Ball Exit Speed vs Bat Speed

The Willemssen Sports Training and the Center for Sports Skill Measurement & Improvement, LLC are committed to helping athletes improve their level of skill and performance. One of the ways we will attempt to do this is by providing occasional "white papers" on key aspects of objective athletic measurement. We think that for baseball and softball hitters some light needs to be shed on the issues surrounding bat speed as a panacea that will immediately improve a player's hitting ability. Why is bat speed so highly promoted? We think very simply it is because it CAN be easily improved. In fact, you can go to a number of different web sites all promoting their method to improve bat speed. A short list can be found here and we invite you, actually encourage you to go and visit - just do so armed with a bit of knowledge.


Sample Bat Speed Websites:

  • www.getbatspeed.com
  • www.batspeed.com
  • www.beabetterhitter.com
  • www.batspeedacademy.com


    You will notice that these are not linked as these sites will probably not have granted us permission to do so. Just copy and paste the web address into your browser and get informed. What you will find is that, what is touted, is not only bat speed but claims to make you into a "better hitter". Let's be very clear. The ONLY benefit of improved bat speed is simply a faster swing. What is the benefit of having the fastest car in town if you don't know how to drive?

    Does this mean that we at The Center for Sports Skill Measurement & Improvement don't think that bat speed is important. Absolutely not. Bat speed is a vital component to success - just not the primary component.


    THE MISSING INGREDIENT

    There are a number of enlightened instructors, coaches and players who, like us, believe that the real measurement is not how fast you swing the bat but how fast the ball comes off your bat - EXIT SPEED. Last time we checked the defense was concerned with fielding and throwing the BALL - not the BAT! In over 3 years of preliminary testing we have seen hundreds of players at all levels and ages come in with "decent" bat speeds. Guess what their exit speeds were? In over 99% of the cases the exit speeds were below their bat speeds. What this means is that the players were generating good to great bat speed but didn't transfer that energy to the ball. In short their swings were inefficient. Does that make a player with an inefficent swing a bad player? No. Once again, just like a faster bat speed ONLY translates to a faster swing, an inefficient swing ONLY means that there is more efficiency to be gained - that is - more exit speed. All we are saying is that most players can improve their exit speeds significantly. What do you think happens when the ball is coming off the bat 5-10-15 MPH faster than before?


    Bottom line is that it is still their swing and their careers and future in the game. They have to make the decision to make the necessary changes in the bio-mechanics of their swing to remove the current inefficiencies. Our research shows that a player's maximum exit speed (or max efficiency)is about 110-115% of their bat speed.

    Therefore a player with a bat speed of 75 will max out with an exit speed somewhere between 82 and 87 MPH. If the same player can get that bat speed up to 90 (with an efficient swing) the exit speeds would be between 99 and 104MPH!


    SAMPLE DATA

    Below is a sampling of actual baseball players who were assessed and worked on some key movements to improve their exit speeds. Improvements occurred over a 3-4 month period.


    Age 16

    Initial Exit Speed 81

    Latest Exit Speed 90


    Age 17

    Initial Exit Speed 93

    Latest Exit Speed 108


    Age 16

    Initial Exit Speed 83

    Latest Exit Speed 91.3


    Age 15

    Initial Exit Speed 71

    Latest Exit Speed 86


    Age 12

    Initial Exit Speed 64

    Latest Exit Speed 73.2


    Age 10

    Initial Exit Speed 45

    Latest Exit Speed 55



    OUR ROLE


    Through our association with Perry Husband, one of the leading pioneers in the study of improving exit speed, we have two roles in this debate. The first is to create an avenue for players, parents, coaches and instructors to understand - all things being equal - how important exit speed is and to create the testing platform so that all interested parties will have a common understanding to know how to compare the numbers across the board.

    The second role is to provide those who want to undertake the process of improving exit speed with proven and tested drills and exercises to assist the player in achieving their goals. So, next time you hear someone touting "unbelievable" bat speed improvements, just remember which speed is really the key.

     

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