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Why I Teach Hitters To ‘Show Numbers’ (And Maybe You Should Too)
Question: How does ‘Showing Numbers’ to the Pitcher Effect Bat Speed at Impact versus ‘NOT Showing’ them?
Using the Zepp (Labs) Baseball app, I wanted to use the Scientific Method to analyze if a hitter showing their numbers to the pitcher at landing adds to or takes away from key swing performance metrics like Bat Speed at Impact, Time To Impact, and Attack Angle. This swing experiment is revisiting two other experiments done analyzing the same thing.
Since we’re REVISITING two previous swing experiments on ‘Showing Numbers’ versus NOT, here are the original posts and data to get you up to speed:
- Want To ADD Between 25 to 40-Feet Of Batted Ball Distance?, and
- Buster Posey: ADD 6-mph To Bat Speed Using The Shoulders
In 2016 ‘Show Numbers’ swing experiment, this was what the averaged out Zepp data looked like:
- 5-mph INCREASE in Bat Speed at Impact with ‘Showing Numbers’,
- 0.5-mph INCREASE in Hand Speed Max with ‘Showing Numbers’,
- .003 second DECREASE in Time to Impact with ‘Showing Numbers’,
- 3* INCREASE in Bat Vertical Angle at Impact with ‘Showing Numbers’, and
- 1.5* INCREASE in Attack Angle with ‘Showing Numbers.
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Now, let’s see how the Ball Exit Speed averages compare:
- 76.02-mph BES when ‘NOT Showing Numbers’,
- 77.32-mph BES when ‘Showing Numbers’,
- That’s a 1.3-mph average INCREASE when ‘Showing Numbers’, and
- Translates between 5.2-feet to 7.8-feet of EXTRA batted ball distance – depending on if you calculate using 1-mph BES = 4-feet of distance OR 1-mph BES = 6-feet of distance.
In this experiment, if you look at the ‘NOT Showing Numbers’ swings, they were actually ‘Showing Numbers’. In other words, the subject in the swing experiment, Preston Scott, already shows his numbers well causing a challenge to not show them. Therefore on the ‘Showing Numbers’ swings, he showed them more. I think that’s why we didn’t see as much of a difference in Ball Exit Speeds.
In 2014 ‘Show Numbers’ swing experiment, this was what the averaged out Zepp data looked like:
- Bat speed for NOT showing numbers at landing: 73-mph,
- Bat speed for showing numbers at landing: 79-mph (+6-mph),
- Highest bat speed for NOT showing numbers at landing: 82-mph,
- Highest bat speed for showing numbers at landing: 88-mph (+6-mph),
- Hand speed max for NOT showing numbers was: 27-mph, and
- Hand speed max for showing numbers was: 29-mph (+2-mph).
Between both swing experiments, we saw an average Bat Speed at Impact increase between 5 to 6-mph. In 2016 we saw a .003 second drop in Time To Impact ‘Showing Numbers’, while in 2014 we saw a .003 increase.
The research on increasing bat or ball exit speed can be seen in the following two books on springy fascia and spinal engine mechanics:
You can also get application of previously mentioned books through the following HPL video blog posts.
- Miguel Cabrera and the timing of torque.
- Josh Donaldson v. Jose Bautista: how spine engine mechanics are amplified by Gravitational Forces, and
- Adrian Gonzalez: how-to naturally spring load the body.
For those versed in Anatomy, for explosive movement on the Transverse Plane (twisting), there must be a protraction of the front scapula (‘showing numbers’), and a retraction of the back Scapula (what’s often referred to as ‘Scap Row’). Scap Rowing by itself doesn’t engage full range of springy fascia.
Based on the above research, I’m expecting to see a dramatic bump in Bat Speed at Impact, Hand Speed Max, and possibly a reduction in Time To Impact. I think Attack Angle and Bat Vertical Angle at Impact will remain unchanged.
Showing Numbers Swing Experiment Part-3
- Zepp Baseball app (to measure Bat Speed, Hand Speed, Time to Impact, & Attack Angle),
- SwingAway Bryce Harper model hitting station,
- GS6 android phone to record swings, and
- 33 inch bamboo bat.
- SwingAway Bryce Harper bungy suspended ball was set equal to the landing foot, and ball height was about knee height.
- I broke each swing down into three steps: 1) Get to landing, 2) Pause for 2-secs, and 3) Swing. The reason for this was to better control whether I was showing numbers or not.
- The two tests in the swing experiment were counter-balanced. Which consisted of eight blocks of 25-swings done in the following order ABBA BAAB. ‘Showing Numbers’ was letter ‘A’, and ‘NOT Showing Numbers’ was letter ‘B’. 200 total swings were completed in the experiment, 100 per test. Counter-balancing helps remove the “getting tired” and “warm up” factors.
- The ‘Showing Numbers’ swing shoulders were set to about 2’o’clock, if pitcher is 12’o’clock. The ‘NOT Showing Numbers’ swing shoulders were set to about 12’o’clock.
Data Collected from Zepp Baseball App:
Data Analysis & Conclusion
Zepp data analysis comparing the averages:
- Bat Speed at Impact INCREASE of 3-mph ‘Showing Numbers’,
- Hand Speed Max DECREASE of 1-mph ‘Showing Numbers’,
- Time To Impact INCREASE of 0.014 ‘Showing Numbers’,
- Bat Vertical Angle At Impact DECREASE of 4-degree ‘Showing Numbers’, and
- Attack Angle INCREASE of 6-degrees ‘Showing Numbers’.
The drop from previous ‘Showing Numbers’ swing experiments was surprising, in addition to a small 1-mph drop in Hand Speed Max. There was also a slight increase in Time To Impact. The interesting numbers were the ones that indicate Launch Angles, both Bat Vertical Angle at Impact and Attack Angle. We hadn’t experienced such a dramatic uptick in those in past experiments.
A couple notes…
- The past two experiments were done in a cage, off a tee, so I could see ball flight, and maybe that had an effect on the swing metrics.
- Some hitting coaches speak highly of Time To Impact and want to reduce at all cost, but I disagree. There’s a healthy range for that, you don’t want it too short or too long. I’m not going to get into why here, maybe in another post.
- To explain the dramatic increase of the barrel’s upward trajectory in ‘Showing Numbers’, I may have been getting more of a downward shoulder angle at landing.