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Re: Arm and hand strength

Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Sun Nov 25 01:00:23 2001


>>> I'm just curious: from what I gather from your information and Jack's tape, the key to batspeed is rooted in the hips. You seem to be saying that strong hands and arms are almost irelevant. For example, if you have two hitters with identical mechanics (upper and lower body), identical lower body size, lower body strength, etc, but if one hitter has stronger hands & arms, you seem to be saying that the one with the stonger hands and arms will NOT have an advantage. Do I understand you correctly? Thank you <<<

Jack Mankin's reply:

Hi Batman:

First let me say that obviously having strong well-toned muscles is an asset in any athletic activity. But, for the baseball/softball swing, having stronger arms and hands is much more important when using linear mechanics than it is with the rotational hitter. As we have discussed many times, linear mechanics rely far more on the hands and arms to bring the bat-head to contact.

With rotational mechanics, the hands and arms (especially the lead-arm) serve mainly as linkage to transfer the body’s rotation into bat-head rotation. The function of the lead-arm in transferring shoulder rotation into bat-head speed is similar to the function of the string when swinging a ‘ball on a string’ in a circle. The lead-arm and the string are not major factors in generating the energy, their function is mainly to transfer the energy from the source of rotation to the ball or bat-head. Therefore, having a stronger arm or using a heavier rope would have limited impact on the speed derived.

The muscles in the back-arm do play a more important role in supplying energy during the swing. Unlike the lead-arm, the back-arm is not straight as the swing progresses. It flexes and supplies the pulling action for top-hand-torque during initiation and maintaining the “L” position to contact. But the effectiveness of this mechanic is more dependent on timing and rhythm than on arm strength.

So yes, Batman, I would contend that shoulder rotation and efficient transfer mechanics has a greater impact on increasing bat speed than stronger arms and hands. But at the same time I would agree that a bigger stronger batter using the same mechanics could supply more energy and would therefore develop greater bat speed. --- I recommend not gripping the bat too tight, just tight enough to keep it from flying free. Your question seems to indicate that you feel strong hands play a bigger role in generating power – please explain.

Jack Mankin


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