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How to Size a Baseball Bat

Choosing a brand new bat is one of the most important things you will ever do as a baseball player. And while there are a variety of different methods and measurements you can use when choosing a bat, the best metric by far is simply what feels comfortable to you.

When you are trying out new bats, take a few practice swings to see how it feels. As you are trying out each bat, go up one inch at a time until you find one that works great for your. Going up one inch at a time will make it a lot easier for you to adjust to your new bat. It will also ensure your swing isn’t negatively affected.

Whether you are just starting to play the game of baseball or you are in need of a new bat, follow these 3 simple steps to properly measure yourself.


Image courtesy Slugger.com
Step #1 – Start by measuring from the center of your chest all the way to the tip of your index finger. Make sure your arm is completely straight. You will then need to use one of the many free sizing charts online to determine the proper bat size for your height and weight.

Once you have the bat size there are two more steps you need to take to determine if the size you chose is indeed the right fit.

Step #2 – Hold the bat in your hand and put it down your side. If the palm of your hand reaches the handle, that is a sure sign you have the right sized bat.

Step #3 – The last step is to take the bat and place the knob at the center of your chest. Make sure the bat is facing outward. The goal is to be able to grab the barrel of the bat. If you can, that means you have the right size. If you can’t, you need to try a different size.

Measuring Youth players For The Right Bat Size

If you are looking for the best youth bats, the way you measure for it will be somewhat different. Here are the 3 steps to measuring a child for a baseball bat.

Step #1 – Measure The Child’s Height – Be sure to measure your child’s height with cleats on. If your child is 3’ and 3’4”, a 26 inch bat may be the best size to start with. As your child gets taller, increase the bat size 1 inch at a time.

Step #2 – Compare The Child To The Bat – Have your child stand up next to the bat. The goal is for the bat to reach the child’s hip. If the bat exceeds or goes past the hip area, it will be too long for your child to swing. Go down 1 inch at a time until you find the right size.

Step #3 – Weigh Your Child

Weight plays a major role in determining which bat your child will be able to swing. Again, use one of the free online charts to determine the right bat for your child’s height and weight. In most cases a child 60 pounds and under should use a bat between 26 and 29 inches long. Children weighing more than 70 pounds should use bats between 28 and 32 inches. Some more tips can be seen in the following video:

Low or Mid sized cleats? Which are better?

When it comes to choosing whether or not to go with low or mid baseball cleats, it really all boils down to preference. Each player is different and each position is different. You have to take the time to figure out which features are most important to you. With that being said, with this article I am going to talk about 5 important factors you should consider when trying to decide on low top or mid range baseball cleats.

Weight

In the game of baseball the weight of your baseball shoe is extremely important. If you compare the weight of a low top and mid range shoe you will find the low top has the advantage every time. The lightest low top baseball shoe weighs around 9.3 ounces. The lightest mid range baseball cleat weighs around 12.2 ounces. And while that may not seem like a lot, it makes a huge difference when you are out on the field running around.

Speed

Each position in baseball is a little different. There are some positions that don’t require as much speed as the others. For example, a pitcher doesn’t need as much speed as someone who plays in the outfield. And to have maximum speed you need a baseball shoe that is light. So when it comes to speed, the best option is a low top baseball cleat.

Ankle Protection & Support

As we all know, our ankles can be very fragile. If you play a position that requires you to run a lot you may want to wear a shoe that provides adequate ankle support and protection. If this is what you are looking for you will need to go with the mid range baseball cleats. They will have more cushion and support around the ankle.

Style

This is something that is completely subjective. There is no right or wrong style. The style you choose is totally up to you and your preferences. As for me, I prefer the low top cleats. To me they look and feel better. For you it might be the mid range baseball cleats. Its all about you and what you like. If you are the type of player who likes to wear stirrups, opt for the low top cleats as it will allow more of the sock to be seen.

Price

Last on the list is price. The price you pay will of course depend on the brand and model you choose to purchase. When you compare price of mid range and low top baseball cleats you will see there really isn’t a big difference. As a matter of fact, the average price for low top cleats is only about a dollar less than mid range cleats. So nothing that will really affect your buying decision.

So I goes back to my first point which is preference. Both low top and mid range baseball cleats are created to help you play a very effective game. They are designed to improve your overall performance. So no matter which one you choose, chances are your game won’t suffer at all.

