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?
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.
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.
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
- Zepp Baseball app,
- SwingAway MVP Bryce Harper model (Tyler used a Solohitter I believe),
- Camera phone and Tripod, and
- Minus-3 33 inch comp bat.
- 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)
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.
- 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.
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.