeter ZipnHit Pro, and the SKLZ Strikeback Trainer. Dixon is also a contributing writer for BaseballCoachingDigest, the Youth Baseball Digest, the Baseball Parent Guide, the Baseball 2Day Coaches Journal, and Blog4Coaches.
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