When our kids first start playing cricket, around 7 to 10 years of age, we want them to experience success so they will want to keep coming back. To give them the best experience and chance of batting success I have the following tips for choosing their cricket bat.
WEIGHT - THE LIGHTEST YOU CAN FIND SO THEY CAN SWING IT FAST
At this age kids are not very strong, nor do they have any technique, so the only way to get power when they connect with the ball is to have a fast bat speed. For this, they will need a light bat and the lighter the better! If they can't swing fast, they will always be late onto the ball and probably have a bad experience. So, choose a bat your child can hold out with one arm for at least 15 seconds without getting tired.
Another benefit of a lightweight bat and an easy swing is that it allows the child to focus their attention on developing their technique. While they are concentrating hard on all things technique, at least swinging the bat will come easily and give them some chance of making a few good hits.
As they get older and stronger this natural strength, coupled with technique, will assist them to hit the ball hard. Until then, they need a helping hand with a lightweight bat.
Note - you might need to visit a cricket specialist store as general sports stores don’t always stock the very light bats.
COST - THE CHEAPEST YOU CAN FIND
At 7 to 10 years of age, generally they are playing with a soft ball, so a cheap bat is fine. Plus, they will outgrow the bat quickly so you may be buying one at least every season. Tip - don't try and buy a bat they will 'grow into it'.
MATERIAL - ENGLISH WILLOW
I recommend English willow as it is lighter than Kashmir willow and therefore better for starting out.
As kids get older, U12-U14, and start to play with a hard ball you should definitely get English willow, again, ensuring it is light enough for them to swing fast.
For those starting out I recommend the following:
- Bat length – the top of the bat handle should be no taller than the child's hip
- Blade size - the biggest you can get while still very light. The more mass behind the ball the further it will go, especially when coupled with a fast swing, and what kid doesn’t want to see their ball go over the boundary rope!
If you are still unsure and would like more advice, give us a call at Cooper Cricket on phone (07) 3864 4970 and one of our team will happily answer all your questions.