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Discussion: A bat’s “swing weight” (Non-Technical)

Posted Discussion
Jan. 8, 2009
Men's 70
267 posts
A bat’s “swing weight” (Non-Technical)
Since we now have the Miken Ultra II “MAXLOAD’ model on the market to add to our Senior Softball arsenal of weapons, I thought I’d say something about a bat’s “swing weight”.

“Swing weight” can be simply defined as the relative weight of a bat barrel's leverage in relation to its handle, or in semi-technical terms, the “moment of inertia” in physics. The MOI is where the bat abides by a fundamental law of physics where there’s a strong tendency for mass to resist angular acceleration when the object is at rest or in motion for that matter. So it’s the inertia that is measured that indicates how difficult it is to change the velocity of an object by applying a force to it like your own strength to a bat. The physicist uses the terminology "moment of inertia" and is said to be determined by the length of the shaft-handle to the mass of the bat’s barrel. Although other parts of the bat make minor contributions to the effect.

If you could just for a moment, visualize an everyday object's weight as a measure of its resistance to being lifted, like picking up an anvil off the garage floor (ugh)! Then you can also think of the bat’s swing weight as a measure of a its resistance to being swung in a circle at the incoming pitch. So to get your MOI “party started”, it’s a good idea to have a waggle or pre-swing movement with your bat to help the process of overcoming the MOI of the bat’s mass as you begin your swing along the plane to the ball.

The main difference between “swing weight” and actual weight is the way in which the absolute weight is distributed along the entire length of the bat. Understand of course, that a bat’s “swing weight” is a different parameter than its overall weight or what is referred to as its “dead weight”. Swing Weight is actually more a feel of the of the bat in the batters hands or what is comfortable to them given their type of swing.

Golf swing weights are comprised of a letter followed by a number, like “D-3” for example. So the closer to the beginning of the alphabet the letter is the lighter the swing weight will be and for each letter the lower the number, from 0-9, also the lighter the swing weight as well. Baseball and Softball bat manufactures DON’T advertise swing weight but they know what it is...maybe Combat does I’ve heard, but no other manufactures that I know of.

Without getting too technical, to find the MOI value you must first find the pivot location (standard is 6” from the knob of the bat), then the weight of the bat, and lastly the location of the balance point (center-of-mass) by finding the exact balancing point of the bat using your finger or a blade like tool and then running it through a mathematical formula.

Consequently, it is very important that a hitter has successfully matched a proper swing weight to their absolute bat weight choice to maximize their swing speed. Otherwise you'll not attain your maximum potential as a hitter.

So, if you have an easy-going and graceful swing, a heavier swing weight may give you better batted-ball-speed results. Conversely, If your swing very quick or fast, then you may need a bat with less swing weight so that the bat can rotate around your pivot point as fast as your body is rotating.

Understand that a lower “swing weight” should increase your bat-swing speed but there is a trade-off with the higher MOI in making for a greater collision resulting in greater batted-ball-exit speed only if you can swing it the @ the same speed or close to it as the lower “swing weight” bat.

So, each player must experiment and find what “swing weight” results to maximum their batted-ball-speed for a particular bat and their individual swing style. Keep in mind those Dead-Ball-Outs this season when selecting a bat’s mass and “swing weight”!!!! LOL

Bashbro1 (Ruth 60’s Kent, WA in the rain and snow and nothing to do better!)
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