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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

How to Choose the Right Baseball Bat to Buy

By Jack Perconte

Many baseball players will ask for a new baseball bat for Christmas, or soon after, for the upcoming baseball season. Before buying, parents should put some thought and research into buying the right bat. I have seen the situation all too often when a player gets a new bat, uses it for a short time and then realize it is either the wrong size, weight or they like their friends bat better. What happens is that parents shop and either ask the store attendant for advice, or pick out the nicest looking bat. Often, the store attendant will not know what size bat is best and the best looking bats are not always the right bat. It is also common for parents to buy a "big" bat thinking that their player will grow into the bat. Sometimes, these theories work, but often they lead to the wrong bat for the player. It is so important to get the correct sized bat. The incorrect bat size will lead to swing fundamental mistakes which may create a disappointing baseball season. Habits are extremely difficult to change, so the wrong bat can adversely affect the hitter for future seasons also.

First things first, parents should always check out the league rules on bat regulations before buying a new bat. I have seen situations where parents have spent a few hundred dollars on a bat that was not legal for the league and could not return the bat because their child used it before finding out the bat was illegal. Remember, using a bat only once can leave a ball mark on the bat making it non-returnable. With this in mind, be sure and have the player swing their new bat without hitting anything for a period of time before actually using with a ball to be sure they want to keep the bat.

Unfortunately, there is no tried and true method that guarantees the correct bat size. A good thing to do is to check out a bat size chart like the one found in my book "The Making of a Hitter": A Proven and Practical Step-by-Step Baseball Guide. A chart like this will inform you of an approximate size bat for the age of your child. The next step is to have your son or daughter swing their old bat to see if they appear ready for the next size. Very few players, unless they have grown a great deal since the previous year, are ready to jump up to a bat that is more than one inch, or one ounce, larger than the year before. Having players go to the local batting cages and swing a few sample bats of different sizes is good. Checking with the players coaches for input can also be a good idea.

Of course, it may take a trained eye (experienced coach) to notice if a bat is the right size for a hitter. Generally, the thing to watch for is that the hitter is able to swing the bat as fast as they can, while still being able to maintain good overall balance throughout the swing (especially on the follow through). If the bat appears to be swinging the hitter, as opposed to the opposite, you will usually notice a loss of balance, a lack of bat speed or little use of the hands and forearms on the swing.

Parents should also consult with their child (if the bat is not a surprise, of course) to find out what brand of bat they desire. Having confidence is so important for hitters, so if a player is convinced they have the right bat, that can go a long way to hitting success. Finally, it is important to realize that kids continue to grow and a new bat will probably be needed every year for awhile, so price is important to consider. Additionally, aluminum bats lose their effectiveness over time too, so buying high priced bats can be very costly.

Former major league baseball player, Jack Perconte gives baseball hitting tips and batting practice advice for ballplayers of all ages. His baseball hitting lessons advice can be found at http://www.baseballhittinglessons.com/baseball Jack is the author of two books, The Making of a Hitter and Raising an Athlete - his parenting blog can be found at http://positiveparentinginsports.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Jack_Perconte

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick