PITTSBURGH – Trying to understand Applied Power and what it means may seem complicated (because it doesn’t fall under ‘standard baseball language’), But Applied Power is actually a very simple concept to learn and to apply to your training.
Above we have created an infographic that puts a real world application to the baseball swing (Thomas Edison would be proud). The numbers are based upon the Applied Power scores that register one standard deviation above the mean for youth, high school varsity and collegiate baseball players in the Diamond Kinetics’ database.
As we can see, a youth player generates around 700 watts of applied power, a high school player around 1400 watts of applied power and a collegiate player around 1700 watts.
(Youth) (Collegiate) (High School Varsity)
What does this mean?
Take a look at the list below of other items comparable to the watts (or energy) created during the baseball swing:
• 1,000 watts to 3,000 watts: heat output of a domestic electric kettle
• 1,100 watts: power of a microwave oven
• 1,366 watts: power per square meter received from the Sun at the Earth’s orbit
• 1,500 watts: legal limit of power output of an amateur radio station in the United States
• up to 2,000 watts: approximate short-time power output of sprinting professional cyclists and weightlifters doing snatch lifts
• 2,400 watts: average power consumption per person worldwide in 2008
The penultimate item in the list of worth noting since it is the only one that requires a purely physically application by a human. Take note of the phrase “short-time power output”. A snatch lift, as we can see, is a very physical and violent motion that takes place in a matter of seconds – much like the baseball swing.
Think of this when thinking of how to use and explain Applied Power.
At Diamond Kinetics, we define Applied Power as: the average power that is applied to the bat during the swing with the hands and body. A higher Applied Power score causes the bat to reach a higher momentum more quickly. Plus, more Applied Power allows a batter to start a swing later, giving more time to recognize a pitch and still hit the ball far. Since the distance a ball travels after contact depends on barrel speed at impact (and the weight of the bat), more Applied Power means that it takes less time to reach Max Barrel Speed using a given weight bat.
So simply put, more applied power ———-> better results.
Here’s another way to look at it.
Think of the baseball swing like a coiled spring. The more energy and effort one uses to push the spring down before releasing it, the further the spring will go.
Having said that, if someone who is 20 years old, stands 6’0″ tall and weighs 210 lbs., exerts the same amount of energy, relative to size and strength, as someone who is 13 years old, 5’7 and 135 lbs., the spring released by the 20-year old will travel further.
That seems like simple, common knowledge. But in terms of the baseball swing, this concept ties directly into the weight of the bat – a very important part of maximizing swing energy output.
The reason the spring released by the 20 year old travels further (even if he and the 13-year old are both exerting 2,000 watts of power), is because he is heavier and physically stronger.
In terms of the baseball swing, a ball struck by a 32-ounce bat swung by someone who exerts 2,000 watts of Applied Power, will travel further than someone swinging a 28-ounce bat who exerts 2,000 watts of Applied Power (assuming the balls are struck the same exact way). This is a very important part of evaluating Applied Power.
Ultimately, building more potential energy (watts) during the swing leads to more kinetic energy (joules) being released during the swing.
While these concepts are new as it applies to baseball, they have been used in everyday language in the physics and engineering worlds for over 200 years. It’s just a matter of time before they become part of the everyday lexicon of the game of baseball (if they haven’t already).