I’ll give you my thoughts on equipment here. No, I do not get a commission from anyone. I did buy all the equipment and uniforms for our league of 600+ players for a few years.
- Teaching Aids — Insider Bat
- Teaching Aid – Solo Hitter
Youth Baseball Bats
Make sure the bat weight and size are appropriate. Most kids 8,9,10 should be under 15oz. Usually 10-11 can handle up to 17oz. After that it depends on the player Remember bat speed is a key to making the ball actually go somewhere.
Too often, we see bats that are far too heavy. Bat speed is key to hitting and that doesn’t happen when the player drags a bat through the strike zone.
Youth League Batting T’s
Batting T’s are for every level, especially AA. There is still no better way to learn hitting mechanics than to work off a T and hitting off a T really should be a station in every practice.
You can have players hit to a fielder to get a fielder used to some live fielding (obviously this requires some space) or just hit into the a net. The rolls Royce of nets is the Jugs net (blue cover). It is around $100 but once you get one, it’ll last you for many years. They are found in all area sports stores. Cheaper nets exist, but they tend not to last as well.
The rubber T’s provided by the league are OK, the ATEC hard plastic T is an excellent T that is extremely durable and the Tanner Tee (www.tannertees.com) is a great lightweight T.
Youth Baseball Helmets
Even when hitting off a tee, batters should wear helmets with a full “cage” or facemask. It gets them used to the helmet and its safer for them to use when hitting with a real bat.
Whiffle Balls / Pickleballs
Plastic balls are fantastic for batting. They don’t take up much space and make it so you can generate a lot of swings in practice. Instead of one player hitting and nine watching you can have three or four hitting at the same time. Whiffle balls have a seam in them that can be break with an aluminum bat. Pickleballs are just whiffle balls without a seam. The web site tipsfromthecoach.com sells them but other sports stores have them or can order them.