7 Points for Picking your Bat
For cricketers both club & professional picking a bat is a very personal experience but with the e-commerce being the preferred shopping channelthe once local cricket shop has become the global E-tailer. What ever your preference we have a 7-point guide to help you make the most effective choice possible.
1: Size Definitely Matters
When buying for yourself, a family member or a child getting the right size has a massive+ impact. When buying for a junior player size has a massive impact on their technical & physical development. A bat that is the wrong size will negatively impact the child’s setup & how they play their strokes but this can also cause injury to their backs, hips & knees. When buying a bat for a junior player please ensure that you consult a size guide & if they are on or very near a border then go the next size up to get the most of your investments. This is especially important for teenagers who are on the brink of an adult bat but not yet strong enough for a full Size SH. In these cases small adult, Academy or GEM depending on the brand you are looking for would suit this particular need.
In general, a full-size adult bat is recommended for anyonefrom 5ft8 inches to 6ft 6inches tall. For taller players there are two options to ensure you have sufficient length to prevent back, neck hip or knee injuries from a poor setup. The first is a long handle, this gives players an extra inch in the handle & is the most common choice as this allows bat makers to keep bats light. The second choice is a long blade, not as common in relation to the long handle but this is preferred by taller players who like a bit more meat in the blade. The only draw back to this is the bats doe come in heavier as an inch of blade length weights more than handle. Just make sure you have tried both options before making a significant investment.
I must correct my earlier statement - When buying a bat for any player please ensure that you consult a size guide.
2: Style of play
As you develop along your cricket journey many players will have a personal preference on how they play. Some prefer the front foot game, other dominate on the back foot & some who haven’t got a preference. There are 3 main profiles on the market so when considering your bat choice consider how you like to play.
The low blade swell means the thickest part of the bat & the best part of the sweet spot will be nearer the toe than the splice. These bats are ideal for front foot players & those who look to hit the ball over the op.
The high blade swell means the thickest part of the bat & the best part of the sweet spot will be nearer the splice & is better suited to players you play off the back foot & prefer punches, pulls & cuts over, flowing front foot drives. The you have the mid blade swell where the thickest part of the bat & the best part of the sweet spot will be positioned to allow for general all round stroke play & is the most common profile.
For the ultra-attacking players however the introduction of the short-blade profiles with the extra length in the handle gives more leverage & more wood in the hitting area.
When considering the weight of a bat you must remember that there is dead weight & pickup weight. The dead weight of a bat refers to it’s weight on the scales with the most common weight being 2lb8.5oz to 2lb9.5oz. The pickup weight is how the bat feels in a player’s hands & is the most personal part of picking up a bat. Although players of all level have their preferred weight which gives them a guide on how to narrow the selection down the final choice will be when they pick the bat up feels how it sits in the hands. Exceptionally skilled bat makers can make bats which weigh heavier pick up lighter than the dead weight would suggest.
4: Price Point
There is such a wide price point for cricket bats with genuine English willow bats being available from as little as £90 all the way up to over £1000. The reason for this is very simple, it all comes down to the quality of the willow. Put simply a £90 bat can be made from the same tree as a £1000 bat but, due to the physical characteristics of each cleft each will perform very differently. The most common price point for bats which have good combination of performance, size & weight will be £130- £250. Exceptional clefts with almost perfect grain, relatively light for the size of the bat will cost £700+ due to the high demand & very low supply. Finally budget bats which are the lowest quality English willow & in some case Kashmir willow will, be under £100.How you decide which one is right for you depends on your levels as a player & what you can afford. Remember what ever price you pay bats are made of the same raw materials so there is not guarantee that the more you pay the longer it will last.
This may seem an interesting point as how can you buy bat on performance when the bat hasn’t been used? This is all down to the master bat maker at the factory. As part of the bat making process the cleft will be pressed& during this process the bat maker will test the bat to ensure that it is pressed for optimum performance. Once the pressing has been completed the bat maker will separate the clefts accordingly based on their performancebefore being sent for the finish touches to be applied.
When selecting clefts, the master bat maker will look at each one assessing it for it’s aesthetic qualities such as grain clarity, width, straightness, continuation from face to back & the absence of blemishes all give the bat makera clear indication of how well the bat should perform.
This is experience gained over many years & has a big impact on the price point. Put simply the cleanest looking clefts usually return the best performance & it is only once they are pressed that the bat maker takes the final decision before assigning it a final grade.
Remember that it is the combination of performance & aesthetic qualities which impact grading so by paying the most does not necessarily mean you can’t find a lower grade bat that performs to a similar level but you are far less likely to find one.
7: Brand Affiliation
What ever we buy there are certain items which we will only buy from that particular brand. It could be that you dad used a bat & you have fond memories of him smashing bowlers to all parts. You may want to use the same brand as your hero or you scored a hundred with that brand & you feel that you will only ever score hundreds with that brand. It could even come down to something as simple as your favourite colour. Whatever your reason if you like the look of it, the feel of it & you get joy from it whenever you pick it up that is the most important combination of all to give you the confidence you need to score heaps of runs with it.
I hope that you have enjoyed our guide & if you need anymore advice, please do email us or get in contact with a member of staff over the phone.
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