July 14, 2009
STEP AWAY FROM THE DONUTS:
Tip for Casey: To Swing a Faster Bat, Lighten Up That Lumber: With Major League Baseball's All-Star game taking place tonight, a researcher explains why, when it comes to swinging a baseball bat, heavier isn't necessarily better (Adam Marcus, 7/15/09, Scientific American)
Posted by Orrin Judd at July 14, 2009 5:58 PM
Tune into tonight's baseball All-Star game and you'll see a familiar ritual: Batters standing in the on-deck circle will swing a weighted bat (or even a heavy, pipelike club) while they wait to hit. The exercise is intended to improve players' bat speed, with the idea being that the regular bat feels lighter after taking cuts with the heavier one. But a new study suggests batters who add ounces to their practice swings may be making an error.
Practicing with a heavier bat significantly slows down the velocity of the bat head—depriving the batter of slugging power, exercise researchers at California State University, Fullerton, say. Swinging light or normal weight lumber just before stepping up to the plate helps players become accustomed to swinging fast, repetition that is key to athletic training, the researchers say.