Optimizing the Kinetic Link in the Baseball Swing

Friday, Dec. 21st 2012

ISOBaseball.com’s goal of developing scientific baseball/softball based hitting equipment and instructional videos is shown through their blog post entitled Optimizing the Kinetic Link in the Baseball Swing. ISO baseball looks to describe scientifically the link between kinetic energy and the baseball swing. Simple enough.

To make it easy for our readers I will explain some of the complex topic present in the article. Conservation of momentum is the way that, in a closed system (for our purposes the human body in a baseball swing), the total flow of momentum is constant once it is started.  For example, Newton’s cradle (Figure 1) demonstrates how momentum, once you drop a ball from the left side of the cradle, transfers all the way through the separate but isolated parts of the cradle. Now that we have defined conservation of momentum lets define the kinetic link. The kinetic link is the principle that body segments generate velocity by accelerating and decelerating adjacent links and using internal and external muscle torques applied to the body segments in sequential manners. Sounds like a fancy way to describe hitting a baseball. Now that we know what conservation of momentum and the kinetic link are, we can focus on the hitting philosophy developed by ISO Baseball.

While ISO Baseball uses the conservation of momentum and the kinetic link to describe hitting, the blog post relates these theories on physics to describe hitting a baseball through the metaphor of a whip. The batters legs represent the arm of the whip. The batters upper body—arms, wrists, hands—are the long tail of the whip. In the way that the power generated by a whip starts at the arm of the whip, the power generated by a baseball swing starts at your legs. It only makes sense that the power you generate from a swing starts with the largest muscles in your body, the legs. The power and momentum is transferred from your legs to your hands and is done through the conservation of momentum. The upper parts of the body are not used to generate momentum, but your arms, wrists, and hands are merely there to facilitate the energy created by your legs to the baseball.For ISO Baseball, hitting a baseball is the kinetic link, and the process that facilitates the action and momentum through your body is the conservation of momentum.

ISO Baseball makes an analytic leap between the conservation of momentum and the kinetic link that gets to the science of the swing. Through the application of scientific theories to baseball mechanics, the baseball world may be able to teach the game more effectively by understanding it more closely.

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