Bat grip (a.k.a. bat tape or handle wrap) is an important part of a baseball or softball bat for youth players. It’s job is to provide a padding (to reduce bat sting) and grip (sticky surface minimizes the risk of bat slipping off a player’s hands).
Note about Bat Stings
Bat sting happens when a ball is truck outside the “sweet spot” and it can occur in all types of bats (metal, wood, composite). Because most BBCOR and wood bats (used by 13+ year olds playing on 60×90 big fields) are heavier, bat sting does not occur as frequently as it does for the lighter bats.
Most composite bats will come with 1.1 mm stock wraps where as metal bats (T-ball and BBCOR) come with a thicker 1.8 mm wraps. Wood bats traditionally do not come with any wraps (to provide sticky grip, ball players use pine tar).
Please note that professional baseball players use wood bats with pine tar though some will use thin bat tapes for superior grip and feedback.
Bat Tape Thickness
When it comes to bat grips, there are three thicknesses:
- 1.1 mm
- 1.8 mm
A very thin bat tape, primarily designed for wood bats, though it can be used on composite and metal bats with a large sweet spot. Because the wrap is very thin, it gives most direct feedback from the bat. The downside from such feedback is the bat sting if a ball is struck outside the sweet spot.
A great all-around bat grip with good balance between comfort and feedback, this is the best thickness to use if your player is transitioning from composite to wood bats.
1.7 mm or 1.8 MM
This is the industry standard thickness found on most stock bats (note: Vulcan comes in 1.75 mm). Because of it’s thickness, it is best at reducing the bat sting dreaded by most young baseball and softball players.
If you are replacing a thinner grip with this thickness, make sure that your child practices with new grip installed as it increases the diameter of a bat handle.
Obviously it does increase the diameter of a bat, A very thin bat tape, primarily designed for wood bats, though it can be used on composite and metal bats with a large sweet spot. Because the wrap is very thin, it gives most direct feedback from the bat. The downside from such feedback is the bat sting if a ball is struck outside the sweet spot.
Bat Tape Materials
Most, if not all, grips are made from a polymer (synthetic rubber base) with a combination of anti oxidant such as zinc oxide, a tackifier such as rosin, a thicker and anti-slip material such as flocked silica, a blend of slow and fast evaporating solvents and a defoamer.
Most grips have an open pore surface (some are actual holes an some are micro-mesh) Lizard Skins, which is the largest replacement bat grip maker, uses a moniker “DSP” which is short from “Dura-Soft Polymer”.
What you do not want is any cloth based wraps commonly used in hocky sticks. These are made for the cold environment and they will not last long in hot summer days.
The little known VulkGripz’s tackiness comes from its unique fiber structure which means you can actually remove and reapply it and it provides excellent grip during wet weather use.
Best Bat Tape – VukzGrip
After years of using many bat tape brands, I highly recommend a replacement bat tape from VukGripz.
As stated before, the use of special fiber structure means there are no residue left on the handle after removing the VulkGripz off.
Plus, I like VukGripz even more because their products are Made in USA.
You can buy one from Amazon or directly from VukGripz
Edge-to-Edge vs Overlap Methods
The fiber structure works best on a clean surface, meaning you should NOT install VukGripz on top of old or failing bat grips.
In addition to poor adhesion, the wrap will end up being very bumpy.
The only exception is the small foam layer that is installed under the original factory wrap. Provided that the foam and tape are in good condition, you can install your new VukGripz over the foam layer.
TIP: You can dry fit VukGripz over your bat to get a good feel on how it should be installed. Don’t go nuts because the wrap will not layer evenly with the tape backing still on. It will install smoothly once you take off this backing as you wrap the bat.
- Step 1 – using a sharpie, mark the top end of the wrap (towards the bat head) so that you will have a frame of reference
- Step 1b – carefully remove the worn out grip tape; please note that some bats will have a second foam layer underneath the wrap (to reduce bat sting). I recommend leaving it in place
- Step 2 – use Clorox/Lysol wipes or any residue remover to clean the surface;
- Step 3 – The long taper end goes on the bat first; the angled cut side should face the baseball bat knob, and the tape should be applied left to right; please note that dry fitting VukGripz with adhesive protector on the back will make it appear that VukGripz will not fit well. This is due to the adhesive backend not being flexible. Don’t fret. Your VukGripz will install smoothly once you remove this backing as you install the grip (only remove the backing small sections at a time)