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Coach Andy's Hitting E-zine, #48 - Choose a Bat
February 12, 2008

Do You Know How to Choose a Bat?

It's baseball weather where I am today, I've volunteered to take on my son's team, I gave 10 lessons today and pitcher's and catchers report to spring training in just a few days. What a great time of year!

About this time of year, I always get questions on how to choose a bat and where and when are signups for my league.

Questions like:

Q: What is the right size and weight bat for my 14 year old daughter? She is 5'5" and weighs 110 lbs. She is a spray hitter and bats both sides.

Q: My daughter is a freshman in high school and I want to get her a new bat. The problem I have is all the composit bats have a tempature resteriction. The average high school playing tempature in Wisconsin is 45 degrees. Any suggestions?

Q: what size bat would be good for my daughter. she is 15 years old. and gonna play high school softball. thanks

Q: I'd like to know what size/weight softball bat to purchase for slow pitch softball. I'm 30yrs old, 5'9", 160 lbs. and an entry level player. Thanks!

Q: what size bats should I used for a boys softball league for boys 8-11?

I have put up a whole page with over 30 of the questions I have received over the past year along with my answers so you should find any type of question you may be having like these and many others at this page -

League Signups

If you haven't signed up for a league near you yet, maybe you can identify with these questions.

Q: Can I get on a list so I am notified ahead of time for sign ups....we have never played before.

Q: is it to late 2 play this season? id'e really like to play this season.

A: As I'm a hitting coach to kids from many leagues and for both baseball and softball, I'm not quite sure which league you want to be notified for.

Also, it's not too late this season to get into some leagues with late signups, otherwise it's all the way until next December/January for signups.

What you need to do is contact the league immediately and let them know of your desire to play this season. That may take searching the Internet for your league's phone number or people to call. You might even have to go to the fields themselves and look for a sign or posted information or in our case you might find teams practicing already and you could ask them who to contact.

Concerns about the Retract-O-Ball

Coaching a team again is fun, especially when I keep all of the kids active instead of the standard boring practices of one coach pitching, a kid taking 10 - 15 swings and everyone standing around.

I used 5 Retract-O-Balls to get each of my kids 20 swings in about 20 minutes (once they get the hang of how to do it the time will drop to 5 - 10 minutes).

But I did get question from a concerned league president. Here's his question and my response.

Q: I wanted to make a comment/question to your retractoball. After reading the link provided, it got me to looking closer at the make up of this unit. From what I can tell, it appears that this invention is nothin more that a ball (base or soft) attached to a dog retractable walking leash. I have two big breed dogs and this looks like the same thing. Wal-Mart sells these for about $20 and cost of a softball maybe $5. I think this might be the same thing. Pictures look like it. Description looks like it. Just asking.

A: Good to hear from you again.

Thanks too for bringing up your concern, as this may reflect what a number of people are feeling but aren't saying.

A simple answer might be to try it and see what happens. 1) there's the issue of attaching the ball, but that is relatively minor. 2) the larger issue is getting someone that has a strong swing to get it to stay on your device and then retract correctly.

These were issues the inventor faced. He used his 25 years of engineering know-how to overcome these issues by designing a kick press to make the spring he designed stay in place swing after swing. He then heattreated the spring. He uses a machine that costs $250,000 to notch the pin so the spring will coil correctly. This notch can be dialed in to .001 of an inch. He uses webbing vs. the string to handle the pounding as well. Then the casing is solid metal, that's all machined. And he now powder coats the cap for a slicker looking finish.

Admitedly, a massed produced plastic casing will be a lot cheaper, but requires a huge investment up front for the tooling, where all we can produce presently is 1 - 50 at a time by machining.

So until an investor comes into the picture we're still building them in the capacity we can and thus the price is justified by the costs it takes to build one.

As you see from my chart on the website, the return on investment over any other product on the market that does a similar operation or provides the number of swings it does in the amount of time it can is still 1/2 the price or more of any commerically available product. It's even 1/2 the price you would invest in balls and a net, so we feel if someone wants to get moving on taking the number of swings it takes to become better in the quickest amount of time this invention is a worthwhile investment. Otherwise, people are welcome to wait until the cheaper model becomes available, but those people will be 10,000 - 100,000 swings behind the ones that felt the cost was justifible. Not to mention they will have a collector's item :)

Thanks again for writing and the question. Does the answer make sense and satisfy you?

Let me know.

Coach Andy

P.S. A patent search looked at the two devices (the Retract-O-Ball and the dog leash) and the attorney advising the inventor said they were significantly different to allow him a utility patent, not just a design patent.

P.S.S. As a coach, the one I use is perfect for helping my son and students do what it's designed for, so I'm really pleased with it.

To find out for yourself it this can help you be a better hitter -

Training before the season

I have a number of videos for you where you can get the best training on hitting, baserunning, outfielding, bunting, catching, etc.

If you read to the bottom on most of the pages I have discounted many of the videos if you buy more than one at a time. Saving you $10 to $20 or more.

Check them all out -

Again, if you have any questions or comments you can write to me via e-mail.

To see other hitting tips in past newsletters, go to the past issues of my hitting newsletter page.

Welcome to you who are new to my hitting e-zine.

Thanks for reading and talk to you next time.

Coach Andy

6801 Dove St. Ventura, CA 93003


Coach Andy Collins has been helping players achieve their goals in softball and baseball for over 30 years. He's an advisor to national teams and can help you be a better hitter. He offers free information on his website and through free e-mail hitting lessons and has just introduced a new hitting video discussing and demonstrating how to hit great with either the rotational or linear hitting methods.

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