The "Science" of Hitting a Baseball
Throughout the history of the game there have been countless theories on the way to hit a baseball. As the game of baseball has evolved, so has the instruction on the best ways to achieve stardom at the plate. But if one would step back and ponder the changes in hitting philosophies a major flag will rise. Hitting a moving baseball with a moving bat involves the laws of motion on both ends. These laws have been in place in the far past, the immediate present and will continue to exist in the same form for the rest of eternity. If these "Laws" have never changed then why have theories of hitting continued to change?
The answer to this question lies in the fact that we truly do not either understand the physics behind motion or we simply have chosen to ignore these principals for how we think hitting should be.
The EBS program deals with the scientific, empirical objective view of hitting a baseball along with the "How" to teach this on the field.
If you take any and all theories of hitting into consideration there is one common denominator with each teaching. The person who can apply the most amounts of net force on the baseball will be the same person who hits the ball the farthest. According to the findings of Isaac Newton, the amount of force applied to an object is equal to the mass of the object times the acceleration of that object, or in scientific terms Force = Mass x Acceleration. Therefor if you maximize the mass and maximize the acceleration you maximize the force applied to the baseball
The aforementioned are scientific proven facts! They are proven with no subjective consideration needed. If at this point you do not believe in the 2 variables that determine effectiveness of hitting the baseball the farthest then there is no need to read any further. The rest of this program is all based on achieving the most effective net force exerted on the baseball.
The baseball bat is really just a simple lever. By definition, a lever has two parts to it. One, the distal end of the lever which moves and two, the proximal end, or the fixed end called the fulcrum. Everything in between the fulcrum and the end of the lever make up its "mass". The longer the lever equates to more mass. Therefore when you lead with your hands and the hands are the pivot point of the bat the mass is simply that of the bat. If you hit the ball when fully extended, the pivot point now becomes the middle of your torso and now the arms and the bat all contribute to the mass of the lever. Extension at impact results in the most mass possible!
When you watch a windmill you see that every part of the blade is being turned by the motor at the middle of the apparatus. However all parts of the blades themselves do not travel at the same speed. The circumference of a circle can be calculated by the math equation 2 x 3.14 x radius squared. The part of the blade that is 5 feet from the fulcrum is traveling 31.4 feet per revolution (6.28 x 5) while the end of the blade, at let's say 15feet, is traveling 94.2 feet per revolution (6.28 x 15). In equating this to a baseball swing that means that pulling the bat through in a linear motion and using the hands as the lever shortens the lever thus decreases the speed of the end of the bat. A linear swing produces speed but it does not produce acceleration. Acceleration (by definition an increased speed over time) of a bat is caused by one physical motion. That motion is the pronation of the top hand's forearm. That action is what creates the "whoooosh" sound you here when a bat is swung. Without pronating the forearm the bat has speed but is not increasing in speed. Maximum acceleration is achieved when the forearm is fully pronated which happens when the top arm is fully extended. Once again, just like in creating maximum mass, Extension at impact results in the most acceleration possibe!
You have probably figured out by now that maximum force is created quite simply by making sure an athlete is fully extended at contact. This is not any new concept and you hear about how important full extension is all the time. What you don't hear is why it is important (which is explained in the aforementioned) nor does anyone teach how to accomplish this at impact. If the physics of being extended when hitting a baseball was to be explained to an athlete two things would happen. First, not only will most not understand, but they won't care. Second, if they do understand, or even worse try to understand, then they will start trying to think about what they need to do. When most athletes start to think about their actions those actions become scripted and it inhibits the natural abilities and strengths they possess. In teaching how to hit a baseball it is imperative that drills are established which enforce the goals of net production of force on the baseball while at the same time taking advantage of the physical raw abilities of the hitter so they do not have to "think" about what they are doing.
To keep them from having to think you have to also have a good understanding of the physiology and kinesiology of the human body. In other words understanding the reaction of the body to certain actions needed to produce maximum force! In creating the product you want, simply control the action taken which will lead to the reaction desired. The EBS program starts with drills that will guarantee to create the swing which will maximize the force that a particular athlete can attain. It does this by repetitive drills that will create a "memory" with the swing which allows the athlete to trust the swing without having to think about it.
In looking at the different theories of hitting you should ask yourself the following questions. 1) Does this technique create an accelerated bat that maximizes its mass? 2) Does this technique coincide with the natural movements of the body in doing so? If the answer to both of these is "yes", then the technique is based on sound fundamentals of Physics. The EBS program does just that. This is not a "theory" nor is it an opinion. This program is based solely on the sound fundamental principals of physics with no subjectiveness added. Look at the swings of Mantle, Marris, Dimaggio, Williams, Gehrig, Ruth. Their swings took advantage of what angular movement can do. Major league players of today are so much stronger than they were in the past that they are relying on brute strength in many cases to hit a ball a long way. The EBS program simply maximizes the force that anyone can put on a baseball. If every player swung a bat this way then the bigger guys would ALWAYS hit it farther due to their mass and acceleration of the bat. As we know that does not always happen.