End loading enhances the performance of a softball bat. After end loading, the ball travels farther and faster than it would using a conventional bat, because the weight is more heavily distributed toward the barrel.
Although banned by most major softball leagues and federations, end loading is often acceptable for bats used in exhibitions, home run derbies and recreational leagues.
Things You'll Need
- Flathead screwdriver
- Rubber mallet
- Pourable polyurethane compound
- Epoxy glue
End Loading Process
Wedge the screwdriver under the end cap. If the cap is too tight, use a mallet to force the screwdriver into the space between the bat and the end cap.
Slowly pry off the end cap.
Inspect the end cap. If the small plastic grip ends have broken off, purchase a new end cap directly from the bat manufacturer. Cost is generally $20 or less.
Place the end cap upside down on a work bench. The interior "cup" end should face up.
Pour the polyurethane compound into the end cap. Leave the end cap to dry overnight. Make sure the polyurethane has dried completely before proceeding.
Apply a thin layer of epoxy glue to the grip ends.
Reinsert the end cap into the bat. Tap it gently with a mallet to ensure a tight fit.
Wipe away excess epoxy and polyurethane from the outside of the bat.
Store the bat upright and let it dry overnight.
Tips & Warnings
- Experiment with using an end-loaded bat by adding a tennis ball into the barrel, using the above process to access the barrel. This will add a few ounces of weight that can easily be removed if necessary.
- Test the weight of the polyurethane compound before end loading. Use a disposable container to weigh the same amount that will fit into the end cap, which will help ensure that the added weight will not hinder the swing.
- Washington State University: Characterizing Softball Bat Modifications and Their Resulting Performance Effects (PDF)
- Kettering University: Swing Weights of Baseball and Softball Bats (PDF)
- Brown University: Batting Performance of Wood and Metal Baseball Bats (PDF)
- Fogdog Sports: Baseball/Softball Bat FAQ
- Softball Hitting: End loaded vs. Balanced Bats
- Photo Credit girl playing softball image by pixelcarpenter from Fotolia.com
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