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The most overlooked technique for creating bat speed/power? Does bat speed = power?

Oct 4, 2018
461
43
I have seen some players that have virtually no adjustabllity, but can absolutely crush the ball if they get a hold of it. One girl in particular. DD's high school team faced her when DD was a freshman. The starting pitcher hung a pitch up in the zone that probably still has not hit the ground yet. Probably went 260 or 270 in the air. Late in the game, DD was brought in to pitch. Mix of speeds and movements, and this hitter was essentially helpless. Basically, if the pitcher made a mistake and hit her bat with the ball, it would go a mile. Otherwise, she didn't have a chance.
I was telling my 9 year old DD just last night that the most perfect, most beautiful swing doesn't do any good if you miss the ball. And a really, really bad swing can hit a home run if the bat hits the ball right.


The conversation came up when we watched videos of her swing before professional lessons and laughed at how bad it was. Then she asked "How did I hit a home run with that swing?"
 
Oct 4, 2018
461
43
I've watched a lot of video of my daughter and her teammates hitting and there has to be something to the size of the girl behind the bat. We are in 9u now and most of our girls are on the smaller side with a couple of exceptions. If you watch the smaller girls like my daughter hit, they have good bat speed but the impact stops their bats dead in its tracks. Most of the time it almost looks like a hard slap and the girls seem to hit about the same distance in the air no matter what with an occasional ball really launching. The two bigger, stronger girls always hit further in the air when they make good contact plus they seem to have better extension after contact. They all are using the same bats and last year was machine pitch so the ball speed was the same. This is a very small sample size of course but it seems pertinent to the conversation.
Bigger, stronger people can hit the ball farther makes perfect sense. Right? Assuming other things are equal.
 

pattar

Clueless..
Jun 8, 2016
2,710
83
The role of the player's mass/strength will only effect the ability to generate bat speed. It may appear that the bigger girls are swinging with the same bat speed but if they are hitting the ball further than they are not swinging slower. In my experience bigger girls, especially at the younger ages, don't have as much body movement with their swings so this may contribute to the illusion that they are swinging slower.

With regards to grip, while I have not looked into this extensively since graduate school (I did a project in my vibrations class which was quite similar to this paper: https://baseball.physics.illinois.edu/AJP-Nov2000.pdf, interestingly right around the same time as this paper was published. I also came to the same conclusion as the paper did) my guess regarding the reason grip doesn't matter for balls hit off the sweet spot and it does for balls not hit on the sweet spot is the following.

There are two (main) types of vibration modes in bats, bending modes and hoop modes. Bending modes are beam bending type modes (first elastic mode would look like the shape which would result from clamping a ruler to a table and pushing on the free end of it) while hoop modes are modes which can be thought of as modes which change the diameter of the bat. The hoop modes are the ones responsible for the trampoline effect in aluminum and composite bats. When the bat is hit on the sweet spot, you excite mainly the hoop modes and a bit of the first two bending modes. The resulting waves (from the excitation of the lower bending modes) traveling down the bat have a speed such that the ball is no longer in contact with the bat when the reflected waves, which would be influenced by grip, reach the ball/bat impact point. Hence no effect of grip.

Once you hit it off of the sweet spot, you start to excite higher bending modes which have much higher wave speeds and hence it possible that the reflected waves, which once again are influenced by the hand grip, might be able to reach the bat/ball collision point before the ball has left the bat. In this case the reflected wave would change the ball/bat collision. Also, when you hit it away from the sweet spot the reason you feel vibration in your hand is that the modes (lower and higher) are excited more and hence the feeling in your hands is a consequence of this.

Just a guess, would be interested in hearing from the person who spoke to Dr. Nathan to see if he gave any detail with regards to his findings.
 
Last edited:
Dec 11, 2010
1,976
48
Look at the gif of the guy hitting the HR. (Look mom, no hands!) Check out his flat left wrist. This to me is the easiest and overlooked way to gain bat speed. This works for golf too! The proper free natural unhinging of the bottom hand. Practice throwing bats for distance and spin rate. Grip bat over knob or use old bat and saw off knob. Bottom hand only and then both hands. Flat left wrist both ways. No real need to do top hand only but can be done. Make sure they are not throwing it like a ball. (elbow way in front of hand)
My “Big Bucket O’ Throwin’ Bats” are about to get an overhaul. Rolling, that is a REALLY good idea and good info on how to do it.

Louisville Slugger, I’d like you to meet my little friend from Milwaukee.

