A good bat should be broken in before you can use it on the field. The bat needs time to warm up and adjust its weight. On top of that, you need to find the right balance of strength and flexibility.
Taking 100 half-power swings on high-quality softballs placed on a tee is the best way to break your softball bat.
It would be best if you didn’t hit with any hard ball immediately. This can damage the wood and make it hard for you to get the right feel when hitting with your new bat later on. Any practice, such as one in a cage, should only have regulation-sized high-quality softballs with natural leather skin and proper stitching. Pock-marked rubber balls used in many cells and practice sessions can damage the bat instead.
Another tip is to use fresh balls when breaking in your new bat. You want each ball to feel different to help you adjust to whatever swing style you have at any given time. If you’re using tapered balls instead of round ones, ensure they’re taped correctly before hitting them with each swing.
Note that not all bats need to be broken in!
Does my bat need to be broken in?
100% alloy bats or softball bats with an alloy barrel have no break-in period. Playing more with them will not adjust their internal fibers or anything, so they are good to go right off the bat.
These are typically fast-pitch softball bats.
However, the majority of non-alloy bats have a break-in period. This included wooden and composite softball bats. In composite bats specifically, the internal carbon fibers need to loosen up for the bat to reach its peak performance. The time it takes to get to this point is the bat’s break-in period.
It’s possible to sufficiently break in a composite bat’s internal fibers in a single game. Fresh composite bats don’t perform as well as broken-in bats. Never pick up a new bat midway through a game, or if you can help it, not even midway through a season.
Tips to accelerate the breaking-in process
Though time and practice are the best ways to break in a softball bat, you can try a few tips and tricks that we have for you below.
- Always start with slower pitches. Ideally, it would help if you used a tee to practice at half-pitch speed and not immediately begin batting normally paced balls thrown at you. A few practice sessions with half-speed pitches are needed before you can use the bat in a real game.
- Good breaking-in only happens when done consistently. Rotate your bat between swings so that all parts get broken in equally. Many composite bats are marked, which can help in the rotation.
- An excellent way to break in your softball bat is to give it a good brushing with a ball brush or brush with nylon bristles. This will help remove any excess dirt or grime from the bat. Then use an emery board to smooth out any rough spots on the surface of the wood.
- The first thing you must do is ensure your bat is balanced. It would be best if you swung it back and forth a few times. If you feel that the bat is too heavy or light, balance it by applying pressure to the end of the barrel. This will help you adjust its weight to be just suitable for your size and strength.
- You can also use sandpaper on the handle of your bat. Use it in small strips, starting from the tip end of the bat and working your way toward the handle. The sandpaper should only be used on a soft surface so as not to damage your bat.
- Weather extremes are not suitable for breaking in a bat. The balls should not be lower than 60°F or 15°C.
Breaking into a baseball bat is essential in buying a new one. The bat needs to be broken so that it will be ready when needed. The breaking-in process allows the bat to become flexible and comfortable, which makes it easier to swing.
You want to allow the bat to get used to the feel of the ball before you start using it in games. With that in mind, make sure you use this new bat every day and regularly hit it until it breaks in completely. You can also try using different types of balls during this period as long as they are softballs.