Thursday, November 7, 2019

What is Bat Speed for Softball Hitters

Many people refer to the velocity metrics that are measured by Miles Per Hour of the bat swing as Bat Speed but, to be consistent I call this Bat Velocity.  Blast Technology refers to the metrics that are measured by split seconds as Time to Contact.  I refer to this metric as Bat Speed. Again, for consistency purposes.

This is a relatively new technology where we have the ability to determine how fast the bat is moving in miles per hour and in split seconds.  I use Blast Technology for my testing.  It is a small device that connects to the knob of the bat and will determine many metrics of which one of them is Bat Speed.

One of the amazing things you will notice immediately is how quick the bat actually moves in the swing.  Even young hitters are recording swings that are less than .20 of a second.  Think about this.  A 10-year-old hitter can swing a bat in 2 tenths of a second. I have had some hitters at .14 seconds.  This is really amazing to me.

I am not great in determining how quickly the ball is getting from the pitcher to the plate but I understand it is about .40 of a second for youth pitchers around 14 years old.  So, the hitter that has a bat speed of .20 seconds will need to determine if the pitch is a strike or not by halfway to the plate before she swings.

I don't want to bore you with all the math.  However, the bottom line is that we are dealing with micro-seconds.  The difference between good bat speed and great bat speed can be as little as .04 seconds.

Why is this important?

The most important aspect of Bat Speed is where the quicker we are the later we can wait before we make a decision if we are going to swing or not.  Bat speed is the main factor in our ability to swing at quality pitches and not swing at bat pitches.

You may have heard of phrases as, "staying inside the ball", "quick bat", "leading with the hands".  If you have these are all aspects of improving bat speed or creating a short swing.  We have been teaching this concept for many years and now we can measure it pretty accurately.  It is a great tool.

How do we improve Bat Speed?

Obviously, improving our swing mechanics is really very important to improve Bat Speed.  This is the first area I will attack as an instructor.  A great swing with great hand path and barrel path is critical in improving bat speed.  I will do this by just watching the hitter swing, blast technology, and video analytics.  I will tell you also, you do not improve bat speed by swinging harder.  This typically will actually slow down the swing as it will make it a longer swing.

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