Rules with respect to Cleats

There are basically three different types of cleats that can be worn during a baseball game. The type of cleats you can wear will depend on the league you are playing for. The rules for baseball cleats very depending on the level of baseball being played. For example, you will find that most youth baseball leagues will not allow their players to wear metal cleats. This is because they present the potential for serious injury.

Because of this they are required to wear plastic cleats or turf shoes. As children get older and they start playing more competitively, the rules change. In most high schools the baseball players are allowed to wear metal cleats. And in the major leagues, you will almost only see players wearing metal cleats. Below we will discuss the different types of cleats and situation they would be worn:

Metal Cleats

If you are playing on a grass field its best to wear metal cleats. This is because metal cleats are better at digging into the ground and giving you the grip you need to take off and slow down. They are also great for helping batter dig a toe hold in the batters box. This way you can hit the ball without slipping. Metal spikes are also much better for stability and balance. Metal cleats are only worn in competitive leagues such as high school, college and the major leagues.

Turf Shoes

Turf shoes can actually be worn at all levels of play. Instead of metal spikes at the bottom, turf shoes have a sole that is rippled. These shoes are great when playing on artificial turf. When you play on artificial turf you are not allow to wear metal cleats. Metal cleats have sharp edges and will tear up the playing surface. You also can wear plastic spikes. When you are on turf plastic is dangerous and ineffective.

When plastic spikes touch the artificial turf they will just slide right off. You will not get any traction wearing plastic cleats on artificial turf. As a matter of fact, doing so could lead to twisting your ankle.

Plastic Cleats

Most players grew up wearing plastic cleats since metal cleats were prohibited in their youth league. As a result, when they get older they still prefer to wear this kind of cleats. The one big difference between plastic cleats and metal cleats is grip. Plastic cleats are able to dig into the ground as sharply as metal cleats are. And even though that’s the case, plastic cleats can still provide you with a decent amount of traction and security.

So you will have no problem batting, running or fielding during the course of a game. If you will be playing on a soft or muddy field, plastic cleats are the best option. They don’t dig into the ground quite as much which allows you to have better grip and stability in muddy situations. They basically just bounce off the ground so you can keep going. With metal cleats they dig deep down into the ground and will get stuck in the mud.

Benefits of Cleats

When it comes to the game of baseball you can’t wear just any shoe on to the field. You need baseball cleats. Below I am going to share with you 3 big benefits of baseball cleats and why you should wear them.

Benefit #1 – They Provide Excellent Grip

In baseball there is a lot of running and lateral movements that are required of the baseball player. And one of the biggest problems baseball players tend to have is grip. When you take off from the plate or you are running in the outfield to catch a long ball, you can’t afford to slip or lose a step. You need an explosive first step so you can get to where you need to be quickly.

These days some of the top shoe companies use a variety of different technologies to ensure you get maximum grip with every stride you take. The better the grip the faster you can run. And the faster you can run, the quicker you will be able to get to the next base or get an opposing player out.

Benefit #2 – They Provide Comfort

Standing and running around for hours on metal cleats can be very uncomfortable. Luckily, there is a lot of really great cushioning technology that is now used when creating baseball cleats. No longer do you have to worry about the pressure from the cleats pushing against the heel of your feet.

In the elite baseball cleats you will find form fitting cushioning technology being used. That basically means the cushion adjusts to the movement of your feet. The result is unbelievable cushion and comfort. How your feet feel out on the field is extremely important. If you feel the impact every time you take a step, you won’t have a very good game.

But thanks to technologies such as Adidas ADItuff and Nike’s Max Air, the impact gets absorbed. That means the pressure from the impact never makes its way to your knees and lower leg giving you the ability to go all out much longer.

Benefit #3 – They Improve Your Overall Game

Wearing the right cleats during a game of baseball is vital to your overall performance. This is especially true if you are playing competitive baseball. Not wearing baseball cleats can lead to a variety of different problems. In some cases it can even lead to serious injury.

When you play baseball you play on different fields made up of different materials. Some surfaces are hard while others are considered soft. So not only do you need baseball cleats, you need the right kind of baseball cleats for the type of surface you are playing on.

