Does Your Grip on a Baseball Bat Affect the Trajectory of the Ball?
Posted Jun 27 2010 12:00am
I saw this nifty little video on ESPN today about the effect of your grip on the trajectory of a baseball. Nomar Garciaparra gets wired up with electrodes to conduct this experiment. He used to be a pretty good ball player.
Essentially what happens, is this:
Pitcher throws the ball. In this experiment it is a 90 MPH pitch.
Bat comes in contact with the ball. Nomar swings the bat 67 MPH.
Shockwaves from the contact between bat and ball travel down the bat to the hands.
Some shockwaves are reflected and bounce back up the bat towards the ball.
The ball leaves bat before shockwaves bounce back.
Therefore your grip on a bat doesn’t directly influence the trajectory of the ball when hit.
… with a couple possible exceptions.
I think they mention that the vibrations return from the hands just .0001 ms after the ball leaves the bat (or something like that, I forget… watch the video), and they did mention that the answer might be different if a player chokes up on the bat. If you ask me, the answer to this question is more of a ‘maybe’ rather than a resounding ‘no’.
I still have a few questions about this experiment:
What if the pitch is a 65 MPH knuckle ball?
What if it’s a 101 MPH fastball?
What if the batter swings the bat faster or slower than 67 MPH?
What about aluminum bats?
How does the size and weight of the bat affect the result?