Composite Softball Bat Rolling - What are the Benefits?

Published: 23rd February 2009
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In general any composite bat will benefit from being rolled. Due to the makeup of the carbon fiber layers that make up a composite bat every composite bat gets better with use. By rolling your bat you break your bat in a more controlled environment.

When rolling a bat, it's placed between two rollers of a bat rolling machine and then pressure is applied to the rollers like a vice. As the bat passes through the rollers the bats fibers are stretched out and the glue holding the layers together is broken down. The is the same thing that happens as you take hours of batting practice. This causes the fibers to become more flexible which greatly improves the bat's trampoline effect. This trampoline effect is what produces the batted ball speed and distance. It will also widen the sweet spot of the bat which will make you a more consistent hitter.

Types of Bat Rolling Machines

There are 2 types of Bat Rolling Machines that are currently being used. Those types are Perpendicular and Parallel. Perpendicular bat rolling machines roll your bat perpendicular to the barrel and the Parallel rollers roll parallel to the barrel. The perpendicular type is the preferred method of rolling. Bats are designed to be compressed in small areas similar to hitting a ball. Parallel rolling machines allow you to roll the entire barrel all at once. The only benefit to doing this is to be able to roll your bat faster. It is not recommended to roll via the parallel method as it puts too much stress on the barrel of the bat.

Bat Rolling works

Composite bats are made from carbon fiber and polymer resin. It is an excellent manufacturing material combination and they are used to make a number items in every day use, including car and boat parts. However; for a bat, the finished product is slightly more rigid then is optimal for maximum distance on a hit ball

Currently legal

Currently rolling is legal in only 1 slow pitch softball association. This association (ISA) clearly state in their rule book that rolling is legal. In another association (ASA), they have recently adopted a bat certification process that requires all bats to be tested after they have been rolled. This ensures each bat that is certified by them does not exceed their performance factor after being rolling. You can interpret this as rolling being legal even though it doesn't specifically say so. In USSSA, they do clearly state rolling is against the rules. Rolling your bat is doing nothing more than taking 500 BP swings. You're just doing it in a more controlled fashion and in a shorter period of time. Please check with your local association or league and find out what their stance is on this subject.

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