Little League, Batter Up!

Choosing the right baseball bat for your little leaguer can be a challenging but also a highly rewarding experience. A tremendous amount of science and engineering goes into the design of today’s bats. Many feature exotic combinations of aluminum, zinc, copper, magnesium and titanium. Others use synthetic composites and space-age bonding materials. New technology also helps reduce weight, enlarge the hitting area and improve overall energy transfer.
 
For most little league players, however, it still comes down to length and weight. Here are some general guidelines to use in selecting the appropriate length of a bat by age or weight and height.
 
Determining Bat Length by Age

AgeBat Length
5 – 724” – 26”
8 – 926” – 28”
1028” – 29”
11 – 1230” – 31”


 
Bats are also available in a number of different weights, measured in ounces. A concept called bat drop can also help young players increase both swing speed and bat control. The bat drop is the weight of the bat in ounces minus its length in inches. For example, a 21-ounce, 31-inch bat has a bat drop of minus 10 (21 –31 = -10).
 
One way to determine if the weight of a bat is right for your little leaguer is to have them grip the bat with one hand and hold it straight out from their body. They should easily be able to hold it in that position for up to five seconds. If not, try a bat of the same length but with a greater minus bat drop.
 
Before selecting any bat make sure it fits and feels right in your little leaguer’s hands. Also make sure it conforms to all league guidelines for length and weight. Choosing the right bat will help your child develop good batting habits that will stay with them for a lifetime.
 
-Home Run Hitter
 
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Spring Training!

Dunham’s baseball training aids can aid in the development of baseball skills — in both the backyard and the team’s training facility.
 
Baseball is America’s game, and learning to play it well can be very beneficial for young men and women. Baseball provides exercise opportunities while improving muscle coordination and mental concentration, but it’s not an easy game to master, so a bit of extra help can go a long way in terms of building skills.
 
Dunham’s stocks a wide range of baseball training aids, ranging from inexpensive exercise devices to pro-caliber pitching machines. Dunham’s can supply training products suitable for college or semi-pro training camps as well as basic equipment meant for use in the backyard. Product choices include training aids designed specifically for both hardball and softball.
 
Among the Pik training aids that Dunham’s stocks is the Arm Strong muscle developer, which is designed to improve throwing arm strength. Another Pik offering is the Power Trigger, a device that can help hitters develop a strong and balanced swing (shown at left). Pik’s patented EZ Tee batting tee (shown above) is the company’s top-selling product. Designed for simple adjustment the EZ Tee has a rubber topper that won’t damage a bat. Pik’s Swift Stik is a lightweight training bat that gives aspiring hitters lots of extra swings without the muscle fatigue that a game-weighted bat can cause.
 
Of course, Dunham’s carries a wide selection of products from other manufacturers as well. With everything from pitcher’s targets to portable backstops, and ball-return nets, Dunham’s has the training aids that can help any young man or woman fully develop their natural baseball skills.
 
-Home Run Hitter
 
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Swing Batta Batta…

Power hitters, contact hitters and everyone in between—today’s bat technology is designed to improve the performance of anyone who steps to the plate.

A lot has changed since the first aluminum bats were introduced more than 30 years ago. Bat manufacturers are constantly introducing new performance enhancement technology to give you an edge in the batter’s box.

Today’s bats feature exotic combinations of aluminum alloy, zinc, copper, magnesium, graphite and titanium. Wilson and Louisville feature perfect examples of this revolutionary technology.

The Wilson “half and half” technology combines a “Flex-Tuned Evolution Composite” handle with an alloy barrel for optimal balance and a generous sweet spot. Louisville uses a different approach with X-1 Composite Technology that layers aerospace grade graphite embedded in epoxy resin.

While the technology is complex, the objective is simple: optimize light weight for durability.

Lighter materials mean hitters can generate more bat speed. Greater bat speed results in harder hit balls that get through the gaps and over the fence.

In making bats lighter and more durable, manufacturers have also enlarged the sweet spot. Hitting behind the runner, going to the opposite field or laying down the perfect bunt becomes a lot easier with a sweet spot that allows for a greater margin of error.

Like most performance-enhancement technology, the right fit is a key to success. Selecting a bat with the correct design, length and weight is critical. This is especially true for younger players who are still growing and developing their skills. The wrong bat could lead to bad habits that develop to compensate for ill-suited equipment.

The barrel and handle of bats are designed for specific purposes. A larger barrel provides a bigger sweet spot but hitters can generate more bat speed with a smaller barrel. A larger handle can take the sting out of hitting the ball but it also increases weight.

The length and weight of a bat are also critical to success. Here’s chart that can help you select the right size bat:

Length and Weight: The weight drop is a figure that refers to the difference between the length of the bat (in inches) and the weight of the bat (in ounces). Weight drop is always shown as a minus number. Lighter bats have a higher weight drop which means a -10 would be lighter than a -8.

Determine Your Bat Length by Weight and Height
Your height (inches)
Your weight (pounds)36-4041-4445-4849-5253-5657-6061-6465-6869-7273+
Bat length
less than 6026″27″28″29″29″
61-7027″27″28″29″30″30″
71-8028″28″29″30″30″31″
81-9028″29″29″30″30″31″32″
91-10028″29″30″30″31″31″32″
101-11029″29″30″30″31″31″32″
111-12029″29″30″30″31″31″32″
121-13029″29″30″30″31″32″33″33″
131-14029″30″30″31″31″32″33″33″
141-15030″30″31″31″32″33″33″
151-16030″31″31″32″32″33″33″33″
161-17031″31″32″32″33″33″34″
171-18032″33″33″34″34″
180+33″33″34″34″

-Home Run Hitter

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Fast-Pitch The New Field of Dreams

Less than 15 years ago there was talk that fast-pitch softball was on its last legs. Today it is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. Driving the resurgence are women who have embraced fast-pitch and made it a game of their own.

The seed was planted back in 1972 with the passage of Title IX. The legislation set the foundation for growth in women athletic teams and athletic scholarships for woman at the collegiate level. Even with Title IX, women’s fast-pitch softball lingered in the background.

The sport really grabbed everyone’s attention with the success of the U.S. Women’s team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. At the time, fewer than 250,000 women were playing fast-pitch across the nation. Today the American Softball Association (ASA) projects there are more than 1.8 million women in the U.S. playing on nearly 650,000 teams.

Back in 1996, just a few universities had fast-pitch teams. Now there are more than 932 collegiate programs involving more than 16,000 student athletes.

While these numbers are impressive, they could be just the tip of the iceberg.

ASA registrations indicate fast-pitch is still gaining in popularity with women. There are more than 1.2 million girls participating on 83,000 youth girl softball teams in the U.S.

Don’t confuse these women with the recreational player who plays a few games when the weather is nice. Most women participating in fast-pitch play more than 52 games a year.

Proof of the game’s popularity can also be found on the internet. A quick search of fast-pitch softball turns up hundreds of links. The sport’s popularity has fueled a new industry of training videos, books, camps, tournaments and specialized equipment. There are even endorsement opportunities for star athletes.

-Home Run Hitter

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