In this blog we will look at the effect that grip size under the bottom hand impacts Speed Efficiency and Barrel accuracy,
Several years agoI heard I heard Driveline director of hitting Jason Ochart,
say that a good hand speed to bat speed ratio from a bat sensor was 3/1 meaning if my hand speed was 20mph then an efficient bat speed would be 60mph. Since I respected Jason so much I figured if he said it, I should start paying more attention to this in our facility.
Early on I couldn't, for the life of me, understand why players were so different.
What was the difference in what they were doing?
That's when the lead wrist sensor from Hack Motion, @hackmotion_bsbl, came out.
If you aren't familiar with Hack Motion, it is a wrist sensor that measures the angles of your lead wrist in your swing.
Like most things, I thought "what the heck I'll give it a shot"
Admittedly, I had no idea what I was looking for but one of the things that started to jump out was our guys who were 3/1 in hand speed/bat speed also had much less transition from wrist extension to flexion
In their swings. If you aren't familiar with flexion/extension in the wrist see the graphic below.
All hitters arrive at flexion at impact. It's just one of those things that just happens, but the ones
that transferred speed most efficiently from their chest,
through their lead arm, through their wrist and ultimately into their bats had far less degrees of transfer from extension to flexion in their wrist than ones who did not.
Example: A player that sets up with a lot of wrist extension, call it -21 degrees, arrives at impact with
+20 degrees of flexion for a 41 degree change in lead wrist angle. In all likelihood this player isn't producing as efficient of speed as a player who sets up with 0 degrees (neutral) wrist extension and transfers to +20 degrees of flexion. For only a 20 degree change in the angle of the lead wrist and much more likely to transfer speed efficiently into the barrel.
From a barrel accuracy perspective, which player do you think is more likely to "lose the barrel" in the middle of their swing? If you guessed the one with greater degrees in lead wrist transition you'd be right.
Now, back to my son's bat. After realizing this might be something my brain immediately goes to, "what ways can we change the way the player interacts in the hitting environment to create better efficiency??"
Yep my man Mark Spencer. @TheDataCage, from the golf world (former Nike Golf Club Fitter) is always on the cutting edge with how equipment can create efficient transfer of energy.
I found for players that had a lot of lead wrist extension in their set up, that instead of cuing them to "zero out" or get their wrist more neutral in their setup a more ecological way to do that is just really beef up (add more thickness) the bottom hand grip size in their bat like Bonds in the day.
It was extremely difficult for them to Jack their wrist into extension in their setup with a very oversized bottom hand grip thus making wrist angle transition less and their speed transfer more efficient and the likelihood that they dump/lose the barrel in the middle of their swing less.
We talk about eliminating unnecessary variables in hitters often but rarely if ever is the lead wrist link in the chain discussed. We are seeing more and more golfers eliminating wrist extension in their swing for one less variable to time up at impact. DJ started it, and your seeing guys like Speith now.
Give it a shot, it may help you find more exit velocity and more barrels!
If you just can't use an oversized bottom hand grip on your gamer, add "fat grip" bat variations into you training bat buffet.