Breaking In Your New CATX Bat. 3 Tips for Maximum Performance


Breaking in a new baseball bat is an important process that helps optimize performance and maximize the bat’s lifespan. When a bat is new from the factory, the materials are rigid and dense. Breaking in a bat compresses the fibers and creates small fractures in the material that allow the bat to flex and respond better on contact. While all bats require some break-in, composite and aluminum bats typically need more significant break-in than wood bats. The break-in process gradually loosens the material and makes the bat more flexible through a combination of practices like soft toss, batting practice, and using a bat weight or mallet. Done properly over the course of several weeks or months, breaking in a bat helps reduce vibration, increases pop and trampoline effect, and improves both feel and hitting performance. This guide will cover the key steps and considerations for safely and effectively breaking in a new CATX bat.

Selecting the Right Bat

When selecting a bat to break in, it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. The material, size, and weight are key factors to consider.

For younger players just starting out, a lightweight composite or aluminum bat is a good choice. Composite bats are very durable yet lightweight, while aluminum bats tend to be more affordable. According to sources, bats sized 25-27 inches and weighing between 13-17 ounces are ideal for young players learning the basics of hitting. As a rule of thumb, taller/stronger players can handle longer, heavier bats while shorter/weaker players need shorter, lighter bats.

For older, more experienced players, composite bats with a -3 drop weight (ounce difference between length and weight) are recommended. A drop weight of -5 up to -10 may be suitable depending on the player’s height, weight and strength. BBCOR certified aluminum alloy bats are required for high school and collegiate play. These bats have undergone testing to ensure they perform within established limits.

When trying out bats, it’s advisable to swing multiple options to get a feel for the optimal combination of length, weight and material. Proper bat sizing and weight allows the player to control the bat efficiently through the entire swing. With the right bat, the player will be able to make solid contact and drive the ball effectively.

Safety Considerations

When breaking in a new CATX bat, safety should always be the top priority. Proper protective equipment like batting helmets and gloves are essential. As this video explains, eye protection is also recommended to guard against splinters or pieces that could fly off the bat during the break-in process.

Supervision is also key. Breaking in a bat involves repetitive, forceful swings that can be dangerous if not done with proper technique. Having an experienced coach or mentor oversee the process allows for constructive feedback on swing mechanics and helps minimize injury risk. As one expert says, “taking cuts off a tee by yourself is fine, but have a second set of eyes there too for safety.”

Additionally, only take swings that are controlled and at about 80% of full effort. Gradually ramp up swing intensity over multiple sessions once you have the movements down. Rushing the break-in or overswinging creates further hazard. Maintaining focus on safety from start to finish ensures the bat gets broken in properly.

Getting the Bat Ding-Free

Avoiding dents and damage to a new bat is crucial during the break-in process. Here are some techniques to keep the bat ding-free:

Use batting tees and soft toss initially. Take 25-50 easy swings off a tee to slowly break in the bat barrel. Soft toss allows you to control bat speed and contact. Gradually increase swing intensity over multiple sessions (Source).

Check for proper bat fit. Make sure the bat is sized appropriately for the player’s height and strength. An improperly fitted bat is more prone to mishits and damage.

Inspect balls carefully. Hit only approved balls in good condition – no rocks or hardened balls. Softballs, tennis balls, and light flight balls are safer options early on.

Avoid extreme cold weather. Cold temperatures increase bat brittleness. Wait for warmer temps or use an alloy bat instead when below 50 degrees F (Source).

Rotate bat contact points. Alternate hitting in different barrel spots and orientations to spread out strain.

Inspect frequently. Check for dents and damage after each session – stop using immediately if found. Consider taping vulnerable areas for protection.

Barrel Break-In

The barrel is the most important part of the bat to break in properly. According to How To Break In Your Composite Baseball or Softball Bat, you should start by hitting 50 balls off a tee using about 50% of your power. This allows the barrel to start forming micro-fractures in the composite material through slight compression and pressure. Do not swing full force, as this can damage the bat.

Next, increase to about 75% of your max swing strength and hit another 50 balls off the tee according to How to Break In a Composite Bat. Listen closely to how each hit sounds. As the barrel breaks in, the sound should transition from a dull thud to a sharper ping. Rotate the bat a quarter turn after each hit to break in the entire 360 degrees of the barrel.

Finally, Composite Bat Break-In Guide recommends moving to soft toss hitting at full strength for another 50 hits. Concentrate the hits in the middle of the barrel’s sweet spot while still rotating a quarter turn. The bat should now be fully broken in with a ping sound indicating optimal performance potential.

