The bat has come a long way since the early days of baseball. What was once an object sloppily cut out of a tree trunk by hand is now a fine-tuned hitting device produced by dozens of manufacturers in various lengths, weights, and materials. Over the years, the baseball bat has evolved under the notion that the newer, better model will bring hitters more success. And it just so happens to be that the first step to successful hitting is making sure that you have the right bat. So how do you tell if the bat you’re planning to purchase is the best fit for you? With such an overwhelming variety of options out there today, it can be quite confusing making this decision. But don’t you worry! We’re here to help.
Better Baseball is proud to introduce the Sweet Spot Bat Sizing System – our new and improved bat selection process. With the use of a Zepp sensor, a Hit Trax Batting Simulator, and the expertise of the Better Baseball staff, we guarantee a fun and interactive experience in choosing the correct bat, while also offering valuable feedback on swing speed and mechanics. By implementing this system, we at Better Baseball truly believe that our customers will greatly benefit by being able to make the most informed purchase decision. It’s our way of taking pride in outfitting players with the right gear and a means for us to stay on the cutting edge of the latest and greatest baseball technology. Let’s take a deeper dive into this new system.
The first component of the Sweet Spot Bat Sizing System is the Zepp Sensor. This device consists of a motion sensor placed on the knob of the bat that transmits swing data straight to your smart phone. The Zepp Sensor provides instant feedback on bat speed, hand speed, swing plane, time to impact, bat angles, and more. It displays a 3D model on your smart phone that allows you to replay and analyze your swing. It also provides personalized coaching tips and drills that you can work on to fix those imperfections. You can say that this part of the Sweet Spot Bat Sizing System is all about the pre-contact mechanics of your swing. By using the Zepp Sensor, we are able to determine which bat size you are swinging fastest and most consistently. So what about post-contact ball trajectory? That’s where the Hit Trax Batting Simulator comes in.
The second part of the Sweet Spot Bat Sizing System is the Hit Trax Batting Simulator. This revolutionary technology, composed of multiple high-speed, motion-sensing cameras and a display screen, is the first and only batting simulator of its kind. The Hit Trax Batting Simulator offers instant feedback on exit ball velocity, hit distance, launch angle, and much more. View spray charts, batting averages, and line drive percentages with the simulator that allows you to train as you play. By using the Hit Trax Batting Simulator, we are able to determine which bat size is best suited for you based on the hitting display you simulate for us.
The third part of the Sweet Spot Bat Sizing System is the knowledgeable Better Baseball staff. We’re here to help you understand that everyone’s swing is different and not everyone should be using the same model bat even if it’s the “hottest one out.” We’re here to teach you the difference between a “balanced” and an “end-loaded” bat and what type of swing best matches each. We’re here to give you the pros and cons of 1-piece alloy bats, three-piece composite bats, and everything in between. We’re here to show you all the unique features of different bats, such as composite end caps, rotating handles, and rubber vibration dampeners. We’re here to tell you what the heck a “drop number” is. For years, we have outfitted players of all ages with bats of different sizes and makes. Our expertise and experience in this field is something we take pride in and always try to improve on. The Sweet Spot Bat Sizing System is the next big step.
“Each softball hitter is unique with their own technique, hitting style, and power. Each player needs a bat designed with their exact preferences in mind. Power hitters need a bat that packs a big punch while slappers need a bat weighted closer to the hands for maximum barrel control. Not all bat sizes are created equal. Each model bat swings differently even when advertised to be the same size. If you’re still using a sizing chart to find the perfect bat for you then you’re doing it wrong. Thanks to the innovation of Zepp and HitTrax, there are tools to help make a more thorough decision when choosing a bat. Not only can you measure you bat speed alone, but with these tools you can measure swing trajectory, distance, time to contact, and much more. We have both sensors here at Better Softball and are prepared to help you find the perfect bat for you!”
The Sweet Spot Bat Sizing System is now open to the public, no appointment needed. The Hit Trax Batting Simulator is located only at our Marietta location. Don’t forget about the Swing Speed Challenge in both Marietta and Chamblee over the weekend of May 22 – May 24!
