The Perfect Fit In A Baseball Bat
John Ryan Jr.
There are three major parameters to consider when fitting a bat to a ballplayer. Height and weight are the first parameters to consider. A little leaguer cannot march up to the plate with a Ruthian 42 inch wooden club, but he needs more than a toothpick.
Second, understanding what a bat is made of, wood or composite metals, is also extremely important. Lighter is not always better. Just ask Tyrus Cobb who believed baseball was about base hits and moving runners along, not hitting home runs.
Thirdly, determining the technology of the bat, its barrel size, taper, grip and weight are underrated aspects of the batting choice. If George Brett had used grips affixed to the handle instead of pine tar he would not have had a home run nullified against the Yankees in 1983.
The first parameter is the perfect starting point. Two charts describing the relationship between age, height, weight, and length of bat can be viewed under The Perfect Fit In A Bat on the blog page at Diamond Baseball Bats.
The second parametric decision concerns bat materials. With the current banning of metallic bats around the country the only choice may be wood in the not too distant future. Ash, maple, birch, bamboo, hickory, or combinations of each can be selected. The quality of the wood is the most salient feature. The big duh is the higher the quality wood the better the bat. This means the longer and wider the grain from older, denser trees, the better. Wood lends itself to the perfect fit more than its metallic cousin. High quality ash beats lower quality maple every time. Wood brings a classic feel, and oh that great sound! The bat maker’s sense of wood quality is everything in the baseball bat business. Now with the Little League moratorium on composite bats bat quality has become a primary focus for players and their sponsors.
Composite metal bats are still available, however. Some state jurisdictions intend to test their trampoline effects and make the impact of a batted ball more like that of the wood bats. Metal bats are supposedly more durable than wood bats and are alloyed with combinations of zirconium, zinc, copper, magnesium, graphite, titanium and aluminum. Aluminum alloys that are frozen and then reheated provide the greater durability while lessening sting and elongating the flight of the ball. Manufacturers claim that metal bats have a wider sweet spot than wood bats, but this is unproven.
Wood bats can be shaped, sized and tapered to a ballplayer’s swing. It is really the only way to go if you know exactly what you want.
Hitting a baseball has often been described as the most difficult task in all of sports. It certainly is a skill that requires a great amount of practice to master. Great hitters are not born, they are made. They have a love for the game, they live to hit, and they never grow tired of hearing the reaction of the fans when they drive one off the wall in left-center for a stand-up double. Players at every level including high school baseball, college baseball and major league baseball must commit themselves to a regiment of daily batting practice if they are to maintain their swing and stay at the top of their game. What gives the great hitters the ability to perform so well under pressure and to dominate their game? What is the one common trait of all great hitters other than a great swing? The answer can be found in their eyes. The great hitters have the ability to focus. They have the ability to see the ball better, to pick it up quicker out of the pitchers hand, and to track it into the zone and off the bat.
Batting practice with Small Baseballs is a proven method of improving the ability of a batter to see and focus on the baseball. The small ball concept has been around for decades. The theory is simple, if you practice hitting a ball much smaller than a baseball, then when you actually are hitting a real baseball, it will look bigger and easier to hit. I was skeptical about this movement when it first came about in the early to mid nineties. But, firsthand experience has made me a believer. I purchased 6 dozen small baseballs last season for my players to use in batting drills and the batting cages. I must admit, I had visions of the small baseballs flying through the netting of our batting cages. That concern proved to be unmerited. During months of use and thousands and thousands of batting practice swings, I never witnessed a single small baseball pass through the net.
Players are always receptive to new ideas and concepts. My players are always eager to see what I come up with next. As the inventor of the hitting stick, BatAction Machine, Hit2win Trainer, and ZipnHit, I often use my team practices to experiment with new ideas and concepts. The players loved the small baseball on first sight. I basically gave them access to them to use in our daily batting cage workouts.They quickly developed their own routine and drills. They quickly adopted a 3-stage progression during their daily batting cage workouts. They used the small baseball in two of our 6 mini-cages. When they hit the small baseball, they would take 12 swings with a Livewire brand training bat, a small barreled bamboo bat. Then they would take 12 swings with the Sweetspot brand training bat. Then they would finish with 12 swings with their regular metal batting cage practice bat. After hitting the small baseballs, they would use regular sized baseballs in the batting cages, taking 48 swings in 4 sets. So the small balls acted as a warm-up or prep work before their regular batting cage workout with regular batting cage balls. The small baseball performed great. Soon, all of our hitters used then on a daily basis. The use of the small baseball greatly improved eye focus, batter concentration, and most of all, it improved batter confidence. There was normal wear and tear on the small balls because they were sometimes used in cage with bare cement floors. If you are looking for a new twist to add to your daily practice routine, I highly recommend small baseballs. I am sure that you will see and experience the same benefits that I did with my team.
