This Instructable displays three ways to put athletic tape on a baseball bat. They are used solely based on personal preference and all three are interchangeable.
This process requires no prior skill or any special tools to use, although scissors or a sharp knife may be helpful.
These are the methods I use and are used by players across America. Professional players from Prince Fielder to David Ortiz have been using these designs to improve their grip on the bat to optimize their performance. This tape removes the need for pine tar and makes keeping a grip easy.
The sticky residue that comes with relying on a stick of pine tar can become too wet to be useful, or as hard as a rock and utterly pointless depending on the weather. With just 20-30 minutes, adding these designs to your bats will create a grip that will last. This Instructable includes the Straight Wrap, the Crosshatch, and the the High Ridge
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Step 1: Materials
The only materials needed for this project are:
Wooden Baseball Bat
Athletic Tape (any color)
Both the bat and the tape can be found at any sporting goods store or online. Most athletic tape is very similar across brands, and the brand of baseball bat does not matter. All of these methods will work across any bat.
Step 2: Method 1- the Straight Wrap
This method is a simple and straightforward wrap that is the basis for many other styles of bat wraps. Although basic, it is the favorite of many because of its purely functional design that improves grip strength without any added designs or aesthetics.
This design is the most common, and it has been used for years by players all over the country.
Step 3: The Base (Method 1)
The First wrap of the tape around the bat should be completely horizontal and flush with the butt of the bat as shown above.
Throughout the wrap, although it is preferred that the tape remain in one piece, having multiple pieces is fine and will hardly affect the final wrap. If you make a mistake just cut the strip of tape and start a new one where you left off.
Step 4: Beginning Downward (Method 1)
As you come around the bat again you will need to begin to move down towards the barrel of the bat. Using the same strip of tape, begin to angle downward so the tape overlaps itself. Make sure you do not leave space between layers of tape and by the time you finish that wrap around the bat you should have only about half of the top layer exposed.
Again if you do this in 2 steps it isn't a big deal, but the tape may begin to fray after extensive use.
Step 5: Continue Wrapping Downward (Method 1)
Continue this spiral for downwards for at least 2 1/2 hand widths. The tape should not continue onto the barrel of the bat but can be carried downwards to the length you prefer. When you finish slowly spiraling the tape around the bat you should have something similar to the image above. Go slowly when wrapping and do your best to cover about 50% of the previous layer, so the tape is consistently overlapping.
Step 6: Cover the End (Method 1)
Now your bat will probably look something like the top picture. In order to clean up the look of the tape and ensure the tape will not begin to peel off cut the strip of tape you were using and wrap a new horizontal strip around the end of the tape. It should cover the last piece of tape that is sticking out and create a flat ending point that looks like the bottom picture.
With this final addition you have completed this simple, yet highly effective method of taping a bat that can never go wrong.
Step 7: Method 2- the Crosshatch
This method is extremely similar to the first, but is different aesthetically and tends to go faster than the other two methods. Although this will not provide you with the same grip that the 1st method would, it is still efficient to use. Some use this method because it appeals to them aesthetically, but it is also a great method for taping when in a rush.
I, personally, once broke a bat in the middle of a game and had to tape a backup while on the bench. With this method I did it in 10 minutes and had it completed before my next at bat.
Step 8: First Ring (Method 2)
This design will require 4 and only 4 pieces of tape. If a piece of tape rips you will have to restart that strip because this design tends to be less sturdy than others and is more prone to fraying and peeling if torn. If the integrity of each piece is maintained, however, this method will be as sturdy as any other.
For the first piece of tape you will begin spiraling downward immediately at a steep slope so that each wrap around the bat should have about 1/2 in of wood showing between layers of tape. This is shown in the pictures above.
Step 9: The Opposite Wrap (Method 2)
Now repeat the previous step spiraling in the opposite direction. If this is done properly the two ends of tape should meet at the bottom as is shown above. The pattern of exposed wood will resemble diamonds.
Step 10: Final Wrap (Method 2)
The last thing you will need to do is cover the ends of the tape. Similarly to the first method you will take a separate piece of tape and wrap it around the bottom to cover the two ends of the tape. Also do this at the butt of the bat in order to protect the ends of the tape that your hand will constantly rub against. With these final two support strips, you are finished with this method of bat tape.
Step 11: Method 3 - High Ridge Wrap
This wrap is the most complicated of the 3 wraps and takes the longest to complete. It uses a strip of taped that has been rolled up to create ridges under what would otherwise be the standard wrap. Although this design takes the longest, it adds extra ergonomic grip for those who want it.
Step 12: Make the Coil (Method 3)
For this step you will need to cut a strip of tape almost as long as the bat itself. When you wrap this, there will be some extra length that you will cut.
Twist your length of tape until it is coiled as seen above. Make sure it stays coiled throughout the rest of the process as is seen above.
Step 13: Wrap the Ridge (Method 3)
In this step you will wrap the coiled tape around the bat. Because the tape will no longer stick to the wood when coiled, you will need to begin with a horizontal piece of tape that covers the coiled tap at the butt of the bat.
Once you have the butt end of the tape secured, wrap the coil around the bat for about 2 1/2 hand lengths. Make the coils fit comfortably within your hand, and tape over the coil with a horizontal strip as is shown on the bottom picture. Cut the extra length of coil that is below the horizontal strip of tape.
Step 14: Cover the Coil (Method 3)
With this step you will wrap over the coil in the exact same style as the first method.
Begin with a horizontal wrap and then start to move downward. Because of the ridges, the tape will tend to separate, so make sure to maintain the overlapping structure of the tape wrap. Finish with a horizontal wrap of tape to cover the end of the wrapping just as in the first method.
Step 15: Conclusion
With these three methods you now have the ability to tape a bat for whatever your preferences are. These styles can be combined and altered to make countless other tape designs. Whether you are a player looking for a new way of handling your bats, or a parent looking into taping bats for your child, the process of taping a bat is something that is better done on your own than by another.
Because every person's taping style is different, there is alway advantage to doing this yourself. I tape all of my own bats and strongly and the comfort and confidence that comes with it is irreplaceable.