There are so many options for youth baseball bats. How do you know which is the best bat for a 10 year old?
Most 10 year olds will be using a bat with a length between 27” and 29”. The weight of these bats will be classified as -10, -8 or -5 (Meaning 10, 8, or 5 ounces less than the length).
How did we come up with these numbers?
How To Size A Baseball Bat
The proper bat selection is determined by a combination of height and strength of each individual player. This will help you choose a bat with the appropriate length and weight.
Cincinatti Children’s Hospital states that the average height of a 10 year old boy is between 50.5 and 59 inches.
We can use the bat sizing chart below provided by Marucci in their ultimate metal bat selection guide to determine the proper size bat based purely on height.
Based on the “normal” growth of a 10 year old, most are going to be somewhere between 4 and [just under] 5 feet tall.
This means that a bat with a length anywhere from 26” to 29” would likely be the best fit for most 10 year olds.
As you know, not all 10 year olds are the same size or fit within the “average” range for that age. Some will be smaller, some will be taller.
Some are extremely strong for their age and some lack strength. All of this will play a role in finding the right bat.
What Are Your Bat Options?
Selecting a youth bat can be tough because there are a lot of different options in this category.
Every league has different rules when it comes to eligible bats so make sure you know where they will be playing.
For 10 year olds there are 2 main classifications for bats.
USSSA and USA Baseball certifications
How do you know which one to pick and what is the difference?
Let’s break it down.
USSSA Baseball Bats
USSSA stands for “United States Specialty Sports Association.” This is the certification that is used in many leagues and tournaments for ages 14 and under.
These bats are certified with the “Bat Performance Factor” or BFP. This essentially measures how much rebound a bat provides. USSSA youth and big barrel bats come with the BFP 1.15 stamp
USSAA bats can have a barrel size of up to 2 3/4in and can come in a -10, -8 or -5 model.
Here are some of the highest rated USSSA bats from 2019
USA Baseball Bats
USA baseball bats use the same testing system as the NFHS/NCAA. They are allowed to have a maximum value of .53
These bats are described as having a performance “similar to wood”. They will not give you as much pop as a USSSA bat.
I do not recommend buying a USA stamped bat unless it is required by your league!
All of the following leagues are required to use bats with the official USA Baseball stamp.
- Babe Ruth / Cal Ripken
- Little League
These bats can only have a barrel size up to 2 5/8in but there is no drop limit. You can get USA bats in -5 all the way to -12.
Here are some of the most popular USA bats in 2019:
The last thing you need to decide is the barrel size. When it comes to youth bats everyone uses the term “big barrel.”
This term was popularized quite a few years ago. A lot of teams starting playing outside of leagues sanctioned by Little League Baseball.
Little League traditionally only approved bats with very small barrels (2 1/4”). As new leagues starting becoming popular they expanded on their approved bat list.
This gave rise to new bats with bigger barrels…. hence “big barrel”
These are also two main categories when it comes to barrel size.
Junior big barrel and Senior League
So what is the difference?
Junior big barrel bats are only available in lengths between 25” and 27” and have a barrel size of 2 3/4”. They are generally made for coach pitch or leagues with much lower pitch speeds and have a drop weight of -10.
Senior league bats (which is an odd term because these are made for players between the ages of 9 and 14) are much more durable and higher performing.
They are made for the bigger, stronger player with a higher swing speed facing faster pitching.
These bats are available in -5, -8 and -10.
Things To Watch Out For
Once you’ve selected and purchased a bat there are a few things you should look out for in order to make sure the bat is the right size.
Firstly, watch how the barrel moves at the start of the swing.
If it instantly drops below the waist and it looks like he is dragging the bat through the zone with his arms then it may be too heavy for him.
On the other hand, if it appears that he can swing the bat without having to use his legs, it may be too light.
Pay attention to contact as well. If it looks like the ball is causing the bat to ricochet at contact there are a few potential issues.
- The bat is too heavy to produce enough swing speed at contact.
- The mass of the bat is too low for the pitch speed and there isn’t enough power at impact (even if the swing speed is high).
It shouldn’t be too difficult to tell which one of these is causing the ricochet.
These guidelines will have you well on your way to selecting the right bat for your 10 year old.
If you are still unsure, see if you can test some bats at your local sporting good store. Be aware that many stores will not allow you to return a bat if it is out of the original packaging.
If you had to error, error on the side of too light. This decreases the chance that he will compensate for a heavy bat and develop a lot of swing flaws.
A lot of people go too heavy too quickly for no real reason other than that’s what they see other kids swinging.
Take the time to get the right fit. Your player will thank you!
What do you think of the new USA bats? Let us know if you can notice the difference in performance!