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Feb, 2020

How To Choose A Bat

Selecting a bat for your young athlete can seem like a daunting task. With so many brands, sizes, colors and shapes, how do you decide? Well, let's try to simplify things for you.

Although there are many different ways to measure for the best baseball bat length, the best way is to choose what you feel comfortable swinging. A general rule to follow is never go up more than an inch at a time. This makes it easier to adjust to your new bat without drastically changing your swing. If you’re new to the game or want to re-size yourself, follow the steps below to learn how to properly measure yourself:

Look at our ballplayer illustration. Measure from the center of your chest to the tips of your index finger, making sure to have your arm straight out to your side. This measurement will tell you where you should be looking on the chart below:

After you’ve selected the proper bat size to use by calculating all the numbers and referring to the bat length chart, there are some additional ways to determine whether or not it is the right size:

Put the bat to your side and as long as your palm reaches the handle, you have the right sized bat

Put the knob of the bat at the center of your chest with the bat facing outward - if you can reach your arm out and grab the barrel of the bat, it’s the right size.


Composite bats are made out of a layered material similar to carbon fiber, which makes it easy to control the weight distribution of the bat. Manufacturers can make bats balanced (weight is evenly distributed) or end-loaded (the bat has more weight at the end of the barrel, giving it a heavier swing weight), depending on the style.

Pros of Composite Bats

  • Reduced vibration to the hands, minimizing sting from a miss-hit ball.
  • Tend to have a larger sweet spot and more ”pop”.

Cons of Composite Bats

  • Often more expensive than alloy bats, since the manufacturing process is more complex.
  • Using a composite in temperatures below 60 degrees will decrease performance and can cause cracking.
  • Requires a break-in time. Remember that the pop won’t come until a composite bat is broken in. To break it in, follow these tips:
    • Hit between 150-200 hits with a regular baseball or softball, not a rubber batting cage ball.
    • Slightly rotate the bat each time you hit the ball, so you evenly break it in - this ensures your bat lasts a long time.

The above is the only recommended way to break in your composite bat. Methods such as hitting your bat against a tree or rolling it are not recommended and will damage the bat and void the manufacturer warranty. You can find more information by reading our step-by-step directions on how to break in a composite bat.


Alloy bats, also called metal and aluminum bats, have been around longer than composite.

Pros of Alloy Bats

  • Tend to be less expensive than composite bats.
  • Do not require a break-in time, meaning they’re at their prime right out the wrapper.
  • Often last longer and even when they get damaged, they typically dent, rather than crack. This means they can still be used once damaged, where as once it is cracked, a composite bat can’t be. As long as the bat is not damaged to the extent where a barrel ring can no longer fit around the barrel, the bat will still be considered legal.

Cons of Alloy Bats

A good rule of thumb is the more expensive the alloy, the longer the sweet spot is and the better balanced the bat will be.

If you like both alloy and composite, it’s possible to get a hybrid, or comp/alloy bat. Hybrid bats have a composite handle and an alloy barrel. The benefits of getting a hybrid bat are that you can get the composite handle, which reduces vibration, and the alloy barrel for the performance and cost savings.


Hybrid bats combine a composite handle with alloy barrel materials into one baseball ball bat. This design combines the benefits a player gets from the light feel of a composite handle with the durability that an alloy barrel has.

Pros of Hybrid Bats

  • Hybrid bats tend to have a lower price point than composite bats
  • Lighter feel when swinging due to composite handle
  • Like aluminum bats, hybrid bats are ready to use right away and require no breaking in
  • Hybrid bats tend to be more durable than composite bats

Cons of Hybrid Bats

  • Not legal in all leagues
  • Handle is still susceptible to same cracking and temperature risks as composite bats

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Niles Baseball League

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Niles, Illinois 60714

Email Us: [email protected]
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