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How to Choose Your Baseball Bat:

 

Few decisions impact your game as much as choosing the perfect bat. You want a bat that has the right size, right weight and right length for you, and within your budget. Improvements in technology have given today ball players more options than ever, so you’re sure to find a bat that feels like it was custom made for you. You just have to do your homework to find it.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making your selection:

 

Weight: As a general rule, bigger, stronger players usually prefer a heavier bat for maximum power. Smaller players usually benefit from a lighter bat that allows greater bat speed. To determine the weight that's  right for you, swing a variety of bats and see how much weight you're comfortable with.

 

Length: Length and weight combine for peak performance. A longer bat gives you greater reach, allowing you to hit balls on the other side of the plate. But remember that a longer bat may be heavier, and the extra weight could slow you down. Like checking the weight, you need to swing bats of different lengths to decide what length best suits you.

 

League requirements: All Adult Baseball Bats are required to meet the BESR Certification, which makes the bat approved for high school and college level play.

 

Feel: This may be the most important factor. Make sure the bat feels right to you, like an extension of your arm and hand. After all, you're going to be spending quite a bit of time together.

 

So you've chosen your bat. Now what? You want to be comfortable and confident with your bat before you swing it in a win-or-lose situation, so take it to the practice field and get in a few hits. Take a look at our Baseball Bat Care section to get tips on how to make your bat last as long as possible.  Confidence can only come from one thing: batting practice. Whatever bat you choose, put in plenty of practice time, so you'll be ready when the pressures on at the plate.

 

How to select the right size and length? Below is a chart that will give you helpful information regarding a ballpark average for your child.  Please remember that the chart only gives averages and does not take into account a players personal preferences.  Some players may like a longer bat while others prefer a short bat, and some may like a heavier bat or some may prefer a lighter bat.  But what this chart does give you is a starting position to begin your search for a new bat. 

 

 Height (in inches)
Weight
(in pounds)
61-64 65-6869-72 73+
121-130 32"33" 33" 33"
131-140 32"33" 33" 33"
141-150 32"33" 33" 33"
151-160 32"33" 33" 33"
161-170 32"33" 33" 34"
171-180 33"33" 34" 34"
180+33" 33" 34"34"

What is the BESR Certification?
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations (www.nfhs.org) the BESR Certification can be explained in the following:
In Rule 1-3-5, the Baseball Rules Committee addressed the altering of bats and incorporated the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) performance standard language into the body of the rule.

The requirement of the BESR certification mark on all non-wood bats, which originally was approved by the committee in 2001, took effect in high school baseball January 1, 2003. The BESR mark denotes that non-wood bats have a maximum exit speed of 97 miles per hour (under a set of laboratory conditions) and they have met moment-of-inertia requirements, as well as a maximum diameter of the bat and a minus-3 differential between the length and weight of the bat. The rule now states that bats may either be wood or non-wood, rather than listing various compositions of non-wood bats.

Although the rule requires non-wood bats to be labeled with a silk screen or other permanent certification mark, in some cases manufacturers have used a label, sticker or decal to denote BESR certification. However, effective January 1, 2006, no BESR label, sticker or decal will be permitted on any non-wood bat.



How does a bat become BESR Certified?

Each bat must pass testing in the Baseball Research Center at the University of Massachusetts – Lowell (http://m-5.uml.edu/umlbrc/). “The Baseball Research Center serves as the official certification center for all baseball bats used for NCAA and NHFS.”



What are the specific rules for Adult Baseball bats?

According to the 2007 NFHS Baseball Rules Book the following rules pertain to the use of bats for high school and college play.



Rule 1-3-2

The bat which may be wood or non-wood product shall be a smooth cylinder implement with a knob that is permanently and securely fastened. All non-wood bat shall meet the Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR) performance standard, and such bats be labeled with a silk screen or other permanent certification mark. No BESR label, sticker or decal will be accepted on any non-wood bats. There shall be no devices, attachments or wrappings that cause the handle to become flush with the knob. Molded grips are illegal.



Rule 1-3-4

A wood bat may be roughened or wound with tape not more than 18 inches from the handle end of the bat. No foreign substance may be added to the surface of the bay beyond 18 inches for the end of the handle.

Each bat shall be:

In diameter at thickest part: (wood) 2 3/4 inches or less

In diameter at thickest part: (non-wood) 2 5/8 inches or less

In length: 36 inches or less

In weight: A bat shall not weight, numerically, more than three ounces less than the weight of the bat (e.g., a 33-inch-long bat cannot be less than 30 ounces).



How does BESR Certification differ from Major League Baseball?

According to Major League Baseball and the Official Rules. The following explains the rules required for a Major League Baseball bat.



Under 1.00 Objectives of the Game, Rule 1.10:

a) The bat shall be a smooth, round stick not more than 2 3/4 inches in diameter at the thickest part and not more than 42 inches in length. The bat shall be one piece of solid wood.

NOTE: No laminated or experimental bats shall be used in a professional game (either championship season or exhibition games) until the manufacture has secured approval from the Rules Committee of his design and methods of manufacture.

b) Cupped Bats. An indentation in the end of the bat up to one inch in depth is permitted and may be no wider than two inches and no less than one inch in diameter. The indentation must be curved with no foreign substances added.

c) The bat handle, for not more than 18 inches from its end, may be covered or treated with any material or substance to improve the grip. Any such material or substance, which extends past the 18 inch limitation, shall cause the bat to be removed from the game

NOTE: If the umpire discovers that the bat does not conform to c) above until a time during or after which the bat has been used in play, it shall not be grounds for declaring the batter out, or ejected from the game.

d) No colored bat may be used in a professional game unless approved by the Rules Committee.



How was the University of Massachusetts – Lowell selected for the Baseball Research Center?

The program was found in 1998 by MLB and Rawlings. “The purpose was to establish an independent lab for completing science and engineering research as it applies to MLB.” Then in September 1999 the NCAA took notice of the work being done and begins to work with the lab in cooperation. The NCAA was looking to establish bat performance standards. Currently the Baseball Research Center does all the testing for the BESR Certification for all manufacturers.

Read more information regarding the History of the Baseball Research Center.