This all boils down to research. Find out the conditions you will be playing in and then research the right baseball cleats for the job. When you wear the right baseball cleats, no matter what position you are playing, it will dramatically increase your overall performance. Just ask any pro and I assure you they will tell you the same.

How to break in new cleats

When you get a new pair of baseball cleats the first thing you will want to do is break them in. Never play a game without breaking the cleats in first. If you do you will experience quite a bit of pain. When you break a baseball shoe in you are ensuring it will fit you the right way. Most people will associate new with being better. And while there is nothing wrong with buying something new, in the baseball world new usually means tight and uncomfortable.

If you wear new cleats during a tryout or during a game, you are doing yourself a big disadvantage. When the cleats don’t fit right it will be very hard for you to put your best game forward. That is why it is vital you break your cleats in before you do any in game activities.

break in baseball cleatsTo break in your baseball cleats you will need three things. 2 pairs of socks, some leather protector and a newspaper. Before putting on your cleats for the first time put on an extra pair of socks. Not only will this provide you with a little extra cushion, it will also stretch the leather.

Now take your new cleats and firmly bend the bottoms down. You are trying to flex the shoe just a little bit. Once you have done that you will take the leather protector and apply a coat to the shoes. Read the directions and apply the amount that is stated on the can. After you have applied the leather protector you can put the cleats on. Once you have the shoes on go soak your feet, with cleats on, in warm water.

By soaking your feet in warm water you will speed up the break in process. After a few minutes, step out of the warm water and take off the baseball cleats. Put them in a nice area where they can dry naturally. Do not apply any heat to speed up the drying process. Sit them out on the porch or in the garage and let them dry on their own. While the shoes are drying stuff them with newspaper.

This will help them keep their shape while they dry. Now you are ready to try to shoes out during practice. During practice you want to run hard and flex your foot to get the shoe into game shape. The idea is to get the shoe to move naturally in certain situations. When the shoe moves naturally it will be more comfortable to wear. Move the ridged materials as much as you can.

The more you move them the quicker they will conform to the way you need them to be. Once the cleats have been broken in you will be able to play a full game of baseball without any problems. Just remember to never go out on that field without first taking the time to break your new baseball cleats in. The result will be sore feet that can take a few days to heal.

A video for soccer cleats which can be applied to baseball as well:

How to catch fly balls in the sun

Its no secret the sun can completely mess up your game. What would usually be a routine fly ball can turn into a tricky play all because of the sun. But don’t worry, I am here to help. Below I am going to share with you 4 tips that will help you catch fly balls in the sun.

Tip #1 – Use Your Glove To Block The Sun

One of the easiest defenses against the sun is your glove (our top choices can be found in the best gloves section). You need to get used to using it as a shield to help you block the sun from getting in your eyes. When you are looking up to find the baseball use the glove so you can see where the ball is.

Tip #2 – Remain Calm

The worst thing you can do in this situation is panic. When the baseball is hit high in the sky you can lose sight of it when the sun is glaring down on you. But don’t panic. Remain calm. Remember the ball has to come down. Your job is to get an angle where you are not looking directly at the sun. When you do you should be able to see the ball before it comes down and hits the ground.

Trust your read. Generally speaking you are right. Make sure you are in the general area and once the ball comes out of the sun you will be able to make the catch.

Tip #3 – Use Your Angles

When the ball is hit you need to immediately change your angle. You need to angle your body in way that the sun is not blocking your view of the ball. This can be difficult but it is not impossible. You want the sun to be in your peripheral vision. And as stated before, you have to trust your read. Be in the area where you believe the ball will come down. As the ball comes down you will be able to see it. I will be honest with you, this is not an easy catch.

Tip #4 – Make Sure You Have The Right Sunglasses

If you play in the outfield you absolutely must have sunglasses. They are one of the most important pieces of equipment you need. Sunglasses help keep the bright sun out of your eyes and it helps prevent glare. As you can imagine there are a ton of different sunglasses you can choose from. Take your time and do a little research to find the best ones. Like with all things, you have to find the pair that works best for you.

When you are on the field always make sure you have your glasses on. You never want to get caught with your glasses on your hat. Especially if it prevents you from making an important play. That is a sure way to find yourself in the dugout. So when the sun is out have your glasses on. That way you will have a better chance of catching any fly balls that come your way.

