If you are big enough to swing an aluminum bat, then you’re big enough to benefit from a wood bat. Wood bats develop proper swing form.
So, how do you choose the right size bat for your slugger? It’s primarily about length and drop weight (known as length-to-weight ratio)…with some barrel size consideration.
Choosing the Right Wood Youth Baseball Bat Size
If your child has been properly fitted for length of his/her metal bat, then the length choice for a wood bat will be simple: go with the length of his/her metal bat.
Many ask if they should drop back an inch for a youth wood bat, as wood tends to weigh more than metal. The answer is no! It’s not that wood bats are too heavy; it’s that metal bats are artificially light. With wood, his/her metal bat golf-like swing is replaced by a nice, level baseball swing. And, your young hitter learns where to make contact (on the sweet spot: ~2-6” from barrel end) to maximize power and get more hits on any bat. We’ll touch on proper weight again shortly.
Is this your child’s first experience playing baseball? Not confident he or she was ever properly sized for a wood bat? If your answer is yes to either question, here is a helpful chart with general recommendations for proper youth bat size. Select your child’s weight from the left hand row, and height from the top row. At the intersection of those two points is the suggested youth wood baseball bat size.
Proper Weight for a Wood Youth Bat
In addition to length, length-to-weight ratio also plays a critical role in your slugger’s success. As referenced above, an artificially light bat leads to the aforementioned golf-like swing. A youth wood bat that is too heavy causes hitters to drop their shoulder or turn their wrists. This yields reduced bat speed and less contact with the ball.
Look for a length-to-weight ratio of -7 to -8 for an 11-year-old or younger. If you take this number (referred to as drop weight) and subtract it from bat length, you get the weight in ounces of the bat. So, a 30” -8 drop weight bat will weigh 22 ounces (30-8=22).
For 12-13 year olds playing Pony, Junior, or Senior League level, we recommend a youth bat length-to-weight ratio of -5. For example, a 31” bat weighs 26 ounces. This drop weight gives the young hitter a very manageable weight transition between a youth bat and a high-school age bat.
Getting a properly weighted youth bat is critical to developing a proper swing. If the weight doesn’t fit the age, all the good that comes from swinging a wood bat is erased.
Youth Wood Bat Barrel Size and Length
Currently, any youth 11 years old or younger is required to swing a 2.25” maximum diameter barrel. For 12-13 year olds (and beyond), a 2.5” minimum diameter barrel is typically required. This follows Little League rules, which most leagues follow.
Barrel length, which impacts the balanced feel of any wood bat, is another factor to consider when selecting a youth wood bat. The longer the barrel, the more end-weighted it will feel. Even the ridiculously light metal bats with long barrels wreak havoc on a young hitter’s swing form. Being a power hitter with a metal bat is way different than being a power hitter with a wood bat. So, we recommend, especially for youth, to avoid wooden bats that have big or long barrels, unless your child is super-sized for his/her age. The more balanced the wood bat, the more success we expect the youth baseball player to have.
Coupling player age with proper youth bat barrel size and length-to-weight ratio (drop weight) will get you one step closer to developing a great swing.
Youth Bat Recommendations
First, always purchase a properly weighted youth wood bat in the length that matches your kid’s metal bat. And, if you don’t know if he/she was sized properly, use this baseball bat size chart.
Second, if you are considering a Phoenix bat, we recommend that a child up to age 11 goes with one of the following:
- K240 if new to wood (especially 9-11 year olds), as it has more inside pitch protection
- K455 if wood bat experience or 8 or younger
- K271 for the biggest kid, especially if he/she is 10-11 years old
We promise, they can handle it!
At 12-13 years old, we recommend a transition to the DR100 or DR5S wood youth bat. The barrel size changes from 2-1/4" to 2-1/2", but the length-to-weight differential (aka drop weight) only goes from a -8 to a -5. This maintains swing form. By 14 years old, we definitely expect to see a youth swinging one of our full size, -3 drop weight or heavier baseball bats.
Each Phoenix bat comes with hitting and care tips, as we want your child to have a great wood bat experience. For more information, please check out The Ultimate Guide to Buying a Youth Baseball Bat and our comprehensive Bat Resources page.