The term “Break In” is frequently used in sports industry especially when it comes to slow pitch softball bats and gloves. Before understanding how to break in a slow pitch softball bat it is important to understand what this term actually means.
The terminology “Break In” is used for the process of yielding the optimum performance from a slow pitch softball bat. Curtis M. Cruz in his Master’s Thesis conducted several experiments and provided that a bats’ performance increased after it was broken in.
Various techniques are used by players to achieve the performance they are looking from their bat. Few of these techniques are listed below:
Break In Naturally by Hitting Balls
One of the most common and easiest ways of Breaking in your slow pitch softball bat is to hit as many balls as you can with your newly purchased bat. Although this process is time consuming yet it proves to be the most efficient one. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
A good way to start off is to visit a batting cage and take some soft swings with your bat. While hitting the ball you should try various spots on the barrel of your bat that is distribute your hits which help in opening up the sweet spot.
You need to rotate it by ¼ inch or give your bat a quarter turnbetween swings which assists in evenly breaking in your bat.
You should begin with soft toss pitches and slowly hit around 150 pitches. Keep your speed slow initially. The power you apply to these 150 initial pitches should be half of what is required in the actual game.
As you reach around 200 pitches you can increase your swing speed. Remember – Minimum 300-500 hits until your bat is fully broken in.
Also, you need to stay away from those yellow dimple balls as they are so dense that they can actually damage your new bat. Try using a regular softball for breaking in.
Accelerated Break In Technique
As the name suggests, these techniques are much faster than the natural one. For these accelerated techniques you need equipment like Mallets.
In this technique, players simply hit their bat with a ball hammer or a rubber mallet. You can find a Bat Hammer in the market or you can make one for yourself as well.
You hit the hammer equally throughout the barrel thereby breaking it in consistently. Research finds that this technique fairly improves the performance of a slow pitch softball bat.
This technique is preferred by players around the world as it involves less effort, less time and it does not pose a threat of damaging your bat.
There is no consensus among the slow pitch softball community whether or not hammering or malleting is legal. You should go through the rules and regulations section of the association you are playing for.
Barrel Compression Technique
This technique involves compressing the barrel of your bat using a vice ( a cheaper version)or other compression devices.
A certain amount of pressure is applied on the barrel so that the fiber and bonds within are broken-in. The bat is simultaneously heated at high temperature in order for the composite material to become soft.
After using this process, you will observe that the flexibility of your bat has increased. In other words, the trampoline effect is greater.
Beware – Rolling, one of the accelerated break in techniques used by players to enhance the performance of their bat, is deemed illegal by associations like ASA. So we refrain from mentioning it here.
Additionally, you should remember that composite bats require a little longer time to break in so you need to be patient until such a bat is completely broken in.
We hope that the tips that we have listed in this article will prove to be useful in helping you break in your slow pitch softball bat.
Finally you should keep in mind, due to the latest technology that companies use to manufacture slow pitch softball bats, your bat might not even require breaking in. There are several bats out there of this kind which might want to purchase.