Why Swing Wood?
Discover the benefits of wood bats
We can't claim to be unbiased in this matter-- after all, we sell wood bats-- but for you, our dear (potential) customer, we want to make sure you have an honest understanding of this matter so you can make an informed decision.
A Brief History
As many an account will start, aluminum bats were introduced back in the 1970's, and they got very popular. In particular, youth leagues facing the financial annoyance of broken bats saw a definite financial advantage in their nigh-unbreakable metal counterparts. And thus, a shift in baseball began.
Somewhere in the process of this change, people also took note of a difference in performance. Thanks to their hollow cores, metal bats benefited from a "trampoline effect", giving them an advantage in performance. The difference wasn't so pronounced as to render wood bats obsolete- a player's own talents continued to reign supreme- but metal did steadily edge wood out.
For a time, it seemed metal had no downside. The downside that eventually emerged was somewhat ironic.
The Nature of Metal
So, why would anyone choose wood if metal hits harder? Well, because metal hits harder.
The metal bat's advantages were also its problems. And in hindsight, it isn't that surprising. The bat is practically the center of the game. Changing something so fundamental as the bat was bound to lead to problems. Just a few that came up:
Dangerous Fielding ConditionsThe increased ball speed threatened to change the way the ball was fielded. Catching the ball became quite a bit harder, and getting in front of it posed more of an injury risk. This led some leagues (particularly at high school age and up) to ban metal bats altogether.
Player DevelopmentBecause metal bats hit well off of any part of the bat, not just the sweet spot, any hit could be a decent hit. This held ramifications not only for the development of an individual player, but the inherent skill level of the game as a whole.
Record-KeepingPro players faced all of the above issues, mixed in 100MPH+ fastballs, and then had to contend with the issue of how to handle record-setting. If the past greats set their records using wood and modern players set records using metal, the comparisons would be skewed. To maintain the integrity of the data and the legacies of past players, wood has remained the weapon of choice. (Source)
The Benefits of Wood
We've hinted at these a bit up to this point, so they shouldn't be too surprising.
Feel the Sweet Spot
With wood, you will learn about the sweet spot and get good at hitting it. You will see, hear and feel the difference between a good hit and a bad hit much more easily than with a metal bat.
Learn the Better Part of Valor
Swing at enough bad pitches and it could cost you. This can be a very good motivator to leave the bad pitches alone and let the good ones have it.
Get Good, Get Better
Wood bats will teach, strengthen and sharpen your skills. If you need an edge on your teammates or company baseball team, playing OTL Softball or just playing with friends in the park, if you'd like to get an edge, this is the way to do it.
If you're looking to play at the highest levels of baseball you will be required to hit with wood, so why wait? Start early, find the model(s) that's right for you, and get real comfortable so you're ready when the time comes. After all, scouts aren't going to see or care how far you can hit with metal.
Advice For Batters
So, what do we, as impartial advisors, recommend?
Kidding. But, seriously, we've got a few pieces of advice.
To hit better and make your bat last longer, you need to hit the sweet spot, and hit it consistently. If you find yourself getting frustrated, don't. Others have already been through this ordeal. Utilize your coaches or any instructor willing to help. It'll pay off big time.
Kids learn fast. The younger, the faster. So the earlier they start with wood bats, the better they'll be. They may thank you some day with your very own mansion.
- If this interests you, we've got a sizable selection of youth wood bats
Mix It Up. Wood for Practice, Metal for Games.
If you don't really need a wood bat, but still want to reap the benefits, we recommend using wood bats for practice and metal for games.
If you'd like more advice or recommendations, we've put together a buyer's guide that can help direct you to whatever you're looking for.