Science Clears Up How Batters Should Swing

University of Hawaii
Second Of A 4-Part Series

HONOLULU — Hitting mechanics has been diagnosed, bisected and discussed more than any baseball topic except possibly pitching mechanics. 

How to swing the bat? 

Research gives us the answer.

Our journey began in the mid-1980s. 

We began the pursuit of using scientific evidence to help provide answers to the following questions: (1) biomechanically, how do the best hitters of all-time past and present hit a baseball? (2) How do we train a hitter to become a more successful hitter? Our quest for “truth” led us to Tom House, then pitching coach of the Texas Rangers. 

Together with additional staff and high-tech equipment, we formed Bio-kinetics, Inc., a “think-tank” biomechanical research company in Laguna Hills, Calif. 

In 1987, we began studying professional major league hitters and pitchers during live game performances and collected invaluable film and video on Hall of Fame hitters and pitchers. 

The analytical process was based on collecting “live” game performance swings and analyzing these swings using high-speed cameras and the Ariel Computerized Biomechanical Motion Analysis System.  

By using the Ariel System, we were able to measure and analyze the kinematics (time and space factors in the motion) of the hitters’ swings. 

The kinematics included were linear and angular displacements (the change in a body’s location in space in a given direction), velocities, and accelerations.

The results helped us to determine the common swing components for all the hitters analyzed. 

Over the course of 25 years, we were been able to categorize hitters into the following sub-categories: (1) Elite lifetime high average (.300 +) and power (35 home runs) hitters; (2) high lifetime average hitters (.330 +); (3) .275 to .300 average lifetime hitters and (4) sub-.250 lifetime hitters.  

As we studied the swings of the players in each sub-category, we were able to identify the common swing components that all successful hitters possess.

To read more of this article, purchase the Feb. 25, 2022 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE. Dr. DeRenne delves into line drive vs home run swings, timing in hitting and much more.