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Joseph J. Crisco, Michael J. Rainbow, Joel B. Schwartz and Bethany J. Wilcox

The purpose of this study was to examine the batting cage performance of wood and nonwood baseball bats used at the youth level. Three wood and ten nonwood bats were swung by 22 male players (13 to 18 years old) in a batting cage equipped with a 3-dimensional motion capture (300 Hz) system. Batted ball speeds were compared using a one-way ANOVA and bat swing speeds were analyzed as a function of bat moment of inertia by linear regression. Batted ball speeds were significantly faster for three nonwood bat models (P < .001), significantly slower for one nonwood model, and not different for six nonwood bats when compared with wood bats. Bat impact speed significantly (P < .05) decreased with increasing bat moment of inertia for the 13-, 14-, and 15-year-old groups, but not for the other age groups. Ball-bat coefficients of restitution (BBCOR) for all nonwood were greater than for wood, but this factor alone did not correlate with bat performance. Our findings indicate that increases in BBCOR and swing speed were not associated with faster batted ball speeds for the bats studied whose moment of inertia was substantially less than that of a wood bat of similar length.

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Joseph J. Crisco, Nikolas J. Osvalds and Michael J. Rainbow

Swinging a baseball bat to hit a ball is a complex task requiring exquisite timing and strength in both the upper and lower body to be successful. 1 At ball impact, the bat is approximately horizontal and reaches its maximum speed prior to ball impact. Increasing a batter’s maximum bat swing speed

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Khaya Morris-Binelli, Sean Müller and Peter Fadde

( Lewis, 2003 ), recruited players who excelled in key sabermetric batting performance indicators (e.g., On-Base Percentage) that were less valued in baseball than traditional batting performance indicators (e.g., Batting Average). Despite concerns over the accuracy of what was reported in the Moneyball

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Richard M. Greenwald, Lori H. Penna and Joseph J. Crisco

Differences in the performance of wood and metal baseball bats, measured as a function of batted ball speed, were quantified in a batting cage study. Two wood and five metal baseball bat models were studied with 19 players of various levels of experience ranging from high school to professional. Batted ball speeds from 538 hits were computed from high-speed 3-D ball position data collected with a commercially available system. In general, metal bats had significantly higher batted ball speeds than wood bats. Of the five metal bat models studied, one outperformed all other models and one bat was most similar to wood bats. The average difference in batted ball speed between wood bats and the highest performing metal bat was approximately 9 mph. Maximum batted ball speeds of 101 and 106 mph were measured for wood and metal bats, respectively. Increased skill level significantly increased the maximum batted ball speeds generated independent of bat model. Players of all experience levels were able to generate batted ball speeds in excess of 100 mph. While the results of this study are limited to the specific bats tested, this is the first study to measure and report differences in batted ball speeds among wood and metal bats.

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Larry Noble and Hugh Walker

This study examined the relationship between selected mechanical characteristics of aluminum baseball bats and sensations on the hands resulting from impacts. Sixteen skilled male Little League baseball players held each of two bats while they were impacted at the following locations by baseballs at speeds of approximately 27 m/s: near barrel end, center of percussion (COP), distal node of the fundamental mode, and 4 in. toward the hands from the COP. Results of a questionnaire regarding annoyance and discomfort were correlated with selected bat characteristics and vibrational characteristics associated with each impact condition. Results indicated that perceptions of annoyance and discomfort were related to the level of excitation of the fundamental mode and first overtone mode and that annoyance and discomfort were less with impacts on the COP and fundamental vibrational node.

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Rafael F. Escamilla, Glenn S. Fleisig, Coop DeRenne, Marcus K. Taylor, Claude T. Moorman III, Rodney Imamura, Edward Barakatt and James R. Andrews

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.

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Aaron T. Scanlan, Daniel M. Berkelmans, William M. Vickery and Crystal O. Kean

Cricket is a popular international team sport with various game formats ranging from long-duration multiday tests to short-duration Twenty20 game play. The role of batsmen is critical to all game formats, with differing physiological demands imposed during each format. Investigation of the physiological demands imposed during cricket batting has historically been neglected, with much of the research focusing on bowling responses and batting technique. A greater understanding of the physiological demands of the batting role in cricket is required to assist strength and conditioning professionals and coaches with the design of training plans, recovery protocols, and player-management strategies. This brief review provides an updated synthesis of the literature examining the internal (eg, metabolic demands and heart rate) and external (eg, activity work rates) physiological responses to batting in the various game formats, as well as simulated play and small-sided-games training. Although few studies have been done in this area, the summary of data provides important insight regarding physiological responses to batting and highlights that more research on this topic is required. Future research is recommended to combine internal and external measures during actual game play, as well as comparing different game formats and playing levels. In addition, understanding the relationship between batting technique and physiological responses is warranted to gain a more holistic understanding of batting in cricket, as well as to develop appropriate coaching and training strategies.

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Sue L. McPherson and Clare MacMahon

Our understanding of the role of tactical knowledge in baseball batting preparation is scarce, thereby limiting training guidelines. We examined the verbal reports of baseball players and nonplayers when told to view different edited video sequences of a half-inning of baseball competition under different task conditions: to prepare to bat (problem solve); recall as much information as possible (intentional recall); or prepare to bat, with an unexpected recall (incidental recall). Separate mixed-model ANOVAs (Expertise X Instruction conditions) on verbal report measures indicated that nonplayers used general strategies for recalling baseball events and lacked the tactical skills to use such information for their upcoming times at bat. In contrast, players used baseball-specific strategies to encode and retrieve pertinent game events from long-term memory (LTM) to develop tactics for their upcoming times at bat and to recall as much information as possible. Recommendations for training tactical skills are presented as some players exhibited defciencies in the LTM structures that mediate batting decisions.

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Brooke Castaneda and Rob Gray

This study addressed the question, what should baseball players focus their attention on while batting? Less-skilled and highly skilled (college) baseball players participated in four dual-task conditions in a baseball batting simulation: two that directed attention to skill execution (skill/internal [movement of the hands] and skill/external [movement of the bat]) and two that directed attention to the environment (environmental/irrelevant [auditory tones] and environmental/external [the ball leaving the bat]). Batting performance for highly skilled players was best in the environmental/external condition and worst in the skill/internal condition. Performance of less-skilled batters was significantly better in the two skill conditions than in either of the two environmental conditions. We conclude that the optimal focus of attention for highly skilled batters is one that does not disrupt proceduralized knowledge and permits attention to the perceptual effect of the action, whereas the optimal focus of attention for less-skilled batters is one that allows attention to the step-by-step execution of the swing.

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Sue L. McPherson

This study examined how conceptual knowledge concerning batting preparation develops with playing experience and how this knowledge influences decision making during a simulated game situation. Twelve experts, their coach, and 12 novices viewed a half-inning of a videotaped collegiate baseball game and assumed the role of the fourth batter. Propositional-type analysis of subjects' think-aloud protocols revealed experts' conceptual representation of batting preparation enabled them to search through a highly restricted problem space, which facilitated the development of sophisticated condition-action rules used to solve the problem. Experts' rules were more tactical, refined, and associated compared to novices' rules. Experts were different from novices in what attributes were considered important to solving the problem. Experts generated self-regulatory strategies to update, check, and modify their predictions of pitcher characteristics. This study provides initial evidence of the nature of adult expert sport performers' conceptual knowledge underlying decision making in sport situations.