Did you know that to get the full potential out of your new composite bat you will need to break it in? A common question we get at Better Baseball is, “How do I break in my new composite bat?” We will break down the process in 3 easy steps to make sure your bat is hot and ready to go before your next game.
Before we get into the steps of breaking in a composite barrel, let’s talk about the general make up of composite barrels and why you want that barrel to be broken in before your next game. Most composite barrels are made from a certain carbon fiber weave that is held in place by a strong resin. Wether the bat is a USSSA, USA, or BBCOR composite, we will always recommend to break the barrel in before you use it in a game.
Breaking in the barrel through our process will loosen up that resin bond to give the barrel more performance and pop through the trampoline effect. A well broken in composite barrel will not only perform better but will last longer. Keep in mind this process is the safest and legal way of breaking in composite baseball and softball bats. Warning: Rolling or modifying a composite bat is not only illegal but also will shorten the life of your bat.
For the following steps make sure you are using leather cover baseball or softballs and not heavy dimpled balls as the extra weight from these could cause damage to your barrel. Also with all composite bats, its it wise to only hit with them in temperatures of 50-85 degrees. Hitting a composite bat in colder temperatures will sometimes cause that barrel to crack. Room temperature (72 degrees) is best for this process.
Step 1. Tee Work - 50 hits
At 50% swing power hit 50 balls off a tee. In between each hit, rotate the bat a 1/4 turn. You can mark the end cap with a pencil or chalk to make the turning process easier and more precise. Some composite bats even have what’s called a rotational index on the end cap and you can use that as a guide as well for your 1/4 turns.
Hitting each ball at 50% swing power ensures the structural integrity of the barrel without risk of cracking by hitting at 100% right out the wrapper.
Step 2. Soft Toss - 50 Hits
At 75% power hit 50 balls during soft toss. Like in Step 1, make sure you are rotating the bat a 1/4 turn between each hit. If you mishit, foul tip, or don’t hit the sweet spot perfectly, do not count that as a hit and do not rotate the bat. For each hit, you want to make sure you square up each and every ball to ensure a perfect break in.
Step 3. Live BP - 100 Hits
At 100% swing power hit 100 balls from live BP. Keep rotating the bat a 1/4 turn for each and every hit. Your bat should now be fully broken in. Some make and models will take little longer than others to break in. Listen closely how each hit sounds when hitting the ball. A good indicator of an unbroken in bat is a muffled “thunk” noise when the ball hits the barrel. If that is the case, keep hitting on that side to ensure the barrel is fully broken in. Once all sides of the barrel sound and feel the same you should be ready to hit dingers and moon shoots in your next game or practice.
When not using your composite bat, make sure you are storing it in a dry and room temperature environment. Storing a composite bat in a car or garage can cause damage to the barrel the next time you swing it.
Breaking in your composite bat correctly will allow it to not only perform better but will also add longevity to your barrel. If the barrel does crack, most composite baseball and softball bats come with a 1 year manufacturer’s warranty. It is tough to gauge the lifespan of a composite bats, but if broken in this way and stored properly you should be able to use is for a minimum of two full seasons.
Looking for a new composite bat? Check out these great options here.