Could the Forces of Gravity be the Key to Unlock Power?
In this video, we're comparing two athletes from two different sports, rookie outfielder George Springer of the Houston Astros and world record holding Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt. We'll look at how gravity can affect energy transfer forces in human movement, and discuss:
- How-to transfer energy?
- How George Springer & Usain Bolt exploit the forces of gravity, and
- Can Springer be more efficient at transferring energy?
How-To Transfer Energy?
Albert Einstein once said,
“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”
According to this short PBS video on Circus Physics above, there are THREE forms that energy comes in:
- Potential (PE) – Gravitational potential energy, the potential to fall. Or the body's make up of height, weight, and muscle mass. Non-moving. During motion, PE is zero.
- Kinetic (KE) – energy of motion. At rest, KE is zero.
- Elastic (U) – stored in the bar (acrobat video above) or in connective tissue found in the body.
Keep in mind that the total amount of energy does not change. It just takes different forms. There are hitter compensations that upset the natural flow and transfer of energy from body to barrel to ball. George Springer has a movement compensation, but before we get to that, let's talk about…
How George Springer & Usain Bolt Exploit the Forces of Gravity
Let us now compare the use of Gravitational Potential Energy between the two athletes…
According to Dr. Serge Gracovetsky, Physicist, Electrical Engineer, and best known for his theory on spine engine mechanics, in an email conversation I had with him, said this about the relationship between gravity and spine engine mechanics:
“The coupled motion* has nothing to do with gravity. It works in space as well. It is a property of the spine or any flexible rod for that matter. But the interaction with gravity makes interesting results which are exploited by every sport.”
(*Dr. Gracovetsky is talking about the coupled motion of the spine. CLICK HERE and watch from the 2-6 minute mark for a graphical explanation)
Dr. Serge Gracovetsky also talks about when running, at heel strike, there's a compressive pulse that's NINE-times your body weight! As you see in the picture of Usain Bolt, his body is lifting completely off the ground and preparing to fall back to the ground, due to the forces of gravity. He's exploiting these forces to transfer large amounts of energy into efficient motion (Kinetic Energy).
Check out this YouTube video titled “Usain Bolt – Science of Olympic Gold”, for more in-depth analysis (only 1 min, 54 secs long).
In my video, you'll notice George Springer “get shorter” from the start to the Final Turn of his swing. There is one energy transfer leak going on though…
Can Springer be more Efficient at Transferring Energy?
Yes he can. The one glaring energy leak is in a front arm bar. In a past article, I talked about the science of spinning faster. This is definitely something that Springer can change that will optimize energy transfer from body to barrel to ball. Things he does really well:
- Ability to follow the pitch,
- Use of Gravitational forces and forward momentum, and
- Great angle back towards the catcher.