Bat selection can be more complex with some of the new regulations related to bat specifications. This is about helping players find a bat that they can effectively handle. In order to maximize batcvelocity a hitter needs to choose a bat length that allows the hitter to efficiently start and stop the swing.
We suggest for hitters younger than 12, choose a length that allows for a quick, smooth and effortless swing. Much will depend on your size and strength, but err on the side of the shorter at length. For hitters 13 to 15, bat length will generally be 30″ to 31″ range. Hitters 16 – 18 normally use 32″
or 33″ bats with a few players capable of handling a 34″ bat. More than ever before, the high school hitter must select a bat that allows consistent contact with the “sweet spot”.
The change in bat material specifications has reduced the sweet spot / prime hitting area dramatically, so battling the size of the bat in addition would be counterproductive.
Jeff Mercer co-author and blog contributor
A systematic approach to hitting is helpful for both the player and the coach. A system allows the player to associate words, physical exercises and practice to develop skill. Actually, the systematic approach to training has been around since WWII, when it was necessary to teach workers a trade quickly and efficiently. Coaches want to provide exceptional hitting instruction to their players in an efficient manner and players want to be able to remember the system easily so they can apply it when they are at bat.
For example: The systematic approach starts with the player. There is a process or exercise coaches and players should use when selecting the proper bat.
The player is able to learn skill effectively by repetition and reinforcement. We use words like “Ike To Mike” and “Squish The Bug” to help players and coaches understand the technique behind the approach. The player thinks these words are fun! The more fun and relaxed the player is the better their performance.
I remember the days of playing baseball in the back yard with my friends. Our yard was certainly not big enough, but I thought that I needed to have the heaviest wooden bat available to show off my strength. I recall taking the biggest wooden bat off our bat rack and heading out to the back yard. I thought I was big stuff! Some hitters get that felling from a bat that has colorful markings.
I was immediately humbled when I went to swing at my friend’s fastball and could not even get the bat through the strike zone. This is a common problem even for today’s hitter:
Here are three suggestions for bat selection:
1) Bat Speed Matters: If you are having trouble getting the bat head through the strike zone or you notice that your speed is slow, then clearly you need to get another bat off the rack and try again. To help you decide, use the procedure described on p. 32 of Dusty Baker’s Hitting Handbook.
2) Check the Handle Size: If you are not able to grip the bat in your knuckles, then you have a problem. Make sure the bat handle fits easily into your knuckles for optimum performance. If not, look for a bat with a smaller diameter in the handle.
3) Depth and Distance: Does that bat head cover the outside of the plate as you take practice swings? Follow the depth and distance exercise found in the Dusty Baker’s Hitters Handbook, pp. 33-36?
Bat selection is a foundation of the systematic approach. Make sure you do not start from a position of weakness even before you get to the batters box.
For a full description of alcohol fun how to select the proper bat, check out
Step #1 in the Systematic Approach in Dusty’s Hitting Handbook.
The next time you watch a major league baseball game, observe how the players hold the bat. How the hitter holds the bat greatly impacts bat velocity, trajectory and impact point. As an example, pounding in a nail with a hammer most effectively requires the carpenter to hold the hammer out in his / her knuckles vs. gripping with the palm of the hand. It is no different when holding a baseball bat. Dusty like thinking of this as “Holding the bat in the fingers.”
As you observed the Major League Baseball players, did you notice how many sort of “wag” the bat around loosely in their knuckles vs. the ones that grip the bat tightly with the palm of their hands?
In our systematic approach to hitting, we recommend that you hold the bat out with your fingers in your knuckles to ensure exceptional impact. For more on this, check out Step 4 in the Systematic Approach to Hitting in Dusty Baker’s Hitting Handbook, p.31..
Welcome to hittinghandbook.com! We thank you for visiting our website. As a player, parent or coach we hope that you experience this site as a place to help you become an improved coach or player. The best part of the systematic approach to hitting is that it is easy to teach. Any parent, any coach and any player can apply the principles found in the book.
Good luck at the plate!