Effects of Bat Grip on Baseball Hitting Kinematics

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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  • 1 California State University, Sacramento
  • 2 Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute
  • 3 American Sports Medicine Institute
  • 4 University of Hawaii, Manoa
  • 5 Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory
  • 6 Duke University Medical Center
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A motion system collected 120-Hz data from 14 baseball adult hitters using normal and choke-up bat grips. Six swings were digitized for each hitter, and temporal and kinematic parameters were calculated. Compared with a normal grip, the choke-up grip resulted in 1) less time during stride phase and swing; 2) the upper torso more opened at lead foot contact; 3) the pelvis more closed and less bat linear velocity at bat-ball contact; 4) less range of motion of the upper torso and pelvis during swing; 5) greater elbow flexion at lead foot contact; and 6) greater peak right elbow extension angular velocity. The decreased time during the stride phase when using a choke-up grip implies that hitters quicken their stride when they choke up. Less swing time duration and less upper torso and pelvis rotation range of motion using the choke-up grip supports the belief of many coaches and players that using a choke-up grip results in a “quicker” swing. However, the belief that using a choke-up grip leads to a faster moving bat was not supported by the results of this study.

Escamilla is with the Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Sacramento, CA, and the Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute, Gulf Breeze, FL. Fleisig is with American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, AL. DeRenne is with the Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science, University of Hawaii, Manoa, Honolulu, HI. Taylor is with the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Pensacola, FL. Moorman is with the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Duke Sports Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC. Imamura is with the Kinesiology and Health Science Department, California State University, Sacramento, CA. Barakatt is with the Department of Physical Therapy, California State University, Sacramento, CA. And Andrews is with the Andrews-Paulos Research and Education Institute, Gulf Breeze, FL, and the American Sports Medicine Institute, Birmingham, AL.