The Hittrax Baseball Simulator Now at Better Baseball Marietta
You’ve seen them in back yards and driveways across America… the pitching target that looks like you’re throwing to a cartoon character. Most of them are equipped with a thin vinyl tarp hanging off a pole with a cut out strike zone and a right-handed batter painted on. A pitching target is a great idea if you want to work on pitching accuracy, consistency, and overall skill, but there’s something else out there that is nine times as durable, nine times as effective, and nine times the fun. It’s called the 9 Hole Pitcher’s Pocket.
Designed and manufactured at Better Baseball in Marietta, GA is what some will say is the greatest pitching training aid ever made. The 9 Hole Pitcher’s Pocket was first created in 2000. Over the last 15 years, 6 prototypes have gotten this product to where it needs to be: a useful, durable, exciting pitching aid that’s fun and effective for both little leaguers and major leaguers. Ever since the Pitcher’s Pocket caught the attention of players, parents, and coaches, it’s proven to be an extremely popular training aid for baseball and softball players worldwide.
So why get a Pitcher’s Pocket when there are cheaper alternatives? A big chunk of that answer is durability. Any time you’re putting a vinyl tarp under the constant stress of baseballs hitting it, it’s going to split at the seams and tear into pieces sooner than you may think. The same goes for mass-produced pitching targets with an aluminum frame and a cheaper quality (polypropylene) netting. The Better Baseball 9 Hole Pitcher’s Pocket comes fully equipped with nine separate #60 grade nylon-netted holes, or pockets, divided by bungee cords that attach to a UV coated vinyl padding-incased galvanized steel frame. The detachable/height-adjustable legs, also made of galvanized steel with rubber end caps, guarantees a sturdy base and easy storage. These pitching targets are built to last a long time. Period.
Another reason to consider the Pitcher’s Pocket over a different training aid is its versatility. The 9 Hole Pitcher’s Pocket is an ideal backstop for live batting practice, a good stand-in first baseman for infield ground ball practice. Catchers can use it too, as a target for their throw-downs at second and third base. The Pitcher's Pocket is a perfectly sized strike zone for wiffle ball, and a means to play competitive games between players of all ages. A fan favorite, “Tic-Tac-Throw,” is a game using the Pitcher’s Pocket as a tic-tac-toe board. Be the first to get three of your pitches in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line to win. You can also play a full game in "9 Innings”. Each inning, you get four chances to hit a designated hole. For each hole hit, you earn one run. Start the first inning in the top left hole and work your way down and over to the bottom right hole for the ninth inning. Whoever has the most runs at the end is more accurate and has earned bragging rights… until next time. These are some great games to keep practice fun and engaging.
Want a Pitcher’s Pocket that’s a different size than the 9 Hole? No problem. They also come in a Quad Pocket, 12 hole and 16 hole. Want to attach a larger back-stop behind it to catch the missed pitches? No problem there either. Better Baseball is flexible with the dimensions, number of holes, and any extra attachments you might want added. The Pitcher’s Pocket is available in a wide array of colors including black, red, navy, royal, green, purple, orange, yellow, and many more.
The Better Baseball Pitcher’s Pocket is the best tool possible for assessing and increasing pitchers’ accuracy. It is highly recommended for baseball and softball players (especially pitchers) of all ages who are serious about improving their game.
In the beginning, radar guns had their place… hidden behind a bush off the side of the highway trying to catch the red Mustang doing 95. It wasn’t until the mid-1970’s that radar guns made their way into the ball parks. Ever since, they’ve proven to be popular tools for baseball players, coaches, and scouts. And there’s good reason for it. Radar guns provide the most accurate, unbiased performance feedback for throwing, hitting, and pitching velocities.
Over the years, many radar guns from various manufacturers have strived for one thing: accuracy. A radar gun that doesn’t read the correct speed is like a glove with a hole in it. It’s safe to say that after 40 years of product testing and advanced engineering that the top companies have a firm grip on the accuracy issues. However, from a design standpoint, there is only one radar gun that leaves the others in the dust, and it’s called the Pocket Radar.
Unlike all big and bulky radar guns, the award-winning Pocket Radar is the first radar gun you can actually fit in your pocket. Instead of resembling the shape and grip of a gun, the Pocket Radar is more like a cell phone. It’s very discreet, at a great price, and it’s just as accurate as some of the most expensive radar guns on the market (+/- 1 mph). From a scouting standpoint, it can be problematic to have a standard radar gun pointed at a kid on the mound. If a younger player sees that he’s being clocked, he’s much more likely to try to throw harder than he actually can, which can result in a poor performance or an arm injury. The discretion of the Pocket Radar is a unique and invaluable feature for scouts to stay off the players’ radar… pun intended.
