It is really important to know about different breaking in techniques of softball bats. In today’s blog we are going to talk about softball bat rolling. What actually bat rolling is and how it helps to improve the performance? We know about the manufacturing of the softball bats, right? The difference between aluminum bats vs. Composite bats is already discussed.
When a softball bat is manufactured, the composite fibers and resinous glues are used. These materials are very important. When the bat is used, the striking forces of the ball breaks down the composite fibers and resinous glues which makes it to improve the overall performance of the softball bat. So, we can say that these two things helps in improving the performance.
- The age of the bat (Usage)
- Breaking in techniques
What is actually improved by these striking forces? Basically, they improve the BPF (Bat Performance Factor) or BESR (Ball Exit Speed Ratio) of the bat. These factor are directly related to the speed at which the ball is struck by the bat.
Different leagues have a certain maximum value for the bats when either newly bought or improved by Accelerated Break-In (ABI) techniques.
Softball Bat rolling technique:
The main purpose of this technique is to break down the fibers of the composite bat by applying an external force of certain amount. Softball bat rolling mainly involve the use of machine which uses rollers to apply certain amount of pressure perpendicular to the composite softball bat’s surface, breaking down the composite fibers to expand. This is what makes composite bats much better than aluminum bats as the trampoline effect is adjusted according to the player’s needs.
Rolling of the bat increases the breaking in speed of the bat. And this is what professional softball players need. However, in aluminum bats it’s not possible. Same will be the case with wood softball bats but there is a little chance of bat rolling in wood softball bats as they are different than aluminum bats.
Why to roll a bat?
The artificial bat rolling started in late 1999 when players wanted to reduce the time required to get their new bat to its highest playing performance. However, in 2009 the NCAA published a memo and introduced certain limit for the softball bat rolling.
Bat’s Performance Improve as it is Broken-in but how much?
A research made at Washington State University tells about the boosted performance after the breaking in technique applied. The total improved speed was 3.5mph after 500 hits. What does that 3.5mph mean? To make it simple, it’s like 27 feet distance improved. So, if a bat has 98- mph we can say that after 500 hits, the bat would have 101.5 mph which is 27 feet more distance covered in the later speed as compared to the 98-mph. Read more about the research on softball bat rolling here
Softball bat rolling statistics:
The following table show how the performance is increased till first 1000 hits and then it decreases.
|Serial||0 hits||500 hits||1000 hits||2000 hits|
|Bat 1||98 mph||101.5 mph||101 mph||~99 mph|
|Bat 2||98 mph||102 mph||101 mph||100 mph|
|Bat 3||98 mph||101 mph||100 mph||99 mph|
ASA Legal softball bat rolling:
According to ASA rules, these softball bats (used in the above experiment) are no longer ASA approved legal bats after they have been broken in after 500 hits as they have gone beyond 98-mph. This is one of the main reason why the ASA has moved to begin breaking in softball bats prior to sending them out for certification testing and approvals for play in leagues – and also this is why very few composite softball bats are able to pass the 98-mph certification performance standard after being broken-in.
Why most of the bats fail ASA certification?
Well, this is important to know that ASA only approves those bats which have the standard 98-mph speed after broken in. As, the above research says that most of the bat goes to 101 mph which is clearly the violation of the rule.
Let’s know about some other process similar to rolling of softball bats.
Barrel Compression Technique (BCT) for Softball bats:
This is yet another technique for improving the performance of the bat, it’s indirectly related to the first technique which is rolling of softball bat. This process involves the compression forces to squeeze the barrel of the bat, but without rolling.
Compressing the Bat Barrel in a Vise
This is one of the easiest and cheapest way to boost performance. There are some variations in the specified method used for compression of softball bats, but the basic procedure involves compressing the barrel of the softball bat by approx. half an inch at equally spaced intervals around the circumference of the bat barrel (which is being compressed), using special padding to reduce marking the bat surface.
Hammer/Mallet Treatment – Softball bat rolling
So, you want your bat to break in quickly but you don’t want to pay for the rolling. That fine, let’s know about the hammer mallet treatment for softball bats.
In this process, player use to hit the barrel of the bat with a hard rubber mallet to make the fibers expand, or a ball mallet is used which is made by fixing a softball to a handle. This is simple yet affective process for rolling softball bat. There is even commercially available products known as Bat Hammer for breaking in softball bat.
Are Accelerated Break-In Techniques Illegal?
Well, this is a hard question to answer but in our point of view, Yes, all these techniques which artificially increase the performance are bad doctoring techniques which are of course illegal. Whether or not ABI techniques are considered as bad doctoring or not, the advantage gained by these technique is disappearing as the new bats are fully optimized and they cannot be altered by these doctoring according to the manufacturers.
What do you think about softball bat rolling? Let’s know. Meanwhile you can check out the best bat of 2016 suggested by softball bats unlimited. We have reviewed some great softball bats and you may check out Softball Bat Reviews section. If you have any suggestions for, please do let us know!