Lightest T-Ball Bat

Best Coach Pitch Bat: Seriously, We Found It

Finding the best coach pitch bat on the planet is, somewhat surprising to us, a little more difficult than we first imagined. Turns out, there at least 20 legitimate performance based coach pitch bats in the space. We took a hack with them all, spoke to a number of trusted sources all so we could get you the goods on the best coach pitch bat.

Last updated: Monday, February 1, 2016

Best Coach Pitch Bat

The Best of the Best Coach Pitch Baseball Bat

Best Coach Pitch Bat

If forced to choose the best coach pitch baseball bat from among the several good ones available on the market today, we would recommend the drop 10 2016 Louisville Slugger 516 JBB. This drop 10 Junior Big Barrel bat gave us a wide range of sizing (25 to 28 inches), a massive barrel, a reasonable price point, a great feeling lizard skin grip and a sweet paint job. Its pop and durability were remarkable as well—considering this realm of sub 35 mph pitching to 5, 6, 7 and 8 year olds.

Knowing what we know about bats, for our player looking for a readily available Coach Pitch bat on the market today, we’d pull the trigger on the 2016 Louisville Slugger 516 JBB (Amazon Price Check).

The Best of the Best Coach Pitch Softball Bat

Best Coach Pitch Softball BatIf our daughter needed the best Coach Pitch softball bat—and assuming we wanted to stay with a traditional fastpitch diameter (2 1/4)—we’d choose Anderson’s 2016 Rocketech 2.0 (Anderson’s Bat Site) in the 27 inch (15 oz.) version. We’d choose this bat for its light swing, very easy control, great looking colorway and high performance pop.

(Price Check)

Why Trust Us?

We’ve swung every baseball, softball and fastpitch bat in the performance space since the middle of 2013. With that swinging, we’ve reviewed hundreds of bats, both softball and baseball. We’ve also spent countless hours with baseball and softball players—at every level of the sport—watching them hit with different types of bats and getting their direct and unfiltered feedback without a company around to filter and tweet it.

Our credibility also stems from the fact that we don’t sell bats as a producer or a vendor. We have no business in selling you bats of any particular price point or brand. Our livelihood does not depend on you preferring a particular brand of bat that we review. We are a group of dads and players who love the game and love to share the data and insight we collect with other parents and players looking to cut through industry hype and vendor bias.

That by no means makes our recommendations fool proof and we’ll be the first to admit such. But it’s a truly good faith effort in putting in our reader’s hands the best, unbiased information we can gather. At a minimum we’d expect our insight to be one data point along your decision tree in deciding what’s the best coach pitch bat for you.

What Size Coach Pitch Bat To Get?

Coach Pitch (or JBB) bats range in size from 25 to 29 inches long and have a length to weight differential (drop) from 10 to 13 depending on the model. These bats are made specifically for players 8 years old and younger. The bats are not rated to withstand pitches faster than 35mph.

As such, we suggest basing your Coach Pitch bat size more on the player’s ability rather than size. This bat sizing chart for Coach Pitch can be a helpful guide:

Coach Pitch Bat Size Chart

If your player is beyond these levels, and the bat still isn’t generating the pop you think he or she deserves, don’t hesitate to go into the Senior League or Big Barrel realm of bats.

What Makes the Best Coach Pitch Bat?

We spent several hours in the cage, online and in game checking the prowess of a number of Coach Pitch bats as well as thousands of hours testing and reviewing other bats in the softball and baseball space. We came away with a good sense of what makes a good or even the best Coach Pitch bat (or Junior Big Barrel bat). In short, and pretty obviously, a good Coach Pitch bat lets a player hit the ball more often and with greater velocity. We’ve found three over-arching principles in determining the best Coach Pitch bat that delivers on this:

  • As much Barrel Size as Possible per given Swing Weight
    -More barrel size gives more chances to put the ball in play. But more barrel at the expense of a heavier bat isn’t helpful for most young players. Finding a bat with as much barrel face as possible without sacrificing a low swing weight is ideal and proves the most success.
  • Sting Dampening on the Hands on Mishits
    -Few things convince a player faster that he doesn’t like to hit baseballs than an end cap or handle hit that rings the hands like the morning school bell. Bats can be designed to dampen sting in the hands and such should also be the case for the best Coach Pitch bat.
  • The Sickest Paint Job
    -It’s not far fetched to understand how a grown man’s confidence at the plate can seriously effect their batting and slugging percentage. Look no further than the pomp and circumstance of MLB hitting swag which serves virtually no other purpose than that of looking good. Extending that idea to little tykes may be uncomfortably vain, but it doesn’t make it any less adorable. Sweet looking bats, as determined by mini players, are a serious key to confidence which, in turn, is a serious key to success at the plate.

