Every kid needs a wood bat for Christmas or their birthday. Whether we're talking about Little League standouts going into their last year, a six-year-old who will start tee-ball in the spring, or a high schooler who just plays for fun, owning at least one wood bat will keep young players in touch with the right way to play the game.
It's not too difficult to pick up a cheap-o Rawlings, Louisville Slugger or Easton at a sporting outlet, just make sure you're not buying something that's insanely big for your kid (read below on sizing).
But if you want to do something special this year, you may want to consider purchasing a wood bat from one of the choice maple bat companies that kids are talking about these days. The hottest bat manufacturers in most elite amateur's equipment bags come from:
Sam Bat - Barry Bonds' main bat company
Max Bat - Chase Utley's bat maker of choice
Marucci - Ryan Howard and Carlos Beltran swing Jack Marucci's products
These three are by no means the only game in town, they're just the "IT" companies right now. All of the bat manufacturers written about here at Hitting with Wood carry marvelous wood bat options for kids. Please check out the other entries.
Also, JustWoodBats.com says that if you are after something off the shelf and aren't worried about customizing, they probably have a deal for you. They carry more than 20 brands. Order directly, or give them a call. We love any company called Just Wood Bats!
Generally speaking, kids' bats can be made any size. Little beginners should probably be swinging nothing longer than a 26-inch bat. Intermediate players who haven't hit their growth spurts yet should be looking to swing 26-30 inch bats. 28-inches is a good happy medium. Older kids with stronger hands and forearms should buy 30- 32-inch bats to play with and 34-inch bats for batting practice and spring training.
Most Popular Length by Age
Also, some of the better customizing opportunities we've seen of late can be found at:
XBats - maybe the mother of all customized bat
ABats - good customizing options, great reference material for the novice parent/coach
Zinger Bats - great teen selection, still working on their youth offerings
Numerous athletic equipment outlets offer stock bats that are relatively inexpensive. Try FogDog, Anaconda, Online Sports, and Sports Authority.
The entry below, "Hitting with Wood: a preparatory guide for young players," tells you everything you need to know about why wood bats are so important for young players. What we neglected to mention is that wood, as opposed to metal, is better to hit with in cold weather. When we see snow we think: "Time to get out the old maple club and do some outdoor tee work."
Cheers and Happy Holidays!