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One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a baseball bat is its balance.
We must understand that the range from light to heavy swing is a spectrum, not a category. Swing weight isn’t a binary determination but an actual calculated number.
Companies certainly make bats trying to attract a particular type of hitter. But where balanced starts and endload begins is an exercise in marketing, not physics. There is no governing body claiming a bat is this or that. Instead, we can compare a bat to another, put them on a spectrum, and roughly categorize them as ‘endloaded’ or ‘balanced.’
We track swing weights here.
I guess that’s just our point. Most bats are mid-loaded, but we see no company talking about their bat as, ‘Well, it’s sort of the middle.’ Balanced has come to mean that, but there’s no distinction between what’s in the middle and what’s light. Instead, the industry pretends that bats are binary. It’s heavy, or it’s light. But, it turns out, most bats are neither. Instead, most are in the middle third—swing weights are best described on a bell curve, where the central 1/3 make up 80% of the market.
That said, if you don’t know, a balanced baseball bat is generally meant to distribute the weight evenly throughout the entire bat. This means the weight is distributed more towards the handle, creating a lighter swing weight. Balanced bats are generally recommended for contact hitters who want to maximize their bat speed and control.
Because of the even weight distribution, balanced bats are easier to swing, making them recommendable for younger players just starting in the sport. And before you spit out your tea, we know that many stronger players who like ‘balanced’ bats can hit them to the moon. To be sure, those players choose those ‘balanced bats’ in a longer size—effectively making them a heavy bats. But, we digress. In terms of how the bat pivots around its center of mass, the closer it is to the hands, the smaller players prefer it.
A balanced bat is ideal for players prioritizing control and versatility in their swings. “Balance,” a word whose actual meaning has very little to do with what it has come to mean in bat circles, allows for a faster swing speed and improved management, making it easier for players to make contact with the ball and adjust their swing on the fly. This type of bat is recommended for players of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced players, who want to improve their hitting performance.
On the other hand, an end-loaded baseball bat has its weight shifted toward the end of the barrel. How much exactly? No one knows, as this is a marketing conversation, not a physics one (see above). Having weight more toward the end cap creates a heavier swing weight, meaning the player must generate more power to swing the bat effectively. End-loaded bats are generally recommended for power hitters who want to hit the ball farther and harder.
End-loaded bats are generally recommended for experienced hitters with solid and efficient swings. They benefit players with the strength and mechanics to control the added weight, as they can help generate more power and distance on contact. Of course, though, they’re harder to swing. But that’s the point.
Choosing between a balanced and end-loaded baseball bat depends on personal preference and playing style. A balanced bat is likely your best choice if you are a contact hitter who values bat speed and control. If you are a power hitter who wants to hit the ball farther and harder, an end-loaded bat may be a better fit.
When in doubt, pick the balanced bat.
Remember, “balanced” and “end-loaded” bats also come in different lengths. So, you can technically turn any bat into an end or balanced load by sizing up or down an inch. And the marketing folks died a little inside reading that sentence.
Ultimately, the best way to determine which bat is right for you is to try different models and see which one feels the most natural and comfortable in your hands. I mean, obviously.