The Kinetics of Swinging a Baseball Bat

in Journal of Applied Biomechanics
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The purpose of this study was to compute the 3-dimensional kinetics required to swing 3 youth baseball bats of varying moments of inertia. The 306 swings by 22 male players (age 13–18 y) were analyzed. Inverse dynamics with respect to the batter’s hands were computed given the known kinematics and physical properties of the bats. Peak force increased with larger bat moments of inertia and was strongly correlated with bat tip speed. By contrast, peak moments were weakly correlated with bat moments of inertia and bat tip speed. Throughout the swing, the force applied to the bat was dominated by a component aligned with the long axis of the bat and directed away from the bat knob, whereas the moment applied to the bat was minimal until just prior to ball impact. These results indicate that players act to mostly “pull” the bat during their swing until just prior to ball impact, at which point they rapidly increase the moment on the bat. This kinetic analysis provides novel insight into the forces and moments used to swing baseball bats.

Crisco and Osvalds are with Bioengineering Laboratory, Department of Orthopaedics, Rhode Island Hospital; and The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA. Rainbow is with Human Mobility Research Centre, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada.

Crisco (joseph_crisco@brown.edu) is corresponding author.
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