Monday, August 29, 2011

Center of Mass in Hitting

I continue to hear arguments to where the weight of a player should be when they hit a baseball, is it out front is it back. The problem as I see it is not where it is from a philosophical stand point but from a scientific stand point. Can we determine where the weight should be based on biomechanics? Let’s take a look at a picture.

I made a few dots to look at an approximate location of the center of mass, they are in orange. The first dot is where the COM basically started and just after the point of impact the COM has moved back. So the COM is behind the front foot, but the majority of the player’s weight is being supported by the front foot as seen in the picture. So here is the contradiction that gets a lot of coaches and players. We want our weight back, but want it on our front foot. This is where a biomechanical explanation can help. In human movement the center of mass

ybe outside the players body and just because the weight of the player is supported by an arm or leg does not mean that is where the weight really lies. I hope that didn’t muddy the water. Just look at the picture, and then take a look at a few more pictures and in the majority of players that are at an elite level you will notice a trend. The trend will be that the COM is behind the front foot, no matter the distribution of the weight in the feet. Teaching a hitter how to control their Center of Mass both in the Performance Training Arena as well as while performing skills will increase the player’s awareness in space and increase cross over to the field.
I have included a variation of an exercise that is highly COM demanding that can increase a player’s power for hitting and lateral movement. The variation is a speed skater movement added to a lateral box hop. As you can see from the picture the players COM is probably outside the body, the weight is on one foot and moving in a lateral direction. If the players weight gets over the foot or drifts over the foot the player looses balance, just like in hitting a baseball. If the player drifts the player in most cases cant stay balanced which decreases his chances to hit.

Have fun with the exercise and take a look at those pictures and start looking at it from a scientific position and many times the problem will take care of it self.

Brian Niswender MA
Co-Founder Baseball Strength Coaching .com

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