Posted on: Fri,Mar 18th 2011
The effectiveness or the power of any given bat can be tested without swinging the bat at all.
If the bat is held in a fixed position and a ball is fired at the bat at say 100 km/hr, the ball will bounce off the bat at a speed of about 20 km/hr. That speed gets added to the bat speed when the bat is swung.
A surprising result is that the bounce speed off a fixed bat does not depend on how firmly the handle is held. It can be gripped in a vice or it can be dangled on the end of a piece of string and the ball will bounce at exactly the same speed.
For that reason, the speed of a struck ball does not depend on how firmly the handle is gripped in the hands.
There is a simple reason for this strange result.
When the ball strikes the bat, it causes the bat to bend slightly at the impact point. That bend then propagates along the bat up to the handle, reflects off the end of the handle and then travels back down to the impact point.
The bend takes about 0.002 seconds to travel up to the handle and back again. But the ball is on the bat for only 0.001 seconds, and it bounces off before the reflection gets back to the impact point. The ball has no way of knowing how the handle was held so it bounces off the bat at the same speed regardless of how the handle is gripped. The handle could be attached by a hinge and the ball would still come off the bat at the same speed.
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