Softball Batting Grip: “Door Knocking Knuckle” Swing Experiment

http://hittingperformancelab.com/softball-batting-grip/
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There’s Big Bat Speed in an Effective Softball Batting Grip (works for Baseball Too!)

Question: Does a ‘door knocking knuckle’ batting grip increase bat and hand speed?

Softball Batting Grip: Gorilla Powered

The Softball Batting Grip of a Gorilla! (and yes, baseball players can use it too!)

Using the Zepp (Labs) Baseball app, I wanted to use the Scientific Method to see if using the “gorilla grip” or “door knocking knuckle” softball batting grip produces more bat and hand speed.  One of my online lessons, Tyler Doerner, a redshirt freshman at Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana is interning for me this summer, and will be doing the experiment.

 

Background Research

This experiment is based on a book by Rod Delmonico called Hit and Run Baseball.  The book was written in 1992, and Coach Delmonico talked about a grip test that I do with my hitters to show them proper grip (included in video above).

To show how important grip is to swinging a bat, check out this podcast interview with kettlebell strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline.  He goes into depth, particularly grip strength training, about the connection between the grip and mid-section.

Also, Jedd Johnson’s Ultimate Forearm Training for Baseball Players has had a huge influence on me and the importance of grip.  Jedd has put together a pretty comprehensive training manual for both grip and forearm training for ball players.  Jedd played college ball, and is co-founder of DieselCrew.com, where he’s done amazing feats of grip strength himself.

 

Hypothesis

Based on the above research and my experience training hitters over the years, I think the “gorilla grip” will add more bat and hand speed, than the “door knocking knuckle” grip.  The problem with the “door knocking knuckle” softball batting grip, is that it doesn’t take into account different hand sizes.

When my hitters use the “door knocking knuckle” grip method, the elbows awkwardly hug together in the stance.  It puts the hitter in an unathletic starting position.

 

Softball Batting Grip Experiment Setup

Equipment Used:

Softball Batting Grip Experiment: Zepp

Zepp Baseball App

Setup:

  • Solohitter was set slightly behind the front feedback marker, and ball height was about the hip.
  • First 100 baseballs were hit using a “Door Knocking Knuckles” softball batting grip.
  • Second 100 baseballs were hit using a “Gorilla Grip”.

 

Data Collected (Zepp Baseball App Screenshots)

softball-batting-grip-experiment

Data Analysis & Conclusion

  • “Gorilla Grip” ended up, on average, 2-mph faster bat speed,
  • “Gorilla Grip” ended up, on average, 2-mph faster hand speed, and
  • “Gorilla Grip” ended up, on average, .005 seconds faster Time To Impact.

Notes

  • Tyler had little to no break in between the 100 swings because there was rain coming where he was, and he had to rush to get the experiment done, so even if he was tired during the “Gorilla Grip” test, the metrics didn’t show it.
  • An average increase of 2-mph bat speed can add 8-16 feet of batted ball distance.  1-mph of bat speed = 4 to 8-feet of batted ball distance, depending on pitching velocity.
  • The bottom line about the “Gorilla Grip” is that a 7 year old all the way up to a 21 year old can grip the bat handle in the same part of the hands.  It doesn’t matter the hand size.  The “Gorilla Grip” still works.  The same cannot be said for the “door knocking knuckle” softball batting grip.

In Conclusion

Try this test for yourself, and definitely tinker and test.  What I’d like to see from this same experiment in the future, is to have ample physical rest for the “Gorilla Grip” test, and see where it goes from there.  That being said, from the results of this softball batting grip experiment, I think we can put the “door knocking knuckles” grip MYTH to bed.

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Joey Myers

I’m a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), the International Youth and Conditioning Association (IYCA), and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR).I’m also a HUGE supporter of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).

I’ve spent 11+ years in the corrective fitness industry, and have too many alphabet-soup certifications to bore you with.I also played four years of Division One baseball at Fresno State from 2000-2003.

It’s NOT how you study, but what you study that counts.I apply human movement principles (or rules), validated by science, to hitting a baseball and softball.
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10 Comments

  1. Joe

    Absolutely a great presentation, Joey! Certainly one of the best you have done. See if you can get contact the gorilla’s agent. Maybe you can take this production to Broadway, or maybe a commercial with the Gorilla Tape people.

    Seriously, excellent demonstration and very effective use of Rod Delmonico’s example. By the way, this should be the grip of couch for all hitters.

    • Joey Myers

      Thanks for the feedback on the post Joe! I really appreciate it. lol, I saw that picture of the gorilla and had to contact his agent 😀 Originally, Coach Delmonico used only two examples in his test, the finger in the palm, and the gorilla grip. I add the “in the fingers” one to show another angle.

  2. Joe

    Mantle used that grip. Should be the grip of choice for all hitters. I guess Charley Lau and Walt Hriniak are to blame for the knock knuckle grip. Id trust the gorilla. Excuse the typos, the result of big hands and autocorrect on my phone.

    • Joey Myers

      lol, that’s okay Joe, I’m sure others have fallen into auto-correct faux-paus! I totally agree. I used that grip for four years in middle and high school thanks to Lau.

    • Joey Myers

      Dan, try fast forwarding and pausing the video at the 5:46 mark, and click the link. If you wait till the end, then the link goes away. Let me know if this helps 🙂

  3. Joe

    Charley Lau was a charmer, truly a great guy. But how many hitters did he screw up? He out dueled Ted Williams in the teaching of hitting because Williams was a little too evasive and difficult to deal with. But who understood hitting better? Williams’ book is the seminal guideline for what hitters are doing today. And Williams did it all without video and degrees in biophysics and kinesiology.

    • Joey Myers

      You bet they are Tim. Maybe not like taking 1,000 swings each test, but a good start. Using Zepp on all swings gives us an apples to apples comparison. The Zepp may not be the most accurate device to use, but just as long as we’re comparing the same data across the board.