How to Roll Softball Bats

Overview

Many softball bats are made of composite materials, such as nylon, which are designed to offer better structural design and hitting power than traditional aluminum bats. Various structures within these bats are designed to have a rebound effect upon impact with a ball that transfers a high percentage of the ball’s kinetic energy back toward the field, ideally resulting in longer drives. The structures inside these bats need to be loosened up before working at an optimum level—this is called a “breaking in” period. You can hit a high number of balls in a batting cage to break in your bat, but some people prefer to use expensive bat rolling machines for a symmetrical, efficient break-in.

Step 1

Adjust the rolling machine so that it corresponds to your bat’s barrel width. The actual distance between the two rollers will be a millimeter or two smaller than the barrel’s diameter. This lets the rollers squeeze the bat and apply pressure on the interior structures, loosening them and breaking in your bat.

Step 2

Place the bat handle between the two rollers situated inside the rolling machine’s vise. You will pull the handle end while the bat’s barrel moves through the rollers.

Step 3

Begin cranking the rollers slowly while feeding the barrel in. It might require some strength to position the barrel firmly inside the rollers. Continue moving the bat through the rolling machine while turning the rollers. You might hear a crack or other noises coming from the bat—this is the interior structures loosening up. It is exactly what you want to have happen when using a rolling machine.

Step 4

Continue rolling until the bat is completely removed from the machine’s rollers.

Step 5

Turn your bat one-eighth of a rotation, and feed it through the rolling machine the same way. This puts pressure in different structures, and some other structures from different angles, allowing for an even rolling of all sides of the bat. If you only roll your bat once, it will be lopsided, and the ball will react differently based on where it hits the bat.

Repeat this four times, turning the bat one-eighth of a turn each time to enjoy a well-rolled bat.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some softball leagues—particularly at the college and professional levels—do not allow rolling machines to break in your bat. Before using a rolling machine to break in your bat, check with your league to make sure the break-in process is allowed.

About this Author

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the “Omaha World-Herald” and “New York Newsday.” Croswell received a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nebraska.