Tapered Region Break-In

The tapered section of a baseball bat requires special care during the break-in process. This is the area where the bat transitions from a thicker barrel to a thinner handle. According to experts, hitting balls repeatedly off the taper can cause damage if not done properly (

When breaking in the taper, it’s important to avoid hitting balls on the exact transition point between the barrel and handle. Focus on making solid contact just below this point on the barrel end of the taper. Gradually work your way down the taper region over multiple batting sessions. According to coaches, at least 200-300 reps may be needed to fully break in the taper (

Go slowly and listen for any cracking noises, which could indicate microfractures forming in the bat material. If you hear cracking, stop and give the bat some time to rest before continuing. Breaking in a bat taper takes patience, but following these precautions will help maximize performance and bat life.

Handle Break-In

The handle is an important part of the bat to break-in properly. An unbroken-in handle can cause hand sting and an uneven swing.

To break-in the handle, focus on taking 50-100 dedicated swings hitting only the handle against a tee or toss-up. Make sure to rotate the bat so you are making contact all around the handle. According to BaseballMonkey, you can break in the handle by hitting wiffle balls, which puts less stress on the hands during the break-in process. Additionally, using batting gloves can help reduce vibration during this process.

Make sure not to grip the bat too tightly during handle break-in. Keep a loose grip and allow your hands to absorb the vibration. As the handle breaks in, you will notice less sting and vibration with each swing.

Be patient during handle break-in. It often takes longer than the barrel for the materials to compress and break-in fully. But a properly broken-in handle is crucial for comfort and optimal swing mechanics.


During the break-in period, it’s important to properly maintain your new bat to ensure optimal performance and maximize its lifespan. Here are some tips for ongoing bat care:

  • Wipe down the bat with a clean, dry cloth after each use to remove dirt, residue, and moisture.
  • Check for signs of wear and tear like cracks, chips or rattle. If detected, stop using the bat and have it inspected by a professional.
  • Store the bat in a climate-controlled environment. Avoid excess heat, cold, or humidity which can damage the bat.
  • When not in use, keep the bat in a bat sleeve or wrap it in a towel to prevent nicks and dings.
  • Avoid using batting aids like weighted sleeves or donuts during the break-in period as these can put extra strain on the bat.
  • Every few weeks, rub the barrel with a damp cloth to remove built-up residue and restore tackiness.
  • Re-tape the bat handle if the grip tape starts to peel or wear out.

Proper maintenance requires vigilance but pays off in the long run with a bat that hits at peak performance for many seasons. Always inspect and care for your new bat according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.


Signs of a Properly Broken-In Bat

There are a few key signs that indicate when a bat is properly broken in and ready for game use:

The bat should have a consistent, even ping or trampoline effect when making contact with the ball. This means vibrations spread evenly throughout the barrel upon impact (JustBats).

There should be no excessive vibration or sting in the hands when swinging. A broken-in bat will feel comfortable and natural to swing (The Baseball Reviews).

Visually inspect the bat for blemishes like cracks, chips or dents along the barrel or tapered handle. Surface blemishes indicate the bat fibers have settled in. Some visible wear on graphics can also be expected (JustBats).

During batting practice, a broken-in bat should be hitting balls solidly with good pop right out of the wrapper. You shouldn’t feel the need to swing hard to generate power.

If you notice a consistent sweet spot along the barrel where the best contact is made, this spot has been maximized through break-in. Dramatic differences in feel across the barrel indicate more break-in is needed.

Maximizing Bat Life

Proper maintenance and care is crucial for maximizing the lifespan of your baseball bat. Here are some tips for storing, cleaning, and inspecting your bat:

Store the bat in a climate-controlled environment away from major temperature and humidity fluctuations. The bat should be kept at around 70°F and 45-55% relative humidity (Woodweb). Allowing the wood to dry out can cause cracking and warping.

Clean the barrel regularly with a damp cloth to remove dirt, pine tar buildup, and debris that can damage the wood grain. Avoid using harsh cleaners or chemicals. Gently wipe down the bat barrel after each use.

Inspect the bat for signs of damage before and after each use. Look for cracks, chips, dents, bruising of the wood grain, or any warp that could compromise the bat’s structure. If any flaws are spotted, consider retiring the bat.

Rotate your bats rather than using the same one repeatedly for multiple games or practices. This helps distribute the contact evenly across your bat collection.

When storing the bat for a prolonged period, apply a fresh coat of wood sealant to protect the surface (JustBats). Hang the bat or store it muzzle down to prevent warping.

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