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Re: Re: bats


Posted by: Jack Mankin (MrBatspeed@aol.com) on Mon Feb 10 13:17:02 2003


Question/Comment:

I would suggest working with an average weight wood bat and develope good mechanics for increasing bat speed - not a lighter and lighter bat to coverup poor mechanics.
>
> Jack Mankin
>
>I enjoy this forum. When I saw that you had contradicted Ted Williams' teachings on bat weight (see the subchapter "Light is Right" in The Science of Hitting), I was very curious as to what other Tedisms are contrary or different to yours. Many people who disagree with what Ted Williams said about hitting feel that his views were those of a superior performer, and therefore largely invalid with respect to the average player. In 27 years of coaching AAU, high school, and college players--practicing almost exclusively with "woodies" on my watch--I cannot recall a single instance where a player has chosen a bat that was clearly too LIGHT for him, but many, many times we see kids swinging bats that are too damn heavy. I can't imagine that anyone who coaches kids on a daily basis would disagree; lighten the bat, and the kid is helped immediately because he can actually get the bat's center of percussion to the center of the speeding baseball ON TIME. A too-heavy bat leads to poor mechanics: the kid swinging one can't get his top hand STRAIGHT to the ball!
Watch Barry Bonds in "frame advance" mode on your VCR. He is using a HARD PUSH with his TOP HAND (capitals Ted's) to go STRAIGHT (capitals Tony Gwynn's) to the ball, but he is still finishing high. Pure rotational mechanics' applications are limited in hitting, but not as limited as those of vectoral mechanics. The proper model is not a duality of either/or, but rather is a unity of both/and: HELICAL MECHANICS. <<<

Jack Mankin's reply:

Hi:

I would agree with you that most kids tend to use too heavy of a wood bat. This is especially true for the mechanics taught to 98% of them. Weight shift and extension mechanics (drive the top-hand straight to the ball) requires a good deal of upper-body strength to gain even reasonable bat speeds with the lighter bats. Good rotational transfer mechanics allows the batter to make more efficient use of the larger muscle groups in the legs and torso to accelerate the bat-head. --- Babe Ruth would have never hit the large number of home runs using a bat in the 40 ounce class without the efficient use of rotational transfer mechanics.

Therefore, when I stated, "I would suggest working with an average weight wood bat and develop good mechanics for increasing bat speed and not lighter and lighter bats to cover-up poor mechanics." I was referring to the kids with mechanics that forced them to use a -5 to -11 aluminum bat just to compete. Remember, there were no -11 aluminum bats around when Ted Williams made his statement regarding the advantage of using lighter wood bats (probably in the -3 range).

You stated, "Many people who disagree with what Ted Williams said about hitting feel that his views were those of a superior performer, and therefore largely invalid with respect to the average player." ---The fact that some people believe that only the superior performers can take advantage of more efficient mechanics proves to me that they just do not understand the principles of rotational mechanics. Ted Williams made a significant breakthrough in teaching hitting by showing that the energy for the baseball swing comes from the body's rotation around a stationary axis and not from linear weight-shift. Although Ted's swing exhibited good transfer mechanics, I can find no evidence in his writings that would indicate that he correctly understood the principles of transfer mechanics that converted his body rotation into bat speed.

I have studied frame-by-frame sequences of Barry Bonds' swing since the late 1980's and he has always pulled the top-hand back toward the catcher before rotating and the hand arcs toward the pitcher.

Jack Mankin


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