The Pocket Radar comes in two different models: the Classic and the Ball Coach. The Classic model was designed as an all-purpose radar gun for clocking anything in motion. Though it wasn’t designed for reading pitch and swing speeds, this model still does the trick. The Ball Coach is a more improved model designed specifically for clocking speeds in sports. It has a Constant-On mode that allows for hands-free use and a recall memory of 25 speed readings. If you’re looking for a radar gun for the purpose of clocking baseball and softball speeds, the Pocket Radar Ball Coach is the way to go.
Hitting fungo to your fielders is not the easiest thing to do… even for the seasoned coaches. Throwing a ball up to yourself and hitting it with a long, skinny fungo bat makes it very tough to accurately place fly balls, line drives, and ground balls where you intend. There’s almost an art to hitting fungo accurately. And we’re not all Picasso’s. So ask yourself this: When you hit balls to the kids at practice, do they spend more time catching the ball or running to balls that are out of reach? If you answered with the latter, consider making it a little easier on yourself and your players by getting an Accubat.
The AME Innovations Accubat comes in two models: the Coaches Helper Model and the Pro Model. Both models are constructed with the same materials – a cushioned, non-slip, foam handle, a hard plastic outer racquet, and a polypropylene net bound by 30 rubber torsion bands. The netted hitting surface is relatively the same area on both models (90 in2). The only difference is that the Pro Model is 6 ounces heavier than the Coaches Helper (26 oz. vs 20 oz.). The advantage of the Pro Model is that it allows you to hit the ball harder and further than the Coaches Helper.
The Accubat is recommended for coaches and parents of baseball and softball players at all ages. It’s scientifically designed to give you placement and distance control unparalleled by any other fungo hitting device. The Coaches Helper Model is recommended for players under the age of 12. However, ball players over the age of 12 may need that extra oomph. The Pro Model is recommended for the older players who can handle the faster pace.
As a highly competitive high school, travel ball, and college pitcher, I understood the importance of giving my fielders as many reps as I could. I was never the pitcher whose sole focus was striking people out. I pitched to contact and let the fielders behind me do their job. That said, I always did what I could to improve my defense’s fielding skills. Any chance I got to give my fielders some fungo work, I took advantage of. All serious pitchers (and ball players in general) should have that same mindset because there’s no worse feeling than being stranded in the field error after error when you should be in the dugout getting ready to hit.
Baseball is a repetition sport. Infield and outfield fungo reps are crucial to building and maintaining defensive skills. The Accubat has truly revolutionized the manner in which baseball and softball fungo can be done. Coaches who want to make their practices more efficient and parents who want to give their kids some extra reps in the back yard should seriously consider purchasing an Accubat.
Pros: Very accurate, Easy and fun to use, Offers more control than a fungo bat, Very durable.
Cons: Can be considered a rookie tool to high level competitors because of some notion that it steers away from how fungo has traditionally been and should be done. But c’mon… really? Form < Function.
If there is one thing baseball and softball hitters want more of from their swing, it’s more power. There are tons of training aids out there that aim to increase power, but do they really work? One product that has exploded in popularity in recent years is the Total Control Ball… and it works!
Total Control Balls are designed to strengthen slow and fast twitch muscles as well as develop proper extension through the hitting zone. Hitting these balls can entirely change the way players think about making contact with an incoming pitch. Instead of focusing on making solid contact with the ball, this training aid forces hitters to make solid contact through the ball.
Long gone are the days of hitting basketballs to develop power through the hitting zone. Yes, basketballs work, but only until they pop. Plus, who wants to haul around all of that bulkiness to their practices? Total Control Balls give you that same resistance at contact, but they are roughly the same size as a baseball/softball so you won’t have to worry about getting lazy with your hand eye coordination. And don’t worry about them popping. These things hold up for a long time.
