The Benefits of Wood
Truth of the matter these days is that most kids won't start using wood until around high school, or even college. Of course, we can't claim to be unbiased about this, but for those that show interest, there are definite benefits to wood:
Wood Strengthens: Wood is heavier. We've worked out ways to lighten the load, but only so much. But that means kids getting used to lugging around our clubs are getting that much stronger.
Wood Teaches: The demanding nature of wood translates to superior swings, regardless of what you use in the future. Once you've learned how to hit the sweet spot with consistency, you will be a better player, no question.
Think of it like training to climb a mountain, then following it up with a hike up a hill.
Get A Head Start: Wood is the only material allowed in professional play. Learning to use it early could prove highly advantageous.
Differences Between Adult & Youth
Models: To accommodate younger players, bats are generally made to be lighter and models see minor modifications in profiles both to ease swinging and ensure sufficient bat density.
League Standards: Before anything else, you'll want to know what, if any sort of restrictions your league has on bat sizes. We divide our youth bats into two categories.
L2.25" Small Barrel Bats: Specifically made to be compliant with leagues that require a 2.25" barrel diameter, such as Little League.
Big Barrel Bats: For leagues with no barrel size restrictions, you have the option of going with big barrels for extra hitting surface.
Material: If you're not sure where to start, we recommend trying out birch as it tends to be more flexible and forgiving. (Generally, we recommend avoiding ash until high school, unless you're very sure of what you're doing.)
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest obstacles to wood bats is weight.
Finding a bat light enough to ensure proper mechanics is vital to confidence and success as a hitter.
To deal with this quandary, we developed what we call Ultralight Series.
Ultralights benefit from increased swing speed and control. The tradeoff is density and thus durability. We highly recommend having a coach provide direction on proper hitting technique and "sweet spot training." (To be fair, directions we recommend for everyone, but especially with these bats.)
Cupping: One question we get quite a lot of is whether cupping will help make a wood bat lighter. The answer we tend to give is, "technically, yes." Thing is, because the bat is so much smaller, the overall change in weight isn't going to be very significant. So, if you're in a situation where "every little bit helps," feel free, but don't expect a lot.
High School is a special time for a number of reasons. In the baseball arena, it's because they're stepping into the adult bat sizes. Most of the factors that apply to adults apply to these soon-to-be-adults. Still, a few special factors to consider:
Model: This is where a player can really start to find that special model to call their own. If you're not sure already, be sure to explore the extremes and figure out where your preferences lie.
Weight: Teenagers can find themselves in an in-between state, where they're too strong for youth models, but perhaps not quite ready for the full weight of an adult model. If you find yourself in this boat, we made these paddles just for you:
ProLight Series: Generally aimed at kids transitioning from youth leagues to high school, but the benefits to swing speed are undeniable.
Preparing for a professional career? Or just looking to improve your game? It can be a rough transition, made harder the longer you wait. It can also come at a price. To help ease these burdens, we have a couple of special, extra durable recommendations:
APEX Series: The APEX Series are one-piece maple wood bats made from our prime grade hand-split billets and inlaid with fiber-glass handles to significantly reinforce the weakest part of the bat. This has proven a great option for teams sharing bats and players looking to keep it to one bat per season.
HD Series: The HD Series are bats made from specifically-selected high density woods, and cut to profiles and dimensions proven to last longer and deliver a nice extra bit of pop. The tradeoff here is a smaller hitting surface, so while we've developed them to be adaptable to any style, contact and gap hitters will find themselves a little more at home.
Infinite Possibilities: When you open up into the vast world of adult baseball, the sheer variety of bat models can be overwhelming. Hopefully, our guide has provided you with everything you need.
If not, you are most welcome to get in touch with us (Contact Us by form or phone) and we can help clear up any confusion. You can also send us suggestions for this guide if you think it will help future shoppers.