Saturday, September 10, 2011

Why Composite Youth Baseball Bats Outperform Aluminum Youth Baseball Bats

By Todd Hester

The three main differences that make a composite bat outperform an aluminum or wood bat have to deal with trampoline effect, swing weight, and vibration.

Trampoline effect has to do with what happens to the bat and ball when they collide. Manufacturers can vary the stiffness of the barrel of a composite bat which can increase or decrease the speed the ball comes off the barrel when hit. Making the barrel softer decreases energy loss and in turn increases the speed the ball is hit. An easy way of looking at this is whether the ball gives or the bat gives when contact between the two is made. The ball is what gives when hit by a hard surface like aluminum or wood. The ball giving instead of the bat reduces the energy created by the pitcher and batter and slows down the speed in which the ball leaves the bat. A composite bat can be made stiff at the handle yet softer at the barrel. This softer barrel enables the wall of the bat to give instead of the ball which helps maintain the energy created by the pitcher and batter.

Swing weight is a term used to describe how heavy a bat feels when you swing it instead of the weight the bat actually is sitting still. Manufacturers can lessen swing weight when dealing with composite by making the center of gravity closer to the handle. This increases bat speed which in turn increases the speed the ball comes off the bat. A simple way to compare this is to swing any bat by the handle and then turn it around and swing it by the barrel. This is a little extreme but you can see how moving more of the weight closer to where you hold the bat makes the bat much lighter to swing.

Anyone who has ever used an aluminum bat and missed hitting the ball on the sweet spot of the bat knows how much it can sting your hands. This is caused by the vibrations in the bat. Composite bats have a lower bending stiffness which lessens vibrations in a bat which in turn reduces this stinging effect. Also, composite bats have a greater damping rate which has to do with how long the bat vibrates after contact. Composite bats are considered more forgiving by players when they miss hit a ball because they do not feel the sting in their hands.

The future of composite bats is up in the air right now due to the concern of the safety of the pitcher and infielders. The fact that the ball comes off the bat at a greater speed than a wood or aluminum bat reduces the reaction time the pitcher and infielders have to get a glove on the ball. On December 30th, 2010 Little League officials announced a complete moratorium on all composite bats until they could be tested to see how fast the ball comes off the bat. This came at a horrible time considering lots of little boys got new expensive composite bats for Christmas. Since then a few composite bats have been tested and approved for Little League use. I suggest visiting Little League's official web site or asking the commissioner of the league your child plans to play in before purchasing an expensive composite bat.

Todd has been coaching Little League Baseball for several years. During his coaching career he has witnessed several players using the wrong size baseball bat. For this reason he has put together a site that will teach you everything you need to know to turn an average player into a Great Baseball Player which includes bat size charts to insure you buy the right size baseball bat for your Little League player. He has a new website telling all about the different types of youth baseball bats at http://www.baseballbatsyouth.com


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Todd_Hester

3 comments:

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