The best time of the cricketing year!
Nearly better than Christmas, or maybe it’s part of Christmas
Choosing a bat can be a daunting and stressful process at times.
Not knowing where to start, who to buy it off, what type to buy and whether to think short or long term.
Below, we’ve gone a little bit deeper into the process to identify 7 steps that will make life easier so you end up with the best possible stick you’ve ever played with!
DISCLAIMER - Said steps are no guarantee to turn you or your child into a batting prodigy
1. Don’t Buy The Brand
A BIG no-no! Most players see the bats of their favourite players and automatically want that. I know it’s hard but really don’t be driven by the brand.
The brand of the bat is definitely not the reason why the best players use them. The players' skill level determines how many runs they make, not the type of bat!
So when making a choice on the type of bat to buy please don’t just pick it because of the pretty stickers! There's a lot more to choosing a bat then the aesthetics (the look), which brings us to the next step....
2. Make Sure The Bat Is Light Enough
There’s nothing worse than going to a session or seeing one of our programs have youngsters being limited in their skills because the bat is simply too heavy.
I’ve seen it so many times!
Young Jimmy, 12 year’s old or Sally just starting out and there is an absolute railway sleeper in their hand.
A simple test would be to have your child be able to hold the bat of choice out straight with their opposite hand for at least 15 seconds without it shaking or having to drop it.
Or alternatively, raise the bat straight out from your side out in front and back down. If they can do this with control and a fully straight arm comfortably 10 times then you are set!
3. Have A Budget Range
This is really important I think!
Either clearly state or outline what range you will be able to choose from.
This can then eliminate certain ranges or types of bat.
Having a price range or setting it before you step into the shop can make sure you pick from a realistic bunch but also lets you stay in your comfortable budget without emotion attached to it.
4. Select A Range Of Bats To Choose From
Once you’ve outlined the weight and price range of the bats, a wise option is to then make sure that you can pick a few of their top bats.
I’d suggest picking 5 bats that you like or would like to choose from. These could be all the same type or a range of different brands within the price range.
REMEMBER each bat can have a significantly different feel based on the shape and weight, so once you have the 5 you like the initial look of, move onto the next step........
5. Choose With Their Eyes Closed
Once the 5 or so bats have been picked out, bring them down off the rack and place them in a group.
Get your child to close their eyes and you or the shop keeper begin the process of elimination.
The reason why we get them to choose with their eyes closed? Simple! It’s so they cut out any bias and actually go on the feel and weight distribution of the bat rather than who makes them.
Continue this process until the favourite bat is picked.
6. Don’t Buy For 2 Years Time, Buy For Now
I know this seems like a very hard thing, but honestly, it’s really crucial to players performances.
As mentioned earlier, seeing these youngsters with bats too long or too heavy for them really does make life harder for them.
Their skill decreases, it’s harder for them to perform and play the shots, and their technique suffers as a result.
So I implore you, try not to buy for too far ahead. I know growth spurts are tough and sometimes they shoot up! But if you do decide to go with a size up, make sure it's a lighter framed bat.
If the issue is budget, then I’d advise to go a slightly cheaper stick and replace it in a years time or whenever.
Don’t skip out on buying something bigger and heavier to suit them for further down the track in a few years.
7. Wear Gloves & Shadow Bat
Something that not many people think about is actually testing and holding the bat out with gloves on.
I’ve seen so many people come into stores to buy bats and they handle and go buy the ‘feel’ of a bat with bare hands!
Make sure they have gloves on to test the pick up of the bat and be sure to play a few shots with the bats too.
Shadow batting will help get the feel of the pick up also and determine how comfortable that particular shape and weight is for them.
Pick-ups can be all sorts of different. If you just go by the look you may get a totally different feeling bat so it’s really important to wave these around and spend a bit of time with them in your hand.
Oh and lastly a sneaky little tip for you.
Some of you may have picked up on me talking about the size of the bat, below is a size chart for you to compare what type of bat!
All in all, choosing a bat may take a little longer this way, but in reality, it’s a process that has great benefits.
Players will feel way more comfortable with their choice, and ultimately will have the correct weight and sized bat in their hand to use it most effectively!
Author: Joel Hamilton - ACI Co-Founder & Coach