Essentials for Cold Weather games

In most cities in the United States it is still a little cold when April rolls around. Because of this you need to make sure you have the proper gear to keep you nice and warm. Below you will find 5 baseball essentials for cold weather conditions.

Long Sleeve Undershirts

This is an absolute must when you are playing in colder weather conditions. Long sleeve undershirts are usually thicker than the regular undershirts shirts worn under the uniform. The inside will have a fleece layer that helps keep you warm. When it comes to fit you have several different options. You can go with crew neck, turtle neck, fitted, loose fit or compression. Its totally up to you and what you like.

Some players don’t like the undershirts because they can be a little bulky sometimes. If that is you consider wearing two long sleeve shirts that are very thin. This will keep you warm without adding the bulky feeling. Nike and Under Armour make the best long sleeve undershirts for baseball.

Cold Weather Leggings

Cold weather baseball leggings come in two different styles. Fitted or compression. Most guys prefer the compression style for one reason and one reason only, it helps keep their muscles warm. When you are in the dugout or on the field waiting for something to happen your muscles can get cold and tight. When this happens you risk injury. Compression style legging help keep the muscles warm. That means your body will be ready for those sudden movements that often take place on the field of play.

A Hand Warmer

You see hand warmers being used in both baseball and football during the cold winter months. When your hands are cold it is very hard to throw a baseball accurately. That’s because you can lose a bit of feeling and not have a good grasp of the ball before you throw it. Hand Warmer To The Rescue!

You should always keep a hand warmer in your back pocket. That way you can keep your throwing hand warm between pitches. Not only will your hands stay warm but the rest of your body will feel warm too.

Cold Weather Batting Gloves

Cold weather batting gloves are made specifically for playing the game of baseball in cold weather. They are designed thicker than regular gloves so your hands can stay warm. When you are at the plate the last thing you want to worry about is cold hands. Its a big distraction and can have a negative impact on your game. Franklin has great cold weather batting gloves for players to wear.

Their gloves are durable and they aren’t big and bulky. The best part of course is they will keep your hands nice and warm. If you play baseball in some of the colder places such as Colorado, New York, Boston, Minnesota or Philadelphia you absolutely must have cold weather batting gloves. Otherwise not only will you risk being cold but you can risk injuring yourself and of course having a horrible game.

Hitting Tips – How to have more success

Hitting a baseball is a very simple yet complex thing. Its actually very easy to learn how to hit a baseball. But to become good at it can sometimes take years and years of developing your swing. That’s because there is so much that goes into it.

You have to get your stance right, you have to hit the ball just right and so much more. Below I am going to share with you 5 tips you can use to hit the baseball better.

Tip #1 – Hit Against A Firm Front Side

Your front leg has a lot of responsibility. It ensures your hands and your body stay behind the baseball. It prevents forward momentum so you won’t fall over once you hit the ball. It starts what is known as the axis of rotation. So as you can see, having a firm front side is extremely important. Just know that firm doesn’t mean stiff.

Tip #2 – Make Sure Your Back Foot Is On Its Toe

While there are some exceptions to this rule, for the most part your back foot should be on its toe. When you swing at the ball you generate a lot of force. So much so that your back toe may slightly come up off the ground when you swing. If you are flat footed you could cause an injury. So make sure you back foot is on its toe.

Tip #3 – Make Sure Your Hands Are In The Right Position

Hand position is extremely important when it comes to hitting the baseball. The correct positioning for your hands is palm up, palm down. If you are a right handed batter your right hand should be palm up and your left hand should be palm down. If you are a left handed batter it would be the opposite. When it comes to gripping the bat this is by far the most powerful position.

Tip #4 – See The Ball At Its Contact Point

This is known as head on the ball. And while it seems obvious to make sure you see the ball at its contact point, its not as easy as it sounds. Before you can hit the ball you must know how to see the ball. It is therefore very important you work on your ability to see the ball at its point of contact. This will dramatically increase your chances of hitting the ball.

Tip #5 – Bend Your Top Arm

When you are hitting a baseball you will get the most power when your elbow is firmly planted on your side. You will get more torque when your elbow is close to your body. If you start to straighten your elbow that is when you start to lose power. You also lose leverage since your elbow will no longer be firmly against your body.

And there you have it, 5 tips guaranteed to help you hit the baseball better. Follow these tips and you will be hitting like the pros in no time.

