Re: Jack, this site is great, but.....
>>> I really enjoy the knowledge that I gained from this site. If I was teaching baseball, I would follow it to the tee. However, I play slo-pitch softball. In my sport, the BATTER must generate the majority of the power for the swing. A 95 mph pitch helps baseball people generate their power, but I don't have that luxury. Batspeed is crucial for all of us. In slo-pitch, it takes alot more force to MAINTAIN (or accelerate) batspeed thru contact due to the fact that the ball is heavier and moving slower. Jack, I have tried everything that your site suggest, however, I still achieve success more consistently when I utilize full lead-arm extension back into my launching position, induce the swing with hips opening, allowing the front-side to pull (stretch out) the torso, shoulders, arms, and hands around in a maximum-lengthed, arced hand-path until just before contact. At that point, I extend both arms straight out forward (cutting off the rotating hand-path), which creates much greater angular displacement when my hands torque around a fixed, extended point. To try to disprove this point in defense of your site, I stuck a pencil through the hole in the handle of a flyswatter. I rotated it around similiar to a hemi-helicopter blade. When I maintained a circular path with it, the batspeed was marginal. In the other experiment, I started it about in a circular path, extended it in a straighter path (but not completely straight), then stopped it. Once its forward path was stopped, the insuing angular displacement was tremedous as it accelerated around that fixed-point. Remember, no torque was applied due to the fact that it was rotating around a pencil. Try it yourself. The circular hand-path could not match the angular displacement. Jack, please feel free to call me @ 517-201-0581. Im really interested in proving that in fact your site is the superior way to swing. Sincerely, DC
DC, I think it is great that you did some experimenting on your own, but, --- I also think you drew some wrong conclusions from those tests. Hitting a baseball hard requires bat speed just as much as hitting a softball. I would bet the mechanics used by McGwire and Sosa can develop as much bat speed as a good slow-pitch hitter and their mechanics certainly do not match the mechanics you are describing.
I would agree with you that a circular hand-path with a constant radius to contact does not produce the maximum bat speed. But, neither does the “ straightening out and stopping” of the hand-path you described. – (1) There is no gain to angular displacement of the bat derived from the straight areas of the hand-path. (2) The conservation of angular momentum is what maintains angular displacement once the hand-path stops. Note that “the conservation of angular momentum” tends to keep angular velocity constant, it does not multiply it. So, whatever bat speed was attained before the hands stop will be “maintained” not “accelerated” as you stated -- . “Once its forward path was stopped, the ensuing angular displacement was tremendous as it accelerated around that fixed-point.”
DC, there is a hand-path that will generate an angular displacement similar to what you describe. That path would have it’s arc radius greatly reducing as the path approaches the contact zone. I think Paul Nyman’s description best fits that hand-path. Paul describes the path as the “fishhook on the end.” As the arc radius reduces in the fishhook, the angular displacement of the hands and bat-head are greatly increased.
A key to generating good bat speed is for the batter’s mechanics to produce the fishhook effect before and as the bat approaches contact. Extending the arms produces a sweeping (or longer) hand-path through contact. Any fishhook effect would occur after the bat passes through the contact zone. --- The mechanics that generate the fishhook at the most opportune time is the same for both the softball and baseball swings. It occurs when the batter has full shoulder rotation and the lead shoulder is pulling the lead arm (and hand) back toward the catcher at contact.
DC, you cannot get the lead arm to be pulling back toward the catcher as you extend both hands forward. You will need to have the back elbow near your side as the shoulders finish rotation. The lead arm will remain fairly straight during the swing. That position not only produces the fishhook, it also applies a lot of torque to the bat.
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