Total Control Balls are great for all ages and you don’t need access to a hitting facility or a baseball/softball field to use them. On average, a solid hit should travel between 10 and 30 feet. The most rewarding feature of this product is that it provides instant feedback. If hit properly through the center of the ball, there’s no other way to describe it other than “it just feels right.” However, if you top the ball or hit underneath it, you’ll find that it will drop to the ground right in front of your feet. That said, it’s a great training tool to encourage line-drive hits as opposed to ground balls and pop flies.
All Total Control Balls are made with a high energy-absorbing PVC/non-phthalate outer material designed to last in hot and cold conditions without bursting. The inner filler material is composed of sand and is what gives it its weight. Let’s break down the specs on the variety of Total Control Ball options.
TCB 74- 2.9” diameter, 14.9 oz. Used for both softball and baseball. Optimum use is for front toss side toss, and tee work.
TCB 82- 3.2” diameter, 14.9 oz. Used for both softball and baseball. Optimum use is for front toss, side toss, and tee work.
TCB ATOMIC- 4.7” diameter, 31.7 oz. Used for both softball and baseball. Optimum use is for side toss and tee work only. Not recommended for players under the age of 12.
YH50- Less than 1 oz. Golf ball sized. Recommended for front toss. Best option for working on hand eye coordination. No sand filler.
YH80- 3.2” diameter, 2.8 oz. Only softball sized wiffle ball designed to last. Replaces plastic wiffle balls that dent, crack, and break. No sand filler.
Pros: Increases power, good for all ages, long lasting durability, won’t damage bats, instant feedback. Improves follow through, and bat control.
Cons: Not good for overhand batting practice; more expensive alternative to batting practice with regular baseballs/softballs
One of the most important aspects of hitting is being comfortable at the plate. Before stepping in the batter’s box, players should consider what they can do to maximize their comfort level. Having the right size bat is crucial. Wearing batting gloves, to some, is also a must. But what about the bat grip? Are the pre-wrapped grips that come standard to metal bats doing the trick? And what’s a good alternative to the sticky mess pine tar leaves behind with wood bats?
Lizard Skinsbat wrap is the answer you’ve been looking for. Lizard Skinsspecializes in high quality polymer bat wraps that are designed to increase comfort and confidence at the plate. These bat wraps are offered in three different thicknesses (0.5mm, 1.1mm,and 1.8mm) and in a variety of color combinations (including solid colors, two-tones, and camos).
Do you like a very thin bat handle that you can get your fingers around as much as possible? If so, the 0.5mm Lizard Skins bat wrap is for you. If you like a thick handle with a lot of cushion, the 1.8mm bat wrap is calling your name. Regardless of the thickness you’re comfortable with, all Lizard Skins bat wraps are slip resistant, very easy to put on, and designed to fit any bat (wood, aluminum, composite).
In my many years of baseball experience, I’ve seen it all when it comes to bat grips. Most players just stick with the bat wrap that’s already on it when purchased. Those guys don’t know what they’re missing. Some take the standard grip off and use athletic tape or pine tar for a smaller bat handle. That’s what the 0.5mm wrap is for! Many Major League players, including Hunter Pence, David Wright, and David Ortiz, have adopted Lizard Skins as their grip of choice and haven’t looked back. I’d say those guys probably know what they’re doing, so take it from them. They’re only perennial all-stars.
Lizard Skins bat wraps are hands down my favorite bat wrap, and that also seems to be the consensus among my close baseball peers. There is an undeniable “swag effect” that comes with each Lizard Skins purchase. Players will see your bat wrap and be drawn to it. Once they get a feel for it, they’re going to want one for their bat. I’ve even seen entire teams outfitted with the same color grip and it’s a good look! There is no other bat wrap in the baseball community growing as fast as Lizard Skins. Get on board, and get a grip!
Lizard Skins bat wraps are available for purchase here.
It might be time for you to ditch your donut. Varo Baseball has created a one of kind bat weight that can be found in just about every MLB on-deck circle this spring training. The Varo ARC bat weight is one of the only weights that "disperses weight to the end of the bat creating a game-like swing ". Traditional bat weights, like the donuts and hitting jack-its , concentrate most of their weight on the middle or taper of the bat. All of us at Better Baseball are amazed on how different the swing feels when you compare the Vero ARC
"The ARC was designed to bring a more natural feel to a player's practice swing, and encourage proper technique and conditioning," says Varo co-founder and CEO Erik Mattern. "We are thrilled with the positive feedback and demand we have received from MLB players, coaches, and organizations. Varo Baseball is committed to its quest for bringing innovative products to the game of baseball, by continuing its personal involvement with players and coaches at all levels."
