Yesterday we put these new trainers from in our Smash Factor Cage!
Looking at Swing Variability training from a Motor learning perspective.
First, let's talk about bat to ball collision
The difference in a line drive, pop up, or ground ball based upon how the ball is contacted is fractions of an inch. Given the speed of the pitch, speed of the bat, timing of the swing, angle of attack, descent angle of the pitch and all the other infinite factors that go into the single collision of a baseball it is IMPOSSIBLE to know what created a mis hit pop up or ground ball. Regardless of what your favorite online guru claims to know, they have no idea why you swung inaccurately by a couple Centimeters on this 1 pitch
Hitting is hard, & it just can't be deduced down to "just do this, or just do that" in regards to movement
So how do we understand principles of variability in training?
Maybe you're familiar with Nikolai Bernstein & his study of blacksmiths
If you are, hold tight, I'll get to the point.
The blacksmith picture and Bernstein’s work regarding the Degrees of Freedom Problem led to the understanding that there is movement variability in the normal variations that occur in motor performance across multiple repetitions of a task. If a person tries to repeat the same movement twice, the two actions will never be identical because each repetition involves a unique motor pattern. Bernstein termed this “repetition without repetition.”
Bernstein wrote that an improvement in motor skill comes from establishing the pathway for achieving the needed goal (or the motor pattern), which is resistant to possible fluctuations under the influence of environmental conditions
Establishing a motor pattern occurs through the assimilation of the motor task’s essential parameters (motor determinants) with the gradual adaption of its nonessential parameters to the environmental conditions. “The organism tries to realize the essential variables by completely overcoming any difficulties and influences from the environment; as for the parameters of nonessential variables, the organism, on the contrary, is yieldingly adaptable.”
Back to weighted bats & hitting?
Given this understanding of movement variability & that no two swings require the same solution by changing the weight, balance, length, barrel diameter of the bat We are creating opportunities for hitters to create feel for producing optimal batted balls without directly cuing or instructing them on how to do it.
Hopefully, arming them with a multitude of swing solutions & adaptations that will emerge in the game when it matters the most
Why do I spend so much money on training bats and tools that challenge hitters swing variability?
Because it's a MASSIVELY important training principle that just can't be ignored
Thanks to the guys at the Great Lakes Bat Company for such awesome training tools