Bat care is subject not many people know about. Yes, aluminum bats go bad! Aluminum bats have been upgrading scientifically throughout the years to offer to harder hits, larger sweat spots, and lighter weights. These upgrades have made the bats outer shell metal thinner and more sensitive to the elements. The insides of the bats are even more technical, including many air chambers made to help the ball pop right off the bat. The chambers if not taken care of properly, can bust.
Taking too many cuts with a bat is only one way a bat can go bad. Here are some steps on preventing and prolonging your bat to not lose that desired sweet spot.
- When not being used, keep your bat(s) inside. Bats are very sensitive to temperature and especially cold weather. Store your bat in a normal room temperature room. This means no leaving in cars, garages, or any other room that is not typically heated in the winter.
- Have a dummy bat. Find a cheap used bat at a yard sale, eBay, or a used sports equipment store. Use this bat during practices, at batting cages, and cold weather events. This way your treasured and more expensive bat lasts longer and has less chance of going bad.
- Do not use your bat in cold weather. Use your dummy bat for winter weather practices.
- Do not use bats provided at commercial batting cages such as a Putt-Putt or ESPN Zone. Those bats are typically very old, do not have to meet any type of regulation, and are not safe. They have been known to slowly bend backwards after each hit and even break in half.
- Only hit game ball quality softballs, whiffle balls, beans, and foam balls on your “good” bat. This means do not hit batting cage balls, rocks, balls with metal, basketballs, or any other ball that is harder or has heavier density than a softball with your “good” bat.
- Use a bat bag that is made to prevent slamming the bag to the ground such as a roller bag or the backpack softball bag. This will take away blows the bat may take while being transported to and from the field.
- Do not use your bat as a tool to knock dirt off your cleats, especially if you wear metal cleats.
- Take note of the warranty expiration date of your bat. This way if your bat goes bad, you might be able to request a replacement.
- Do not make contact with balls near bat handle. That section of the bat was not made for balls to make contact and make weaken over time.
- Remember to educate other users of your bat so that the bat is not accidently misused.
If a bat goes bad, you will be able to tell by how the balls pop off the bat. If the bat is making a more “thunking” feel when contact is made and balls are not making a normal distance from the plate when hit, then the bat is probably dead. Also, you will feel a harder vibration through the bat when the ball makes contact. Remember, you want the hit to feel clean and effortless!