Where does power come from? The Hips? The Torso? The arms and hands? The bat? Nope, nope, nope and nope. While these pieces are all important in the transfer of power, all of the power a hitter creates starts from the ground. In particular, the amount of power available to a hitter comes from the forces that are applied to the ground by the player. Until now, we could really only guess as to how a player used the ground based on video analysis. However, with the new addition of Bertec force plates and the Swing Catalyst software, we can now measure exactly how a player uses the ground and help each individual get the most potential power into their swing.
The Engine of the Swing and Power Generation
There are a lot of pieces that go into creating a powerful swing. While the hips, torso, arms, hands and bat all have their importance in the swing, the ability to get maximal power begins with the ground. Think of the forces applied to the ground by a hitter as the engine of the swing. If you put a lawn mower engine into a Ferrari, the Ferrari won't perform very well and won't move to its top potential speed. Likewise, if a hitter has great hands, hand eye coordination, postures, etc, but doesn't use the ground well, they can only generate a limited amount of power. Knowing how much force a hitter applies to the ground, as well as the timing and direction of that force is absolutely vital to getting maximal power into a hitter's swing.
Not only do we use the ground to generate power, but much of the ability to be consistent stems from the hitter's interaction with the ground. In order to be consistent, a hitters must possess a consistent load, stride mechanism, be able to create a stable lower body to begin the swing from, know how to control their weight and initiate the proper kinematic sequencing. All of these factors have their roots in the way a hitter uses the ground. As a simple example, if a hitter can't control and hold the force they put into their back foot, they will lunge at the ball. This creates a weak, unstable base to begin the swing from. This creates a swing that is out of sequence and creates a poor bat path, leading to inconsistencies. The ability to measure the timing and amount of force hitters create is imperative to creating consistencies in the swing.
The efficient flow of energy in the swing should go as follows: force is applied to the ground by the hitter, the ground reacts by sending equal force to the hitter. This force is then used to begin the rotation of the pelvis. The pelvis then transfers that energy into the torso which is transferred to the arms and hands, which send that energy into the bat and, if contact is made, into the ball. This ideal sequence makes a violent, dynamic movement such as a swing look and feel effortless.
Now, lets assume that a hitter doesn't put enough force into the ground in the right direction and time to help initiate the seamless rotation of the pelvis. In order to crush a baseball, a hitter is going to try and find that energy somewhere else. Many times, this results in a hitter over rotating the pelvis and torso in an effort to create more bat speed. This, over time can lead to pulled muscles, spine and disc issues and other musculoskeletal problems. Learning how to efficiently get power and energy from the ground ia extremely important to helping hitters stay healthy in the performance of a high volume and violent activity such as swinging a baseball bat.
It is for all of these reasons above that we decided to add the Bertec Force Plate and Swing Catalyst software to our arsenal of technology here at Elite Diamond Performance. This new tool will give us quantifiable data into perhaps the most important part of the swing and help us in our continued quest to get the most out of every hitter that we train.