ABOUT VARO BASEBALL Varo Baseball was founded by former professional baseball players with the vision of bringing innovation, customization and enhanced performance to the game of baseball. After many years of watching players swing the same bat weights, Varo Baseball wanted to bring the on-deck necessity into the 21st century. After years of research and design with players and coaches, the ARC was born. It didn't take long to realize this was a "eureka" moment for the game of baseball. Keeping with the spirit of America's pastime, Varo products aredesigned, created and manufactured in the USA. The ARC made its major league debut during MLB Spring Training, and is now used by organizations at all levels.
BETTER BASEBALL BREAK DOWN
The ARC's revolutionary weight distribution is the only bat weight we found that is able to evenly displace the weight across the bat. Other bat weights like traditional donuts place all the weight on the taper of the bat. The Varo ARC is able to increase the weight of the bat while simultaneously keeping the fundamental balance of the bat congruent with the bat without the added weight. I like using the Varo ARC because you can replicate a game-time swing with a weighted bat. I used to use a heavy donut while on-deck, but that did not help me replicate my normal swing at the plate. The weight was too focused towards the middle of the bat. The Varo ARC lets you do both. You can have a weighted bat, but with a realistic balance to help replicate the same approach in the on deck circle you would use in the batter’s box.
The 2016 Demarini bats are coming in hot this year and they gave us a sneak peak here at Better Baseball and Better Softball. There have been some serious upgrades to the already advanced technology that Demarini is known for. The Paradox + composite barrel is now even more responsive creating a longer sweet spot and optimal performance right out of the wrapper. You won’t have to wait for results on these babies. The new D- Fusion 2.0 handle redirects energy from contact back into the barrel minimizing hand sting and sending back that beautiful vibration you get when you really get a hold of one.
The best part about Demarini bats is that each is designed for a specific type of player. You are always coming into a bat that was literally made for you. The CF8 -8 and CF8 -9 are heavy hitters and designed for maximum pop. The CF8 -10 Insane is made for those athletes who don’t want to compromise explosive power for a lighter swing. You get the best of both worlds with this bat as it swings lighter but distributes the weight out further for maximum pop. An added bonus is that the electric blue color scheme on this bat is phenomenal.
The old faithful -10 balanced model is back and better than ever. Everything that made this bat great just got greater. The stacked barrel construction gives the lightest walls in the game for a balanced powerful swing.
The LIMITED EDITION CF8 -10 HOPE is structurally identical to the CF8 -10 but with a little social agenda behind it. Proceeds from purchases on this model go toward the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. You can crush softballs and cancer at the same time- the ultimate multi-task. Only making 2,000 of these so get yours quick!
The CF8 -11 is the perfect bat for the younger, less developed athletes who are ready to crush. Players are getting serious about their sport much younger these days and need a bat that packs the same punch as the bigger, heavier models. The color scheme showcases the demeanor of the bat. A serious look with intense graphics and only a little pink to keep the flavor. The designers at Demarini understand that you don’t have to drown a bat in pink to catch a girl’s attention. This is the most popular bat of its kind and in my opinion, the best transition bat in the game.
The most exciting addition to the 2016 line in my opinion is the first ever SLAPPER bat! Modeled after the balanced -10, the 2016 CF8 -10 Slapper is designed specifically for the unique needs of this kind of hitter. The longer barrel measures up to 14” for maximum plate coverage and weight is distributed closer to the hands for unbeatable barrel control. Don’t worry power slappers- this bat has the same explosive pop as the other models so you can keep working those gaps. The best part of the bat is that it is just as versatile as the athletes who swing it. It is made so you can utilize all the tools that make you an effective slapper. I am beyond excited for this bat to hit the field this season.
Needless to say, we are pumped for the 2016 Demarini CF8 line. Theres a reason why some of the greatest players in the game are swinging Demarini. Here at Better Baseball and Better Softball, we are one of the few who can provide demos so come by our store and look for us at tourneys to demo one for yourself. Feel free to leave your own reviews of any of these models below!