We apply results of 3D motion analysis & the science of biomechanics to the baseball swing.
The baseball swing is a kinetic chain. The concept of the kinetic chain was first applied to human movement in 1955 by Dr. Arthur Steindler! He defined it as a "combination of several successively arranged joints constituting a complex motor unit." He also wrote the first comprehensive text on human movement. (National Center for Biotechnology Information)
Movements that are out of sequence are inefficient. Inefficiency robs the hitter of power and consistency.
In baseball, the kinetic chain starts in the feet with movement flowing upward through the body segments until it reaches the hand. In other words, everything should move from the ground-up. (Diamond Kinetics, May 9, 2014)
Don't take our word for it! The information we use has been available since at least 1979, but largely ignored by baseball traditionalists.
A few scholarly articles addressing the biomechanic concepts involved in the swing:
- Robert Shapiro, University of Kentucky, "Three-Dimensional Kinetic Analysis of the Baseball Swing" (1979)
- Christian Welch, et al, Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, "Hitting a Baseball: A Biomechanical Description" (1995)
- Fortenbaugh, David, University of Miami, "The Biomechanics of the Baseball Swing" (2011)
We use several tools to measure swing data & track the improvement of our hitters on a regular basis.
1. Easton Power Sensor
The Blast Sensor is used to measure metrics that indicate how efficient and powerful the swing is. We can assess swing speed, time to contact, bat path, bat whip, and more. The results are then used to calculate swing efficiency, power index, and energy transfer. Tracking these numbers, which are all products of efficient and productive swing mechanics, allows us to track the progress our hitters make.
2. Diamond Kinetics Swingtracker
The Swingtracker is an inertial sensor used to measure swing metrics similar to the Blast Sensor, except that it measures a couple different metrics. The unique data we like to track using this sensor are hand cast distance and forward barrel speed.
3. Kinovea Motion Analysis Software
There are many motion analysis software programs on the market, but we chose Kinovea because it is easy to use, allows side-by-side comparisons, and allows us to actually measure distances and angles within the swing. Seeing is believing, and knowing these numbers gives us objective information to use as we teach our hitters.
4. Radar Gun
We use the good ol' radar gun to measure ball exit speed (BES), which is the end result of energy transfer thru the swing process. BES is simply how fast (in mph) the ball leaves the bat after they collide. Many factors play a role in increasing BES, not just overall "bat speed".
So as we track progress in other metrics we use the radar gun to see that the progress is actually translating to better BES.