You’ve probably come across the words “End Loaded” or “Balanced” when shopping for the right bat. In this article, we’ll shed some more light on the End Loaded bats vs Balanced bats debate. So, what do those terms mean, and which one should you use?
Balanced vs. End Loaded Bats
A balanced bat’s weight is evenly distributed throughout the bat’s length. This weight distribution means that players can generate quicker swing speeds, making them the preferred option for most batters because they offer the most controlled swings due to their lighter swing weight.
While bat speed is good for hitting the ball harder & farther, the bat’s mass/weight is crucial. For instance, you can swing a Wiffle ball bat fast, but you probably won’t hit a regulation baseball too far.
End Loaded Bats
End loaded bats, on the other hand, have more of their weight closer to the end cap towards the end of the barrel, which is often referred to as being “top-heavy.” Having more weight concentrated towards the end of the bat makes them a tad harder to swing.
Their weight distribution makes them the pick of choice for power hitters who have no trouble generating speed from their swings, despite the additional weight. Additionally, having more weight towards the end cap means more weight focused within the hitting zone.
As a result, players can generate more momentum with similar swing speeds, thus hitting the ball farther.
Manufacturers don’t make swing-weight available, so you’ll have to figure it out on your own.
A bat’s balance point distinguishes between a heavy swinging bat or a light swinging one and its MOI value.
Therefore, bats with a balance point closer to the handle are easier to swing. Similarly, bats that have pivot points farther away from the handle aren’t.
For this reason, end-loaded bats are harder to swing but harder to slow down as a player swings through the hitting zone.
Moment of Inertia
Ever notice that a heavier bat, such as a 30-ounce stick, may seem to swing easier than a 28-ounce bat? How can that be?
Well, it all comes down to what physicists call Moment Of Inertia (MOI). In baseball or softball, MOI refers to how easy or difficult it is to swing a bat, and how heavy a bat feels you hold it in your hands.
Scientific definition of MOI: The MOI of an object represents the resistance a rigid body undergoes during rotational motion relative to a pivot point. Simply put, MOI calculates how difficult it is to move it in a circular pattern relative to its pivot point. The basis for this measurement is the shape of the object and where its mass concentrates. The same object can have vastly different MOI values depending on where the rotation axis is.
The Law of Inertia (also referred to as Newton’s First Law) states that objects in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by an opposing force. Similarly, If an item is at rest, it will continue in this same state of rest unless an opposite force overcomes its inertia.
In our case, the definition of MOI relates to players swinging a bat around their bodies. How much force does a player need to exert to swing their bat successfully? It depends on its pivot point (depending on where the player places their hands), in relation to the bat’s mass/weight distribution.
The bat’s absolute weight does not determine its MOI.
The End Loaded Bats vs Balanced Bats debate ultimately boils down to where the balance point is on the bat, as well as its MOI value.
Whether you prefer End Loaded Bats vs Balanced Bats, never use bats with varying swing weights. Variations can adversely affect your timing, so ensure you always use bats with comparable swing weights. This will keep your timing accurate.