|Feb. 6, 2009|
|SS-USA'S POST BACK in 01/2003|
FROM SS-USA'S ATHENAEUM:
Experts Warn that Lower COR and Compression Softballs Won't Solve Safety Issue
courtesy of Softball News Report
2003 is shaping up to be the Season of the Ball.
And some ball experts are warning that most major national softball organizations are making a dangerous mistake by lowering ball COR and Compression ratings to make up for hot bats.
“Associations aren’t paying close enough attention,” said Kevin Schullstrom, national sales manager for TRUMP Softballs . “They think by simply lowering the COR and Compression requirements they have made the game safe. It’s not that easy.”
This year, most of the National Softball Organizations are changing their ball standards, requiring .44 COR balls with a low (375 per square inch) Compression rating. Those standards, however, may do nothing to make the game safer for pitchers and infielders, according to the ball experts.
“Most of it (ball-standard change) is being done because of the perception that it will be safer for the third baseman and the pitcher,” said Tom Decker, president of TRUMP Softballs . of Omaha.
“In reality, it’s not safer,” he said. “ In the first 60 to 70 feet from the point of ball-bat impact, the travel distance is not going to change.” Decker said the only change will be the distance the ball will travel from home plate to the fence - not it’s speed through the infield.
“The net effect for reaction time for the infield is no different. If they get hit in the head with 44 COR it will be just as fatal as if they get hit in the head with a 47 COR ball at the same speeds. “I don’t want players under the false impression that they are not going to get hurt because they are using a 44 COR ball,” said Decker.
According to at least one expert, the lower COR balls may create an even more dangerous situation. “If safety is the objective, associations should require a more elastic or rubbery .50 or .47 COR ball with lower (375) Compression,” said Trump’s Schullstrom. “That’s because the lower the COR the less elastic - the harder - the ball.” ((PLEASE, READ THIS STATEMENT, ONE MORE TIME.))
The COR of a ball is determined by the distance it rebounds after it is hurled against a wall. The farther it rebounds, the higher the COR rating. Thus, the more it rebounds, the more elastic, lively or “rubbery” the ball.
The Compression rating tests hardness: it is the amount of pressure it takes to compress a softball one-quarter inch.
“The bottom line is that associations are trading the .47 COR for a more dense .44 COR, exactly the opposite of what they should be doing,” said Schullstrom.
A Dudley spokesman agreed that associations were looking at the wrong numbers - and using the wrong tests.
“Exit velocity is what they need to address,” said Chris Sims, longtime territory sales and marketing manager for Dudley Sports .
“The standard tests use bat speeds of 60 miles per hour, but tournament players are swinging at 100 or 120 mph,” said Sims. Balls come off the bats a lot quicker at those speeds.
And bat speed apparently makes a significant difference in ball ratings - and may force softball sanctioning organizations to take a new, closer look at the ball-rating system. ((THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED, AS of YET. WHY?
IF, ONE GETS RID of the 26, 27, & 28 OZ BATS, BAT SPEEDS WILL DECREASE.))
A recent report showed that lower COR balls actually came off the bat faster than higher COR balls. The report, “The Effect of Softball Compression and Coefficient of Restitution on Batted Ball Speed,” was based on a new study technique that used actual bat speeds and new high-tech bats. (( PLEASE, PAY CLOSE ATTENTION, TO THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT.))
Using the new, more realistic techniques, a .40 COR ball came off the bat 3.57 miles per hour faster and went 11-12 feet farther than a .47 COR ball.
“There are a couple of possible explanations for this surprising result,” wrote co-authors Dr. Michael Ciocco and Dr. Mark McDowell, of the US Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown, West Virginia.
“It may be that the actual COR of the ball at real impact speeds (100 mph) may be very different from the balls stated COR,” they wrote. “The COR tests use an impact speed of 60 mph . . . and it has been shown that COR is a strong function of impact speed.”
The change in the ball velocity can be seen in fundamental changes in the game - especially on defense.
“You see more and more infielders standing 15 feet back on the grass - that is a function of increased ball velocity,” said Sims.
While the new tests raises questions about ball COR ratings, Compression ratings have emerging problems of their own. One of the biggest issues is consistency.
A recent set of tests by a major ball manufacturer that found ball compression differed markedly on each of the ball’s four sides. (( THIS IS NOT 100 % RIGHT. A BALL HAS 6 SIDES. TOP, BOTTOM, FRONT, REAR, LEFT & RIGHT SIDE(S). ))That means that a ball may meet the compression standard on one or two sides, but be too hard on the other two sides.
While ball experts have known that compression varies from ball to ball, this is the first test showing an individual ball can vary from side to side. The tests, done by Prof. William Brandt, director of the Sports Science Center of New York University for Anaconda Sports , maker of TRUMP softballs, found significant variation in individual balls.
The test of 21 TRUMP balls found Compression varied on 375 compression balls from 314 to 374. That variation in the test varied from 270 on one side to 360 on another side of the same ball. The COR on balls varied from .45 to .47 on different sides of the same ball.(( AGAIN, PAY ATTENTION, CLASS.))
To put this in perspective, these differences in COR and Compression can change bat performance markedly: from a 1.10 bpf to a 1.20 bpf. “In an extreme case,” according to one bat manufacturer who asked to remain anonymous, “it means that a bat will meet the standards if you hit one side of the ball, but not if you happen to hit the other side.”
It appears that 2003 will be a year of discovery.
Manufacturers and testing authorities are working a new set of standards for testing bats, which will likely result in the re-testing of balls. “It is very likely that there will be new standards for both bats and balls - but it is unclear yet what those standards will be - or even what tests will be agreed upon,” said Terry Hennessy, CEO of Senior Softball-USA .
“What is clear is that 2003 will require patience. The bat and ball issues are complex and changing - but we are moving closer to understanding the science of these new materials. After the science is clear, we can make some informed decisions on standards for bats and balls that keep the game safe and fun.”
Insightful articles similar to this one can be found at www.SeniorSoftball.com
I found this on line & in SS-USA'S, ARCHIVE.
|Feb. 6, 2009|
|great post,HJ.it looks like ss-usa had an inkling back then the ball should be changed,but did nothing to do it.yes i do like hitting what we have now,but wouldn't have a prol with the new ball.if it just protects one guy from seriously getting hurt,then by all means lets at least test it(52.-275),and,or use it.i'm hoping big cat has some at the CST on the 21st for us to test.thought i had read this some where before,thanks for digging it up.|