Tip or Barrel: Which is The More Accurate Measurement of Bat Speed?
Why are the Bat Speed Recon's readings higher than knob-based units?
The Recon measures the speed of the tip of the bat directly before contact.
Knob-based units estimate the speed of the barrel before contact.
The further down the bat you travel the faster the speed is of that point.
Typical Knob-Based Estimates for Swing Speed (estimating 6" from tip of bat)
Pro : 70-80mph
High School : 60-70mph
Typical Bat Speed Recon Measurements (measuring tip of the bat)
High School: 75-95mph
The swing travels on an arc, this is why an actual accurate measurement of the sweet spot of the bat is almost impossible. So knob-based units did the next best thing which is to estimate the speed of the sweet spot directly before contact using an accelerometer.
Accelerometers are good at measuring acceleration but they have a margin of error when measuring speed accurately. Typically you'll see a margin of error of 3-5mph.
3-5mph is a big deal when you're doing proper bat speed training. Every 1mph equates to 5 ft of additional flight on an optimally launched baseball.
You may take your fastest swing ever and get a readout that's 5mph slower. On the other hand, you may take a swing that's closer to your actual record and get a hot reading of 5mph faster. In either circumstance, the feedback you're receiving is not accurate enough to trust.
The Recon takes an actual measurement, not an estimate, of the time that the tip of the bat takes to pass through both led emitters and instantly displays a bat speed that's precise to 0.1mph.
This is why when we're talking about bat speed or swing speed, the industry-standard should refer to the tip of the bat, not the barrel or sweet spot.
Think about it from another perspective - 60 yard dash times.
Player A runs a 6- yard dash while being timed by his dad counting out loud and since they didn't have a tape measure long enough they walked off what they thought was 60 yards. They come to the conclusion that the player runs his 60 in 6.5s.
Player B does it differently and has 60 yards precisely measured out and is timed by two lasers, one at the start and one at the finish line. His time comes out to 6.9s.
If you're a college coach comparing players who do you trust? If you're one of the players and your goal is to get faster which method would you use to track progress?
Accurate measurement is everything when it comes to training bat speed properly.