How To Break-In A Composite Bat? (Step-By-Step)
When you first get into baseball or softball, you will learn many things, including different bat materials. When the subject of composite bats comes up, you will hear that they need to be broken in. This is a process to loosen up the resin inside its barrel to make it perform better. Generally, it’s a warm-up for the composite bat.
How do you break in a baseball or a softball bat, and what else should you know about it? That’s what you will find out in this article!
To break in a composite bat, you need to hit 200-300 balls with the bat and rotate it 90° or ¼ after each hit. By rotating your bat, you will ensure that the whole barrel will be properly broken in. At the start of the process, use 50% of your swing power and increase it as you proceed.
The breaking-in process is straightforward and fun if you ask me. I’ll explain the whole process below step-by-step so you can do it correctly, even as a first-timer.
However, before moving into that, it’s important why you need to break in your composite bat and whether it is mandatory. Let’s check that out first.
Do Composite Bats Have To Be Broken In?
Composite bats are often considered the most performance-rich bat material out of all. So, why aren’t these bats ready to play right after unwrapping as alloy and wooden bats are? Well, composite bats aren’t at their full potential before warming it up with 200 to 300 swings.
Think about a powerlifter. Powerlifters need to get a good warm-up with some reps and less weight before taking a shot at their maximum lift. This is the same with composite bats. When you break in your bat by hitting balls with less power, the resin inside the barrel loosens up, so the material will perform at a higher level.
Benefits of breaking in a bat include;
- Increase the bat’s lifespan
- Adds more power = more speed & distance
- Reduces the post-impact vibrations
Technically you could take your composite bat right out of the wrapper and swing the ball at full speed when it’s game day; however, this opens a serious risk of the bat breaking, cracking, and you can’t add the speed and distance to the swings you would want.
How To Break In A Composite Bat?
Breaking in a composite bat is an easy task that requires a bit of your time, among other things. If you aren’t going to a batting cage but prefer to do this at home, there is something that you will need. Let’s take a look.
What you will need;
- Composite bat
- Baseballs or softballs depending on your sport
- Batting tee
- Practice net/Backstop
- Friend for tossing
- Secure area for swinging
I highly recommend using regulation balls for your breaking-in process as weighted balls or anything altered could damage your bat and crack it prematurely. That certainly isn’t what you want. Also, please don’t use your full swing power at the start of the process, as it puts the bat at risk.
Now, let’s look at the actual break-in process:
- Step 1 – Get a regulation game ball and place your batting tee in front of the backstop. Hit 50 balls off the tee while using 50% of your power. Remember to rotate the bat ¼ after each hit.
- Step 2 – Proceed the same way but increase the power from 50% to 75% and hit 50 balls off the tee. Remember to rotate the bat ¼ after each hit.
- Step 3 – Ask someone to aid you by tossing the ball to you slowly. Hit 50 balls with 75% of your power. Remember to rotate the bat ¼ after each hit.
- Step 4 – Proceed the same way but increase the power from 75% to 100% and hit 50 balls from the toss.
- Step 5 – Ask the same person to pitch the ball to you with game speed or use a pitching machine to achieve the same thing. Hit 50 balls with 100% power off the pitch to complete your breaking-in process. Remember to rotate the bat ¼ after each hit.
That’s it. After these 250 swings, your bat should now be well broken-in, and if you compare it to the first swings, you should see a noticeable difference. If you feel that it isn’t yet fully broken in, you can redo step 5 again as long as it takes.
What Is Bat Rolling And Is It Worth It?
If you have spent time with the subject of breaking in a composite bat, you might have heard of bat rolling. What in the earth is that?
Bat rolling is a way to speed up the break-in time of a composite bat, so you won’t need to manually break it in by hitting a ball hundreds of times. Bat rolling is done with a machine that compresses the composite fibers, decreasing their stiffness and improving their performance.
The method of bat rolling is used mostly in slowpitch softball, but it is also used for baseball and fastpitch bats. Bat rolling improves power, speed, distance, creates a bigger sweet sport, and removes dead sport from used bats.
This is especially valuable in slowpitch, as the ball is thrown so slow that it doesen’t generate much power on its own.
So how does bat rolling work? The composite bat is placed between two rollers used to press and squeeze the bat, resulting in less stiffness, a better trampoline effect, and increased power. There are also more advanced techniques of bat rolling that make it easier to do so or further improve the bat.
That being said, should you roll your bat? Is it worth it?
Bat rolling is illegal in baseball and softball leagues, and I do not recommend doing so.
- First off, it’s illegal, and you shouldn’t cheat as it’s unfair for everybody.
- Second, if you have rolled your bat, you can say goodbye to the warranty.
- Third, you will get caught as the league employees, coaches, and umpires are trained to spot bat rolling, and it is easily noticeable as it will leave clear markings on the exterior of your bat.
However, if you are a recreational player, swing at the batting cage, and don’t care for the warranty of your bat, you can roll it so you can make the bat more fun to swing with. However, inform your friends if you intend to do so and see if it is okay.
Still, I think that it isn’t worth it as the benefits are too little when compared to the effort and lost warranty. If you play in a league, don’t roll your bat.
My Favorite Softball Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Here are my top softball equipment recommendations that I think will take your game to the next level.
- Bat: My favorite certified fastpitch softball bat is the Easton Ghost. This bat has a double-barrel construction which is incredible if you are looking for a great feel and are a fan of satisfying pop and sound. The handle is a great bonus as it’s great to hold on to and very thin. The technology used for this bat provides great durability and flexibility. This bat comes in various styles and sizes.
- Softball: The best softballs, in my opinion, are the Franklin Sports Official Softballs. These affordable yet official featured balls are perfect for practice if you want to train with a similar ball as in a real game. These balls have the official 12-inch circumference and weight. The yellow color makes it easy to spot, and the flat seams enable minimal air resistance so that they will fly consistently and far.
- Glove: Rawlings Liberty Advanced Fastpitch Glove should be introduced to every softball player. The 12.5″ size makes it a breeze to catch and secure softballs. The glove is very comfortable as it’s made from full-grain leather, and the pull-staps will perfect the fit. The design is breathtaking as well. Be prepared for a little break-in time tho.
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.