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The Difference Between Wood or Aluminum Baseball Bats
Since the 1970’s baseball players and critics have been asking what is the difference between wooden and aluminum baseball bats? They want to know which is better. Well anyone who has used both an aluminum and wooden baseball bat can tell you that aluminum is better. Aluminum bats make the ball fly off faster than wooden baseball bats. Manufacturers constantly improve upon their design to have a wider sweet spot, more power, better feel and higher performance. One of the differences between aluminum and wooden bats is that the barrel of an aluminum bat is hollow. The distribution of mass along the length of a metal bat is considerably different than it is for a solid wood one. The difference is found in the balance point of the baseball bat. The closer the balance point to the handle of the bat, the easier it is to swing.
When a baseball hits a wood bat, the baseball is compressed to nearly half its original diameter, losing up to three quarters of its initial energy because the of the friction caused inside the ball when it is being compressed. With an aluminum bat, which is hollow, when the baseball hits the barrel it compresses like a spring. What this means is that the baseball is not compressed as much and therefore loses less energy to internal friction forces. Aluminum bats have larger sweet spots. The sweet spot is the part of the bat where the ball flies off faster, but also reduces the amount of shock or vibration on the handle. Reduced shock is a valuable feature as it can reduce the amount of injuries in the forearms and elbows.
For younger age groups leagues use aluminum bats instead of wooden bats. With the larger sweet spot it allows the children of all abilities a better chance to hit the ball. It is more forgiving to children of all skill level. However, if a player uses a metal bat for too long and progresses to a pro level it could hinder them when they need use a wooden bat. One way to help combat this would be to use a wooden bat in batting practice, then use the metal bat during the game.
However at the College ranks it has also been debated to re-introduce wooden bats. One reason is to prepare the players for the pro leagues where they use wooden baseball bats. Another reason is that with advancing technology, baseball players are getting stronger. This means their power is increasing. There is a concern of the speed in which the ball flies off an aluminum bat is faster and faster. It makes it more dangerous for pitchers and infielders. However, this debate could go on for a very long time. Now you know the differences between an aluminum and wood bat so you can use this to help with the decision of which bat to use.
To read more about baseball equipment please check out Breaking in a Baseball Glove. It will give you tips on how to break in a baseball glove quickly. It speaks about different products and techniques to use.