If you’ve newly become interested in baseball, or have a child about to start playing the sport for the first time, there is a lot to learn before you start purchasing the equipment needed to play. To make sure you get the ideal supplies for your budget and skill level, it’s important to understand some of the key concepts used in creating bats, gloves and balls. One of these important concepts that may confuse you at first is that of the drop in a baseball bat.
The History of the Drop in Baseball Bat
If you’ve never played baseball before, the term drop may be a totally new concept for you. The term itself is only about twenty years old, making it a relatively new addition to America’s favorite sport.
In the early days of major league baseball, when all players used bats made from the same kinds of wood and by the same manufacturer, it was easy to determine how much a baseball bat weighed and make sure everyone was using bats with the same level of power.
This kept the playing field even and ensured no one would have an advantage over other players.
As modern manufacturers created baseball bats from new types of materials and varying types of wood, it became necessary to come up with a way to measure the weight more uniformly.
Understanding what drop is an important priority for anyone who wants to play baseball in a league, because the rules typically lay out guidelines for the kind of bat you can use.
What is Drop in Baseball Bat?
The drop is a measure of how heavy a baseball bat is when used. By factoring in the weight and height of the object, this calculation gives a clear idea of how heavy the bat is while you use it. To calculate the drop of a bat, the total length of the bat is subtracted from the total weight in ounces.
This number is then expressed as a negative number. For example, a 20-inch-long bat that weighs 25 ounces has a drop of minus 5. A lower number signals a heavier bat, while a higher number means the bat is lighter and may be easier for a beginner to swing.
Not all baseball bats are the same, and the drop of each one can vary based on a few important factors. The material the bat is made from has a big impact on how heavy the product will be, as well as how long it is and what shape it takes.
Maple, oak, and bamboo are considered lighter woods, while hickory makes a heavier bat. Each distinct type of wood has its fans and detractors for the kind of hits it can produce and how far it drives the ball.
Aluminum bats are typically lighter than solid wood ones and therefore have a higher drop number. While many people believe aluminum bats will drive a ball farther than a wood baseball bat of the same size and drop, others swear by the power of a wood bat.
While this is a personal choice each player has to make, having a number that shows how heavy and powerful the bats are helping you compare them as you shop and helps you make an informed decision. The length of the bat and shape also influence the drop.
How Do You Choose a Baseball Bat with the Right Drop?
Choosing a baseball bat with the right level of the drop can make a big difference whether a player is just starting out or more experienced.
When you first begin playing, a bat with a high drop number might be the best choice, but as you get better, you may find it does not offer the kind of power you want.
This may mean it is time to switch to a bat with a lower drop number. This bat will be heavier and likely to create a more powerful swing that sends the ball farther away when it connects.
Some baseball players try using a bat with a different drop to improve issues with poor swing power and ball distance. Changing the bat you use is a good way to see if the issues you are experiencing with your swing are due to form or equipment issues.
A small bat drop creates more power, which makes it easier to get a longer hit. Larger drop numbers make it easier to swing smoothly and may be ideal for beginners who don’t have a lot of arm strength built up.
Developing players may need to start with a bat that has a large drop and work up to one with a smaller drop over time. This progression allows the player to develop a more precise swing while adding more power over time.
Consider League Guidelines for Drop in Baseball Bat
Part of the process of buying a bat is considering where you will be playing with it. In many recreational and children’s leagues, there are rules that govern the size of a bat, including the drop.
For example, high school baseball teams in the United States have a rule that states the bat must have a drop of three or less. Using the wrong drop in baseball bat can be considered a rules violation, grounds for disqualification, or even get you thrown out of the league.
Be sure that you find out these guidelines before you start shopping to avoid buying a bat that will get you disqualified from play.
Though it might take some time and practice, you’ll soon begin to see the benefits of different kinds of bats and the right amount of drop for you.
If you continue to develop your baseball skills or your child continues to grow stronger and advance his or her skills, you may need to move to a bat that has a different drop factor to continue to get the best performance at the advanced level.
As you grow more familiar with the concept of the drop in a baseball bat, you’ll be able to better understand which bat is right for you.