Hitting Tips For Youth Baseball
By Coach Radcliff
The most valuable recommendation that a youth baseball coach can give a young batter while doing baseball hitting drills would be to concentrate on hitting the ball up the middle. When you concentrate on hitting up the middle, you are able to adjust to hit the ball wherever its pitched. If you go to the plate hoping to pull the ball, you’ll struggle hitting an outside pitch. Your front side will have opened up too soon and you may not be able to hit a pitch on the outside part of the plate. You have to have balance in every thing that you do in baseball, in particular in hitting and hitting drills. Your body is going to move, but you ought to keep your head still. The best way to accomplish that is to possess great balance. Youth baseball bats work just like adults bats, they need balance.
Concentration at bat is essential, and confidence helps. You must walk up to the plate saying to your self, I’m going to launch the ball. A player requires rhythm. Try to watch the pitcher’s hand and keep your eye on the ball be aggressive at the plate, but also be loose and relaxed. If you ever let your arms get too tight, you might lose the advantage of having excellent wrist action for your swing, as well as your power. Your baseball bat speed just won’t be there.
You have to have a purpose to every swing in batting practice. As part of your first round of batting practice you may concentrate on hitting every pitch into the opposite field. During the following round, try to make sure that you are swinging down on the ball. Prepare your self for possible game situations, or the practice will never be as beneficial as it could possibly be. In case you discover your self in a hitting slump, attempt to focus on defense and perhaps save the game with a great throw. Slumping hitters must bear in mind that it does not always take a great at bat to win the game.
Youth baseball players and coaches ought to seek to strengthen the mental outlook of the whole team with encouraging comments to all players. Negative comments will never bring something beneficial for the team morale. Hitting really depends on confidence.Hitting a baseball is a extremely challenging skill that occasionally gets overlooked by coaches, players, and parents.From time to time we ignore how skilled these youth baseball players are and want even more out of them.Let’s just have fun and appreciate this fantastic game of youth baseball.
Baseball leagues around the country have seen plenty of changes over the past year or so. Most have focused on BBCOR bats, but there are changes across the board.
Citing safety concerns caused by the exit speeds of some composite bats, some leagues have banned composite-barreled baseball bats. Others have not. Add in the new BBCOR performance standard, and things can quickly get confusing.
This post is a guide for parents, guardians and players looking for new bats or making sure their current bats will be legal.
Heading into the 2012 baseball season, Little League’s bat rules look like this:
Minor League Baseball Compositebarreled bats will be banned, some have been reallowed
9 10 Year Old Baseball Division Composite-barreled bats will be banned, some have been reallowed
Little League Baseball (Majors) Composite-barreled bats will be banned, some have been reallowed
Junior League Baseball Compositebarreled bats will be banned, some have been reallowed, and all BBCOR certified bats will be allowed
Senior League Baseball All bats must be BBCOR certified
Big League Baseball All bats must be BBCOR certified
For the Minors, 9 10s and Majors, nothing has changed since last season. Some composite-barreled baseball bats will be prohibited in sanctioned competitions. Wood bats, metal bats and metal bats with composite handles known as hybrid bats will not be affected.
Little League has granted waivers for specific composite-barreled baseball bats that have been proven to stay within Little League’s bat performance specs.
It’s a similar set up in Juniors baseball. Many composite barreled bats are banned, but certain bats will be allowed if they made Little Leagues list of reapproved 2 5/8 composite bats or if they are BBCOR certified.
The Seniors and Big League classifications follow NFHS rules, so only bats with the BBCOR stamp will be legal in those leagues this season.
Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken
This is where Babe Ruth and Cal Ripken stand, going into the 2012 season:
Cal Ripken: All 2 1/4″ bats with BPF 1/15 stamps will be allowed in the Cal Ripken Major, Minor, Rookie and T-Ball Divisions
Babe Ruth 13-15: All aluminum-barreled baseball bats will be allowed; all composite-barreled bats must be BBCOR certified
Babe Ruth 16-18: Only BBCOR certified baseball bats will be allowed
PONY has not restricted the use of composite-barreled bats in any of its divisions.
Dixie has not released a decision on what to do with its Boys league in 2012, but this is how things stand as of now:
Youth: All 2 1 4 inch aluminum barreled bats will be allowed, All 2 1 4 composite-barreled that are marked Approved for Play in Dixie Youth Baseball and stamped BPF 1.15 will be legal for league and tournament play if it has a manufacture date stamp of 2011 or later. Older aluminum/metal alloy 2 bats which do not have the BPF 1.15 stamp on the bat are allowed if stamped approved for play in Dixie Youth Baseball.
Boys: The division did not restrict the use of composite-barreled bats in 2011. The league has not released a decision on 2012.
Majors and Pre-Majors: Both leagues follow the NFHS rulebook, so only BBCOR certified baseball bats will be allowed.
In 2012, USSSA will begin phasing in a new bat certification mark. Here’s how things look
Small barrel bat leagues (2 1 4): Bats with the USSSA mark, new or old, will be allowed in 2012 and 2013. Starting in 2014, bats must have the new USSSA mark.
14U Big barrel (2 5 8″ or 2 3 4″): Bats must have the new USSSA mark or they must be BBCOR certified
15U Big barrel (2 5 8″ or 2 3 4″): All bats must be BBCOR certified
Starting in 2012, American Legion will require all bats to be BBCOR certified.
As we understand it, here’s how AAU’s bat rules will look in 2012
9 14U: There will be no restrictions (no change from 2011)
15U and up: All bats must be BBCOR certified
How to select a baseball bat
Only a baseball player knows the value of his bat. There are stories of players who love their bats so much that they even sleep with them. They spend lots of time to keep their bats in ready to fight condition. It is important, therefore, to be very careful while selecting a proper bat.
Aluminium vs. wood bats
Baseball bats are made of two materials wood and aluminium or aluminium alloy. It needs hardly to be mentioned that a wooden bat is heavier than an aluminium bat even if the aluminium is of cheaper quality. It is not easy to give a hard and effective swing or generate speed with a wooden bat. Wooden bats cannot wield the kind of power that the aluminium bats do.
Length, weight and drop
A good maple baseball bat is one whose length, weight and drop allow you to swing it comfortably. If you feel inconvenient handling it after a few swings, dont go for it. The lighter the bat, the more speed you can generate with it. A difference of mere one or two ounces in weight can make a huge difference in the swing.
A thumb rule to select a proper bat is to hold it by its handle and extend your arm so that you form an L with your body. Count 10 while you hold the bat at your shoulder level. If you feel tired, this bat is not for you.
Another important factor is the feel of the bat, which is a matter of individual choice. There are people who rip off the leather on the handle and replace it with a thin plastic tape. The idea is to make the handle as thin as possible. There are others who do exactly the opposite and make the handle much thicker than the original. They feel comfortable with the thicker handle.
If you are looking for custom baseball bats, you can visit www.xbats.com. The XBATs baseball bats are the finest bats chosen by the most discriminating Major Leaguer to the serious youth and amateur players.
Youth Baseball Conditioning
By: Trevor Sumner
There are many valuable youth baseball conditioning techniques to increase your players abilities by maximizing their strength, range of motion, and flexibility. Just as a car can only travel as fast as its engine will allow, in like manner, baseball players can only perform to the degree that their bodies will allow. If coaches, parents and mentors ensure that their players are involved in recommended youth baseball conditioning training, they will be increasing their players chances to fulfill their maximum potential.
Here are some advised youth baseball conditioning techniques that are recommended for youth baseball coaches for the development of their players
Pitching Better through Swimming Swimming can actually strengthen the shoulder muscles and enable pitchers to throw the baseball harder while protecting pitchers from devastating shoulder injuries. It is recommended that pitchers swim in free style for two minutes with a series of 4 repetitions. If the player can not swim, then the pitcher can stand waist deep in water under adult supervision and push the water away from the body with a hard thrust and fingers spread apart. This should be repeated for 2 minutes at a time.