Batting Tees: Choices for Younger players

When it comes to baseball batting tees you don’t always get what you pay for. Most people think just any old baseball tee will do. Well I am here to tell you that is not the case. There are certain tees you want to avoid at all cost. For example, some tees chip that wood on your baseball bat. The can also be too flexible and fly all over the place when you swing at the ball. These are the types of tees you want to stay away from.

When I am looking for a baseball tee there are three things I look for. Durability, low maintenance and one that won’t damage my baseball bat. Below I am going to share with you three baseball batting tees that have all three of these components.

The Tanner Tee

This is the tee you will see most professional baseball players using. This tee is lightweight and very stable. Its also easy to travel with because the tee comes right off so you can take it with you. You can put it in your bat bag and go. It is also very durable and will last for a very long time. You can either get it in regular size or short size.

The G Tee Baseball Tee

The G Tee is a fantastic baseball tee. The one thing you might be skeptical about is the rubber part used to hold the baseball. Generally speaking rubber would be far to flexible for this type of thing. However, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with how strong and sturdy it is.

After thousands of swings it will still be standing strong. And thanks to the sliding pin you can easily break it down and take it with you when you travel. To help hold it down there is a place where you can put a 5 pound barbell over the top.

The Schutt Swing Rite Dual Tee

Last on my list of top 3 baseball batting tees is the Schutt swing rite dual tee. If you will be traveling a lot this is not the tee for you. It is very big and bulky and not easy to move around. However, with some of its unique features you won’t even care how big it is.

This tee kit comes with two tees and base with 48 holes The two tees have plastic nobs at the bottom. The benefit to this type of set up is you can work on both inside and outside pitches without having to adjust or readjust anything. It has a home plate which will allow you to also work on hitting pitches from different areas on the plate.

If you have a batting cage at your home this is the perfect compliment. One downside to this baseball tee is the size of the rubber. Its pretty large which means it swallows up half of the baseball. This can make it difficult to really get a good swing. But other than that its a great baseball tee and will help you improve your swing.

After all of this practice you may be ready for a new bat. If so check out our best youth baseball bats section to see which is the right choice for you.

Protecting Signs as a Catcher

As a catcher one of your most important jobs is to protect the signs you show the pitcher. You never want the opposing team to see what you are doing. When you are giving signs you want three players to be able to see them clearly. The pitcher, the shortstop and the second baseman. The shortstop and the second baseman will pass the information on to the other infielders. Here are a few simple things you can do to ensure your signals always stay protected.

Have Your Knees Pointing Towards The Middle Infielders

When you are in your catchers stance you always want your left knee facing the shortstop and your right knee facing your second baseman. Avoid swinging your knees back and forth. Doing so could prevent your own infielders from seeing the signs as well.

Use Your Catchers Mitt To Shield Your Signs

As we all know there is a third base coach that stands at third base. If you don’t shield your signs correctly he will be able to see them. The best way to protect your signs from the third base coach is to use your catchers mitt as a shield. You should have the forearm of your glove hand resting on the outside of your knee. This will block the vision of those near third base. Avoid wrapping the glove around your knee as it will impede the vision of your shortstop.

Make Sure Your Hands Are In The Right Position

When giving signs your hands should be close to your body. When your hands are close to your body your legs will help protect the signals. Your hand should be hanging loosely and very close to your body. It should be right in the crease of your hip.

Use Your Fingers Only

When your are giving signs nothing should move but your fingers. If your wrist or forearm is moving it means you are giving your signs in a very lazy fashion. So tighten it up a bit. An experienced coach will be able to look at your throwing wrist and see if you are giving away pickoffs and pitches.

Use Your Toes To Balance

The catchers stance is not always easy. It takes a lot of muscle endurance to be able to sit like that for long periods of time. By balancing on your toes your stance will be more comfortable. You want your toes follow the path of your knees. Just like your knees should be pointing towards the middle infielders, so should your toes. Your heels should never be planted flat on the ground.

When you are in your stance they should be in the air. Right under your rear end. If the heels of your feet are planted flat you will not be able to properly protect the signs nor will you be able to properly catch the ball and tag a runner out. Its the improper stance and should never be done. Stay on the balls of your feet. This makes it easier for you to jump up, catch the ball and tag a runner out.