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Measuring the Pop in Little League Bats Experiment
The actual pop in little league bats is always a bit of a mystery. Pop, also referred to as trampoline effect or coefficient of restitution (COR), is an often used term explaining the measure of bounce a particular bat gives the ball at impact. A bat with more pop would, given all other things equal (like speed pitch), hit a ball further than another with less trampoline effect.
Most agree that composite bats can bounces more than aluminum and aluminum more than wood. Yet not all composite, aluminum or wood bats are created equal.
I have a few decent name brand youth bats around so I thought I’d try and measure the pop of the bat since I’ve had so much success with my swing weight calculator. I took 5 bats (DeMarinni Vexxum, 2013 Easton XL3, Combat B2 Da Bomb (original), Combat B2 and the DeMarinni CF4). I took them out to the batting cage. I set up my speed gun in front of my ten year old son behind the net and threw soft toss to him while he hit the ball directly at the speed gun. The balls would travel about 8 feet into the net. It was plenty of time to get a reading on the speed gun.
We took about 40 swings per bat in groups of 10 swings. We took down each swing speed that was hit directly at the speed gun. Each bat had, at least, 15 hits directly towards the speed gun.
Results for Pop in Little League Bats
What we found was a bit disappointing but at least insightful when measuring the pop in league bats. The average hit from soft toss into the net was 47.3mph. 4 of the 5 bats had a max speed of 53mph the other (the Vexxum) was at 52. If you were to average the 5 bats 15 hits you’d find that none of them were any better, statistically speaking, than the other (although, for curiosity’s sake, the B2 and B4 were the “best” followed by the XL3. But they were within 1mp and based on the number of data points they do hold significant value).
What we Learned about Pop in Little League Bats
If there is a difference in trampoline effect among these bats (and I am sure there is) then we learned that a collision at roughly 50mph swing and a stationary (softtoss) baseball doesn’t give an advantage to any bat with more pop than another. In leagues where pitching is slow and swing speeds are down I don’t believe there is any noticeable trampoline effect advantage.
We suspect, to take advantage of the collisions force needed to require the composite and aluminum bats to flex and trampoline a baseball, collision needs to be violent. How Violent? We can’t quite say for sure but definitely more violent than a 50mph one total collision.
Take Aways for Pop in Little League Bats
- There is (probably) between very little and no trampoline effect on bat/bat collisions when forces are non-violent. In the very little leagues, where pitch speed and swing speed is lower, we see no reason to believe that trampoline effect, at least significantly, has anything to do with batted ball speed.
- To measure trampoline effect in a hitting scenario you’ll need either more sophisticated equipment or a hitter with an exceptionally fast swing speed.