Sprint to Success One of the traditional youth baseball training programs remains the best. Players need to build up their endurance in order to play the entire game with strength and energy. Wind sprints are the best way for youth baseball players to build up their endurance and, at the same time, bond with their teammates. If your players run wind sprints as a team or in bunches, such as pitchers, catchers, infielders and outfielders, you will be building up their endurance and the team will become closer as a unit. Ten 60 yard sprints are a good way to start, and you can lengthen the distance and repetitions over time.
Squeeze that Ball Another simple youth baseball conditioning exercise can be done everywhere from the ball field to the schoolyard and even to bed. Baseball players can increase their wrist strength by squeezing a rubber Spalding ball. Yes, these pink balls are still of infinite value to baseball players pitchers, to increase the speed of their pitch, hitters by increasing their bat speed and, therefore, the distance of their drives, and fielders by increasing the strength of their throws.
Stretch Before Games Stretching and warm-ups are a key element of baseball conditioning training protocols to prevent injuries. Prior to every game and practice, baseball coaches should lead their team in a regular series of stretching and warm-up exercises for at least 10 12 minutes. Before the players begin playing baseball, make sure to cover all major muscle groups including shoulders, legs, arms, hips, and back.
Of course these are just a few, simple youth baseball conditioning exercises among many. Baseball coaches should be familiar with a wide variety of exercises and should weave these into a more holistic conditioning training plan that is appropriate to the age of their players.
Combined with a variety of baseball drills that make the game fun and build the fundamental skills needed to play, a strong baseball conditioning training regimen will ensure that players reach the top of their game and avoid unnecessary injury.
Youth Baseball Coaching Tips
There are many ways to ensure that your players perform better on the baseball diamond. It is important that baseball coaches are aware of coaching tips that they can impart to their players. You will see that these youth baseball coaching tips will make a difference in the performance of your team and your enjoyment of the season.
Here are a few youth baseball coaching tips that will improve the team’s play:
Defensive Mentality -One of thepremier youthbaseball coaching tips concerns itself with your team’s defensive mentality. You must ensure, as a coach, that your team is prepared defensively on what to do with the ball on every pitch to the plate. The best preparation is to instruct your players to ask themselves these questions prior to every pitch when they are out on the field, and the opposing team is up at bat. The question is: “What do I do if I get the ball on the ground, in the air, and on a line.” Your players should also remind themselves about the number of outs, often talking on the field to make sure the team is on the same page. These defensive mentality questions will keep your players more alert and prepared to make the correct play if the ball is hit their way.
Pitch to the Target -One of the better youth baseball coaching tips concerns pitchers and their focus. One of the keys in pitching is to throw to the catcher’s target. You must instruct your pitchers to key their eyes focused on the catcher’s glove throughout their windup and through the release of the ball. Many pitchers lose eye contact with the catcher’s glove, accounting for their inaccurate pitches. Similarly, a catcher should practice giving the right target for the pitcher and learn how to frame the pitch to help his pitcher be successful. Often catching technique is overlooked and it is wise to prepare a good array of youth baseball catcher’s drills.
Focus on the Release Point – One of the best youth baseball coaching tips concerns itself with the discipline of hitting. A key to hitting is the ability to pick up the speed and spin of the ball as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. As a coach, you must instruct your hitters to focus on the release point of the pitcher. The focus needs to concentrate on the ball as it comes out of the pitcher’s hand. Batters must not allow themselves to be duped by a fancy windup or other deceptive attempts on the part of the pitcher to hide the ball from the batter until it is released. The later that the ball is picked up by the batter, the less time for the batter to identity the type, speed and location of the pitch as it travels to the plate.
While this is just a quick distillation of basic youth baseball coaching tips focusing on fielding, pitching and hitting, it is surprising how often baseball coaches lose focus of these basics. There are many elaborate baseball drill libraries on the Internet such as those at Weplay. While a coach should select a variety of age-appropriate drills for coaching his team, focusing on these basics and making them fun for the team will often lead to greater success.