So, you’ve got that new bat you’ve been wanting for months, or you’ve finally decided to change from a wooden to a composite bat. As exciting as that new, fresh-out-of-the-wrapper feeling is, you must know how important breaking in a new bat is and the proper way to do it. Today, we will discuss in detail how to efficiently break in your new baseball bat so it is ready to hit those home runs. Along with the importance of breaking in, we will also give you a step-by-step guide to follow, which you can note down and perform exactly as you optimize your new bat.
Why Breaking in Your Bat Is Vital?
While metal bats don’t need breaking in, composite bats might not function as well or may even have a risk of snapping if not broken in properly. Composite bats have an inner resin lining that is hard when it’s fresh out of production. This lining needs to be broken in for the bat to have optimal performance. Moreover, if the resin lining is not broken effectively in real matches, it can create dents and dead spots in the bat.
See it like this, you have a fresh pair of shoes that you just bought out of your favorite store; now, if you wore these shoes right off the bat (pun intended) for a long day with a lot of walking involved, they will for sure bite your feet. However, if you give them time and slowly increase the wear time over the next few days, you’ll have the most comfortable shoes. Similarly, your bat must get warmed up for it to hit hard and stay strong against those blazing-fast pitches and rock-solid shots you will be swinging.
Of course, if all this seems like a hassle, you could just straight up buy an aluminum bat, which is served piping hot ‘n’ ready to eat, in the sense that you could take that bat from the shop straight to the game and have an amazing experience filled with blasting home runs.
How to Break in Your New Bat?
Now that we understand why composite bats specifically need a good break in, let’s go through the steps of how to do that effectively and efficiently, making sure every inch of the bat is spotless and optimized to knock some balls out of the park.
Practicing with A Tee
Get a tee, place your ball on it, and start hitting very light and easy swings. Do this for at least 150 shots, maybe more if you feel like you haven’t covered all the spots. After each swing, rotate the bat in your hand about one-fourth so a new side is facing the hit. Continue rotating and swinging, making sure you don’t put any serious effort into the shot, just letting the bat swing from your shoulder to the ball.
Ask a teammate or friend to throw the ball at you from a smaller distance than the pitch line. Make sure they don’t use full power while throwing, as these shots are just to get your bat accustomed to moving ball impact. Practice these at low power swings or about 50 or even 100 shots if your teammate can continue or ask another player. Maintain the rotating practice after each swing in this session as well.
Full Pitch Shots
Finally, ask your teammate to do full-powered pitches at least 40 to 50 miles per hour and start putting real effort into the shots, gradually increasing your swinging power to 100%. You will feel a significant difference in the bat’s power and impact resistance. The knocking sounds will get more resonant and apparent as you have successfully broken the inner layer, and the composite fibers will have become flexible enough to bring about a proper trampoline effect. Again, make sure you rotate the bat after every swing.
Conclusion for How to Break in a Baseball Bat?
There it is, a complete review and guide on breaking in a new baseball bat. Remember, every bat has its own requirement of shots needed for optimization. You will just have to find out what your bat needs as you break into it and feel the difference in its performance gradually.
When you feel like the change in performance has reached a plateau, that would be a good time to bring the bat into real games and start winning. Make sure you research well on the company of the bat you plan on buying so you know the exact specs of that bat. For example, how many coatings of resin it has, which will help you in determining the breaking in period and save time.
Now that you understand how to break in a new baseball bat, go on and swing some shots. Have fun knocking ’em out of the park, champ!
FAQs for How to Break in a Baseball Bat?
Breaking in a new baseball bat serves to enhance its performance by enhancing flexibility and responsiveness. This process involves softening the fibers within the barrel, leading to improved ball contact, increased hitting power, and greater distance in your hits.
The time needed to break in a new baseball bat can vary based on factors such as the bat’s material, construction, and frequency of use. Generally, it may require several hundred hits to complete the break-in process, although this duration may vary for different bats.
Composite bats usually require a more gradual break-in approach. Starting with hitting off a tee or using soft toss for approximately 150-200 hits is recommended, rotating the bat a quarter turn with each swing to ensure an even break-in. Additionally, it’s important to avoid using the bat in temperatures below 60°F (15°C) during the break-in phase, as it could adversely affect the process.