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  • Bat speed

    Most agree bat speed is the critical issue in hitting, and presumably most of this comes with form, but some of it depends on the physical strength of the hitter and his bat's weight and length.

    How would I measure bat speed for my 10u son, mostly for the purpose of figuring out what bat he should use given that F=MA, but also to see if his form is off or if he is tired? Is there a device for this? Should I just guestimate and compare at bats using my Flip camera?

    And more importantly, should I measure his bat speed? The consensus here and elsewhere is that I should not get a speed gun for his pitches because that puts too much pressure on a kid to pitch for speed and ultimately he loses both speed and accuracy.

    Obviously the "accuracy" issue has less significance for hitting than pitching, but the related concept of having him try to swing harder for more speed for measuring may throw off his timing and the location of his bat particularly against the meatball pitching he sees in his leagues, and may effect situational play like defending the plate with two strikes.

    Thanks.

  • #2
    http://www.swingspeedradar.com/swingspeedradar.html

    however I would question measuring batspeed at 10U. just tell him to swing hard so that he hears the "swoosh" sound. swinging hard is important but I see no reason to gun 10U players. 10U ball is (or should be) rec ball. sound fundamentals and having fun is most important.

    I would say 12U is early enough to start playing competitively and measure things (throwing distance, running speed...)
    I now have my own non commercial blog about training for batspeed and power using my training experience in baseball and track and field.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by rodk View Post
      The consensus here and elsewhere is that I should not get a speed gun for his pitches because that puts too much pressure on a kid to pitch for speed and ultimately he loses both speed and accuracy.
      If there's one thing I learned, it's that the 'consensus' is usually wrong in baseball. Let your common sense guide you.

      I gunned my son (and his teammates) from 11 up. After they asked me what their speed was the first couple of times in the first practice, they ignored me. How do know if you're improving without measuring?

      Most instructors don't like to use a gun, because they don't want to be measured. Once you find out that Little Johnny isn't getting faster (pitching or hitting), then you will stop paying him/her $50 per hour. I have 5-6 dad friends that were impressed by former pro pitcher instructors for years, and their kids aren't fast enough to start.

      Having said all that, you don't really have to buy a gun to measure bat speed. You can just look at distance. Do some hitting on a real field (tee or toss). Even go to a smaller field and let him hit a few 'bombs' over the fence for fun.

      Also, if he's hitting behind an L screen, make sure he hits it just over the screen, not into it. This ensures that he's using a (roughly 30 degree) swing plane that allows the ball to leave the infield.

      As far as pitching, my son and I had fun trying out different techniques that we read about. We would try something, and I would gun him for 5-10 pitches to see if it helped. We tried different grips, arm motions, leg kicks, leg motions, stride length, etc.
      Last edited by songtitle; 05-09-2012, 08:44 AM.
      efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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      • #4
        I have a "glove radar" that I got used off of ebay pretty cheaply and it seems to measure bat speed correctly as well. It's made by the same people as the swing speed radar, but you have to push a button before each speed reading.

        But it's hard (for me at least) to really understand what to do with a bat speed number.

        For example, my son has two bats of the same length: one a -12, and the other a -6. Suppose his bat speed is 20% less with the -6 bat -- which bat will hit the ball farther? Will the heavier bat be harder to make contact with?

        Even if you knew all the factors: bat moment of inertia, weight, center of gravity, length, coefficient of restitution, etc, it would be hard to know the right answer. The math is complicated.

        The Swing Speed people say to try out a number of bats and then go with the heaviest one you can still swing at, or close to, your maximum swing speed. Makes sense... but does it work?

        Finally, pursuing higher bat speed (in mph) could actually result in a slower swing (# of frames from commitment to contact). If it weren't for this paradox, all the hitting debate could be settled with a radar gun. Of course, the slowpitch softballer's swing is an example of bat speed above all else, but it's probably not ideal for your kid.
        Last edited by bbrages; 05-09-2012, 09:24 AM.

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        • #5
          What makes hitting such a difficult skill is that the goal is to maximize bat speed, while at the same time maximize the ability to adjust to pitch location, speed, and movement. Unfortunately these two goals are in conflict.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by azmatsfan View Post
            Unfortunately these two goals are in conflict.
            I see this written frequently, but is it true?

            Is it easier to adjust if you are in the middle of swinging slowly?

            Or isn't it easier to adjust if you wait longer to begin your faster swing?

            Don't fear bat speed.
            efastball.com - hitting and pitching fact checker

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            • #7
              I would be more concerned with proper swing mechanics than bat speed. Overswinging for bat speed doesn't help the hitter. If your son is hitting well his bat speed is fine.

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