Friday, October 26, 2018

The Difference Between Bat Speed and Bat Velocity

It is crazy how the diamond sports world of softball and baseball is falling in love with metrics.  There is exit velocity, spin rate, launch many metrics.  Let me say two things about metrics.  I also love them for one.  They tell me a lot about the hitter but there are many components that go into the ability to be a very good hitter that can't be measured.  Always has been and always will.

With this said, let's talk about two metrics that we now have the ability to measure and are very important to the success of a hitter.  Bat Speed and Bat Velocity.  First a general definition of each:

Bat Velocity:   Many call this bat speed.  I like to refer to it as bat velocity since it is measured in miles per hour.  That is it.  It is how fast the bat moves through the hitting zone from the launch position to the contact point.

Bat Speed:  This is how quickly the bat moves to the contact point and is measured in seconds, well, in split seconds.

When measuring moving objects that are traveling the exact same distance both will be the same but in hitting, the distance the bat is traveling is not the same.  One swing can be longer than the other, so knowledge of both are important but understanding the difference is equally important.

Not until recently, could we accurately test our hitters in these two areas but now there is very effective technology available.  We, at the National Diamond Academy, use Blast Technology to test these two metrics as well as other metrics.

We conduct the testing by placing the device on the bat and the hitter hits 10-12 swings ball off the batting tee.   We record the top velocity and speed in our Diamond Directory.

Bat velocity has a direct relationship to power potential.  The faster the bat moves, in MPH, the higher potential for the hitter to generate power.  As important as this is, it doesn't help if the hitter doesn't make quality contact.  "Middle of the ball with the middle of the bat".  

The phrase we use is "knowledge of the strike zone" but it is really more like the application of this knowledge.  Most of us "know" what the strike zone is, but knowing YOUR strike zone and then applying this knowledge as to how you approach the at-bat.  This is fact, this may be IT.  

A hitter can have an amazing swing and crazy physical skills but if she swings at pitches that is not in HER strike zone, she just simply will not succeed.  We can talk about this topic all day and, well, we will but now we are talking about bat speed and velocity.

Bat speed is the tool in which it allows you to wait as long as you can before you decide to swing or not.  The quicker your bat speed is, in terms of split seconds, the longer you can wait and hit YOUR pitch.  Simple concept but takes a lot of work to develop.  Bat speed is improved through a shorter swing but the bat velocity is also very important.  It is a balance of both.  This is one of my main focuses as a hitting instructor. 

Important note about bat speed.  The beginning of the bat speed is when the bat begins its forward path.  Bat speed does not include the load and the load can be a long time in terms of split seconds.  A lot of hitters are LATE because they have a late or long load.  Again, this is another topic for another day.

So, bat speed and bat velocity are very related but there are some differences.  To be a high-quality hitter that generates production at the plate, both are needed.  (Unless you are just a pure speed player/slap hitter then bat speed is much more important than bat velocity)

A topic for another day?  Yeap.  

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