Re: Jack: Speed Gains

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Mon Mar 10 01:08:29 2003

>>> According to Phil Cheetham, our founder and one of the country's leading biomechanical engineers, our findings show a direct relationship to the controlled increase in speed efficiently through each segment, ultimately impacting bat speed.

If the speed gain from the hips to the upper torso is in the correct range (not too high or low), there is an expectation of speed gain from the uppertoso to the arms and the arms to the bat.

For example if I get a speed gain of 200 degrees per second (dps) from my hips to my upper toso, I would expect to get a similar gain, 200 dps from my upper torso to my arms. I would then expect a large gain from my arms to my bat (800 dps or more). But if I release a large amount of energy during either or those first two segments, that energy cannot be transferred to my bat.

Example: I gain 300 dps from hips to uppertorso, and gain 300 dps from my uppertorso to arms, I may only gain 450 dps from my arms to my bat, resulting in a lower bat speed. That loss is only 150 dps. But 150 dps is approximately 10% of the athlete's pre-contact bat speed.

Equally important to the acceleration of the segments is the deceleration of each segment at the appropriate time. If I cannot decelerate each segment effectively, I will allow that segment to reach a higher speed. In essence, we would call this a power leak.

The athlete with this power leak will appear to the naked eye to have a pretty fast and effective swing. But in our findings that athlete could be better if the athlete learned to control their body and the release of energy from one segment to the next at the right time.

Your best contact hitters (Tony Gwynn and others) would be efficient decelerators, not accelerators. It is their use of deceleration that allows them to reach high speed gains and make adjustments to the pitch they are thrown.

I spoke with Pat Murphy before the Holidays as we were getting ready to analyze some of his players and he said, "I wonder if it's bat speed or stability at contact the is more important to a hitter?" My response, "Stability." To which he replied, "I would agree. Sometimes I see my guys at the plate with one foot in the box and ready to go, while the other foot is getting ready to bail out. I keep telling them to just dig in and stand your ground, focing them to be more stable."

Jack, if an athlete has generated a significant amount of bat speed but cannot decelerate effectively, they will not be able to maximize that speed. In essence, they will have sacrificed control for the "appearance" of speed.

In our findings, it is not just the raw bat speed but the acceleration/deceleration of the bat and each segment before it, and when the bat reaches maximum speed during the forward swing that are important.

Most of the athletes we have tested had a significantly higher bat speed shortly after contact. This was related to the wrist roll, which occurred after the bat reached an initial peak in bat speed at an angle of between 30 and 45 degrees before contact. At this point the force which generated the first peak in speed is no longer acting on the bat to carry it through the hitting zone. (Power was lost through earlier leaks). The athlete must now try to impart more force to the bat to get it moving again. At this point, it can only be done by rolling the wrists, prematurely.

Typically, when an athlete reaches bat speed early, it forces a side bend to the trailing side. Remember, athletes stand in such a way that will allow them to remain in a good athletic position throughout their swing. This athletic position can only be maintained if the maximum amount of speed to the bat is released at the point (or just after) the bat makes contact with the ball. So if you see an athlete with excessive lean early or late in their swing, that is probably the point where the bat reaches a large peak in speed and as a result was at its heaviest weight.

There are many devices out there, which I am sure you are aware of that allow an athlete or coach to measure bat speed at a given point (typically in MPH). But nothing that allows you to measure the acceleration and deceleration of the bat and body (in degrees per second), except our technology. That is why I am trying to get the message out there to you and to others that we need to take a much closer look at what happens with the body and the segmental speed gains on the way to the bat.

Thank you for your question. I hope this answer is sufficient for you and others.

Zig Ziegler >>>

Hi Zig

If I read your post correctly, much of your findings correspond to batting principles this site has advocated for some time. -- You stated; "Equally important to the acceleration of the segments is the deceleration of each segment at the appropriate time. If I cannot decelerate each segment effectively, I will allow that segment to reach a higher speed. In essence, we would call this a power leak."

"This site has long maintained that just getting the body to rotate faster does not necessarily equate to greater bat speed. To convert body rotation into bat speed requires efficient transfer mechanics. "Of what use is a 1000 HP engine, if the transmission slips?" --- Note: when the transmission slips, resistance to engine rotation drops and the tack will red-line in a hurry.

Efficient transfer mechanics produce the dynamic load (exponential resistant factor) that causes the "deceleration" of segments you mentioned. Poor transfer mechanics offers a much-reduced resistance (load or work done) to segment rotation and therefore, covert less rotation energy into bat speed. A good example of this would be to compare a straight hand-path with extension to a circular hand-path with the "hook" at contact. --- A straight hand-path causes the bat-head to just slide over and trail behind the knob for a good portion of the swing (excuse me - with linear mechanics it might be more accurate to call it "the thrust" than "the swing"). Accelerating a bat linearly offers a "low load" to both rotation and hand acceleration, so the batter exhibits "quick hands" but generates little angular displacement of the bat-head until late in the swing. And as you pointed out, much of the bat speed generated occurs well after passing the optimum contact point.

Hands that are propelled into a circular path cause the bat-head to first arc back toward the catcher. Generating this early angular bat-head displacement produces a higher load (more work done) to rotation which transfers more of the body's rotational energy into bat speed. The load offered to rotation approaches maximum as the hand-path "hooks" back approaching contact. -- We refer the cause of "deceleration" of segments as, "sucking the energy out of the system." --- Adding THT to the CHP increases the rotational load even more.

Jack Mankin

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