There are two (main) types of vibration modes in bats, bending modes and hoop modes. Bending modes are beam bending type modes (first elastic mode would look like the shape which would result from clamping a ruler to a table and pushing on the free end of it) while hoop modes are modes which can be thought of as modes which change the diameter of the bat. The hoop modes are the ones responsible for the trampoline effect in aluminum and composite bats. When the bat is hit on the sweet spot, you excite mainly the hoop modes and a bit of the first two bending modes. The resulting waves traveling down the bat have a speed such that the ball is no longer in contact with the bat when the reflected waves, which would be influenced by grip, reach the ball/bat impact point. Hence no effect of grip.

Once you hit it off of the sweet spot, you start to excite higher bending modes which have much higher wave speeds and hence it possible that the reflected waves
Pattar you need to copyright this stuff, I foresee marketing language like “ALL NEW Demarini Physics Fastpitch Bat. With NEW Hoop Wave Technology” etc.
 
Last edited:

pattar

Clueless..
Jun 8, 2016
2,710
83
My “Big Bucket O’ Throwin’ Bats” are about to get an overhaul. Rolling, that is a REALLY good idea and good info on how to do it.

Louisville Slugger, I’d like you to meet my little friend from Milwaukee.



Pattar you need to copyright this stuff, I foresee marketing language like “ALL NEW Demarini CPh Physics Fastpitch Bat. With NEW Hoop Wave Technology” etc.
Haha..everything in there would be learned in a decent graduate level course in vibrations albeit the example of the physics of a bat/ball collision is not typically discussed. The guys designing bats know this stuff and more I am sure...
 
Apr 11, 2015
353
16
I talked with nathan about this. Grip matters on every contact except for pure sweet spot contact.
Yes, grip does matter...but not in the contact phase of the swing the Nathan was testing, but rather how varying grips on the handle can effect the freedom (or lack there of) of the hands/wrists/forearms, and their ability to positively or negatively "swivel" quickly and completely to generate whatever bat/barrel speed the player is capable of depending on the grip they use.
 

pattar

Clueless..
Jun 8, 2016
2,710
83
Yes, grip does matter...but not in the contact phase of the swing the Nathan was testing, but rather how varying grips on the handle can effect the freedom (or lack there of) of the hands/wrists/forearms, and their ability to positively or negatively "swivel" quickly and completely to generate whatever bat/barrel speed the player is capable of depending on the grip they use.
This is true as well.
 
Apr 11, 2015
353
16
"This is the difference between the big girl swinging a 32 -10 vs a skinny girl swinging a -10. I often see these big girls hitting the ball hard, but the bat speed is no better than the smaller girl. That's because the weight behind that moving bat pushes through the ball once the ball makes contact with the bat, vs the ball pushing through the bat with the liter girl."
"If you watch the smaller girls like my daughter hit, they have good bat speed but the impact stops their bats dead in its tracks. Most of the time it almost looks like a hard slap and the girls seem to hit about the same distance in the air no matter what with an occasional ball really launching. The two bigger, stronger girls always hit further in the air when they make good contact plus they seem to have better extension after contact."
I'm curious if the the physical data actually supports these statements, or if the "bigger, stronger girls" swinging the same sized bats as the "skinny" girls...are actually able to generate more bat speed as seems common sense would tell us...that only appears to be the same or "no better than the smaller girl(s)" when viewing them comparatively with the naked eye?
 
Apr 16, 2013
659
28
I'm not a guy with real physics knowledge, but I think it comes back to my analogy of a wall of bricks vs stacked bricks. As the other poster mentioned, the bigger girls' bats continue thru the ball, whereas the smaller girls' bats nearly stop when contact is made. The larger girl is still delivering some of her mass behind that bat to keep the bat moving thru the incoming energy of the ball, thus delivering more kinetic energy. The bigger girl can't move the bat any faster than the smaller girl, her bat simply has more "push" behind it.
 
Jun 17, 2009
15,129
0
Portland, OR
Let's say that momentum of an object could be described as "Mass x Velocity".

Let's also believe that the 'principle of conservation of momentum'.

If object-1 has a momentum of M1xV1, and it transfers its momentum to object-2, then object-2 will have a momentum of M2xV2 that is equal to M1xV1. If M2=M1, then V2=V1 ... but if M2 is less than M1, then V2 will be greater than V1 (in order for M1xV1 to be equal to M2xV2).

Assume that the bat being swung by HeavyGirl has roughly the same mass as the bat being swung by LightGirl. HeavyGirl may appear to be moving slower than LightGirl, but her momentum may actually be greater ... simply because she has more mass ... and since they will both transfer momentum to a barrel of the same mass, it comes down to which hitter had more momentum to transfer to the barrel.

Collect some measurements ... it may be that a swing that appears slow, and is sending the ball deep, actually has respectable barrel speed.
 

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