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Testing the "Crack of The Whip" Theory

Dedicated coaches and players spend countless hours in batting practice to perfect their batting performance. But regardless of how dedicated they may be or how hard they work, a hitter can never reach his or her potential while practicing with inefficient swing mechanics. For decades, batting coaches have taught batting mechanics based on a linear weight-shift and extension theory.

The problem with the linear weight shift and extension mechanics is that this is based on a flawed analogy of "whip action."

It has been a well-accepted "truism" by many batting coaches that the energy developed for the baseball swing is transferred to the bat in a "crack of a whip" type of analogy. Although it has been described in various forms, "The Physics of Baseball" by Robert K. Adair presents the general idea of the whip effect, as follows:

 As the swing begins, the batter strides forward transferring his weight from his back leg to a stiff front leg. As the hands accelerate, the force from the reaction of the bat, transmitted through the hands and arms, slows down the body's forward motion and rotation. As the body slows, the hands that had been accelerated to approximately 15 MPH, also slows to a near stop. The body's kinetic energy is then transferred to the bat as forces uncocks the wrist. During this time (as the hands slows and wrist uncock) the kinetic energy that was stored in the body is transferred to bat. This kinetic energy transfer accelerates the bat head from about 40 to 70+ MPH.

Many batting coaches have based their teaching on the belief that bat speed is developed from a forward weight shift and an "A to B" extension of the hands (or "knob first"). They believe that, as outlined above by Mr. Adair, as the hands slow, there is a transfer of energy (or momentum) from a "crack of the whip" type effect that accelerates the bat-head - like popping a towel.

However, lab tests prove that there is no whip, flailing or pendulum effect of the bat-head generated from a forward weight shift and straight extension of the hands.

The primary reason that there is no whip effect of the bat is because a bat is a ridged object that cannot uncoil like a whip or towel -- it must swing around the hands like a pendulum. For the body's rotational energy to be transferred into bat-head acceleration (pendulum effect), the batter's mechanics must propel the hands into a circular hand-path (CHP).

The video below demonstrates the flawed whip effect
with our new "Pathfinder" Rotational Training Bat.

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