RAY DEMARINI ON BAT SPEED
Using myself as an example - I generate approximately 95MPH bat speed with my 26ounce bat. I can generate just about the same 95MPH speed using a 29ounce bat. You would logically think that I should use the 29ounce bat, no question. I can swing it as fast and the added mass will allow me to hit the ball farther than with the 26ounce bat. Logic would be wrong!
The important part of the equation that isn't considered in the above comparison is relative bat speed immediately after the ball has left the bat. In other words, how much of my initial 95MPH speed was I able to maintain while hitting through the ball. Here's the facts. I swing both at 95MPH just prior to hitting the ball. With the 26ounce bat, my bat speed immediately after the ball is hit goes down to 56MPH! With the 29ounce bat, my bat speed goes down to 49MPH! In other words, with the heavier bat, I'm swinging it fast but cannot push the bat through the ball and maintain as much speed as I can with the lighter bat.
Before we even take this subject much further I think it is crucial to stop and realize the incredible fact that I lose that much speed from hitting a 6.5 ounce ball. It simply amazes me. I have a pretty good follow through, I am extremely strong and have a decent swing ... and I lose all that speed when I hit the ball. I have tested lots of hitters, it is a constant. You lose a lot of speed when you hit the ball.
If you really think about it, what separates the true power hitters from the mere mortals is their ability to maintain bat speed. Compare my stats to that of a truly great player. I'll reference Larry Carter, one of the most awesome distance and power hitters I've ever seen (and I've seen most all of them!) Larry weighs 260lbs+ and is in great physical condition with a vicious swing and scary strength. He can squat over 600lbs, bench 485lbs. and military press 275lbs. (easy)! You get the message. Larry is strong! He is dedicated and a great, great banger. Compare his bat speed to mine. It's the same at 95MPH. Larry uses a 31ounce bat ... I use a 26 ounce. So how come he hits the ball over 100 feet farther than I do? Simple ... his speed during contact with the ball.
Larry has the highest 'after' speed I have recorded. I finish at 56MPH, Larry finishes at 89MPH. In other words, Larry literally loses NO bat speed while powering through the ball. Larry shouldn't go down in weight! He isn't losing any speed with the 31 ounce ... there's no need to go lighter. The question is can YOU? If you went with a lighter bat than you now use, would you pickup 'finishing' speed, and therefore distance? Try a friends lighter bat and give it a fair chance. Take the time to know what works for you. Don't swing 5 times and say, no, not for me. Give it 100 swings. See if your follow through seems more efficient. Note what is happening with the ball.
What I am really trying to get across to you is crucial to hitting performance: you MUST have an efficient and complete follow through with your swing. You must think acceleration through the ball. Go right directly through the ball. Don't give up your swing the second you feel the ball hit the bat ... in fact, that's when you have to swing hardest! And give some thought to your bat weight. Make sure you give yourself full chance to be as good as you can!
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Last Updated: 09/23/2003