The Origin of Coach Pitch Bats

Adorable little tykes running the bases and dressing up all professional-like is one of our favorite things to watch. More recently, many leagues have left the tee-ball version of this behind and added a league somewhere between a pitching machine and kid pitch called coach pitch (and many have abandoned pitching machines all together). In this coach pitch league, an entire division of baseball and softball bats have arisen to meet the needs of the player who need something with more viability than a tee-ball bat, but who can’t quite wield the bats built to withstand a season of kid pitch.

Coach Pitch Bats vs Junior Big Barrel Bats

While the terminology is not officially governed by any particular ruling body, there is no difference between a Junior Big Barrel bat and a Coach Pitch Bat. Both bats are shorter than traditional Little League and “Senior League” bats and are rarely constructed to take a serious beating of pitches over 35 mph.

Luckily, on the majority of vendor sites, Junior Big Barrel Bats (often referred to as JBB) and Coach Pitch Bats are one and the same. At justbatreviews we feel similar about the two. JBB and Coach Pitch Bats are found as short as 25 inches with a drop up to -13. They are generally no longer than 29 inches with a drop as low as -10. (Pro Tip: The Drop is the numerical difference between the length of the bat in inches and the weight of the bat in ounces).

Coach Pitch Bats vs Little League or Big Barrel Bats

There are a few notable differences between Coach Pitch bats and Little League or Big Barrel Bats. Notably, Little League bats, as well as Big Barrel bats, are made in larger sizes than JBB or Coach Pitch bats. As well, Coach Pitch bats are not built to withstand serious impact. Instead, Coach Pitch (or Junior Big Barrel bats) are designed to create the absolute most barrel size in as light as swing possible that can at least withstand more impact than a t-ball.

Another difference: Coach Pitch bats are almost always 2 3/4 inches in diameter at their largest point along the barrel.  Official Little League bats are no larger than 2 1/4 at their largest point (at least until 2018 when the standards for Little League change). Big Barrel bats can be as large as 2 3/4 but their length, weight and construction are built to accommodate bigger players accustomed to greater impact.

Should I get a Composite Coach Pitch Bat?

The main reason a composite Coach Pitch bat may make sense is it gives you the absolute lightest swing weight possible. We found, in our testing, composite coach pitch bats tend towards a lighter swing weight than their aluminum alloy equivalents. There were some exceptions to this—as our best coach pitch bat choice shows—but on the whole it stands true.

It should be noted, however, a decrease in swing weight is often achieved easier by simply shortening the size of the bat instead of changing its material. If, for example, your 27 inch aluminum coach pitch bat is too heavy for a particular player then dropping to a 26 or 25 inch will give them a better chance at the appropriate swing weight than would changing from an aluminum to composite.

Some may argue a composite coach pitch bat may be appropriate for that advanced 7 or 8 year old who can wield some power and needs the composite for, among other things, its pop, hand sting dampening and balanced swing weight. If such a player does exist, and I am sure they do, then they shouldn’t waste their time on a bat rated for 35 mph pitches or slower. There are plenty of bats in the 2 3/4 ‘Big Barrel’ or ‘Senior League Space’ in the 27 or 28 inch drop 12 to drop 10 that are much more appropriate and built for that type of player.

The Fallacy of Best: Our Disclaimer

We are sure you already know this, but there is no particularly ‘Best’ Coach Pitch bat. Each player has their own needs, own swing and own budget. As such, claiming we know that a particular coach pitch bat is indeed best may be far reaching. We are confident there are several good ones and, in the majority of cases, upwards of several bats which will fit your needs just fine. Our recommendations of coach pitch bats do subscribe to values of reason and logic but we’d be the first to admit that individual results may vary.