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Re: difference between swinging fast and hard

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Thu Jul 9 11:50:01 2009

>>> I think there is a major difference between swinging the bat hard and swinging the bat fast. There is a fine line and could be the difference between a warning track or less fly out and a HR. My feeling is when you swing "hard" you tense up right at the point of contact and try to "kill the ball". This tightens up your hand/forearm muscles along with your shoulders. It's a proven fact that tight muscles perform slower then relaxed muscles.

When you swing fast you stay as loose as possible and just swing through the ball. I wish I had a bat speed radar to really tell the exact difference when I try to kill the ball versus just swinging as fast as possible. This is a hard habit to kick if you are always trying to kill the ball but it can be kicked.

I read on another forum the analogy of swinging hard vs swinging fast. Place a ping pong ball on a table and make a fist and try to hit it as far as you can. Then take one finger and try to flick it as far as you can. The speed of the flick will move the ping pong ball further then the might of the punch. Short and quick is more powerful then long and hard.

Long swings FEEL powerful and quick but in reality they are slower in both bat speed AND bat quickness.

What do yall think of this?? <<<

Hi Dave

I agree with you that tightening "up your hand/forearm muscles along with your shoulders" to swing harder (or quicker) actually restricts the bat's acceleration. I impress on my students that loose, smooth, ever-accelerating mechanics produces greater bat speed than hard, quick, explosive movements.

The key to remaining loose and smooth while generating greater bat speed is the efficiency of the batter's mechanics that transfers the body's rotational energy to the angular acceleration of the bat. Inefficient mechanics places greater stress on the hand/forearm and shoulder muscles, which produce the tension you describe.

The "ping pong ball" analogy you posed illustrates another important mechanical principle. --- The smaller muscles can quicker accelerate lighter objects whereas heavier objects require the engagement of the larger muscle groups.

I agree that "the flick will move the ping pong ball further then the might of the punch." But what if the ping pong ball was a regulation weight bat? How fast and far would the finger flick it? The same principle applies to swinging the bat. A 4-ounce plastic bat would be quicker swung with the flick of one wrist than two-handed mechanics. But as the weight of the bat increases, the greater the need to engage larger muscle groups.

This mechanical principle explains why a young hitter using linear mechanics may be successful swinging a -11 little league bat but later runs into problems with regulation bats. Linear mechanics relies too much on the smaller muscles of the arms, which become tighter and tenser as the weight of the bat increases. -- Rotational transfer principles relies on engaging the larger muscle groups of the legs and torso.

Jack Mankin


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