Here is a list of a few practical batting tips that you should avoid doing to your bat to keep it from deteriorating fast and to keep you from getting in trouble with your tournament officials: Do not use harsh chemicals to clean your bat. Some players who are not knowledgeable about the proper way of cleaning their bats do harm to them more than good. They use chemicals that are too harsh, particularly for the paint. When cleaning your bats, use minimal amounts of milder chemicals such as glass cleaner, rubbing alcohol and bath and kitchen cleaner. Use a soft sponge at first, and if it does not work, use a coarser one. Be extra careful with the areas around the BBCOR and league stamps so as not to scratch them. When you finish one area, wipe it straight away with a clean and dry towel. Any chemical residue might weaken the paint, or in the case of two-piece bats, seep into the joint. If they are not that important, why not simply leave the scratches and scruff marks and treat them as your “battle scars”? Wear them as badges of honor. Do not knock of dirt from cleats with your bat. Using your baseball bat to tap off dirt from your bat may dent and weaken it. Do not slam your bat to the ground. Doing so looks unprofessional and contributes to the accumulation of dirt. Do not place stickers. Although some leagues may be a bit lenient when it comes to players “decorating” their bats, others are very strict about it. The USSSA, for example, regards any embellishments done on the bats other than what the manufacturers placed originally themselves as “doctoring.” Players found with a doctored bat may receive penalties ranging from as simple as banning the bat to lifetime playing suspension. If you are not sure whether your league allows you to place stickers on your bat, you may ask your officials for verification or just drop the idea entirely. A simple decaled graphic of your favorite cartoon character might actually get you in trouble. Do not paint. For reasons the same as not placing stickers on your bat, painting it for whatever purpose is not a good idea. Your league officials might consider your painted bat doctored too. To understand the reasons behind the rigidity of these rules, it is important to know some facts about how some players cheat during games. League officials want to maintain fairness in all their tournaments. Unlike wood, many non-wood bats have very flexible properties. Manufacturers can make bats that are very light and yet so flexible that hitters are able to generate power way beyond their normal capabilities. Some bats get “hotter” over the course of their continued use too. Non-wood bats’ performance, therefore, has to be controlled so that their users will not gain an unfair advantage over their opponents. Additionally, these controls serve to protect pitchers and infielders from getting hurt by line drives and grounders that are now coming at them much faster and stronger. A part of officials’ measures in strictly regulating and limiting the performance of non-wood baseball bats is the publishing of lists of banned bats which they update annually. Some players, however, still want to use these banned bats. What they do is they paint them over to make them look like legitimate ones. Others paint their bats to add a bit of weight to the barrel, which in turn adds strength to their hits. Do not attempt to remove barrel caps and handle knobs. Any player found with “tampered” bats may be investigated and charged with, again, bat doctoring even if they did not actually do so.