Study Reveals Axe-Shaped Handle Improves Bat Control and Power Transfer, Promotes Safety

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New research shows Axe™ Bat from Baden Sports enhances bat control, power transfer and acceleration, and reduces risk of hand injury compared to traditional bats with round-knob handles.

Axe Bat Handle Diagram

The Axe Bat offers players better bat control and more efficient power transfer compared to traditional bats with round knobs and handles.

Baden Sports, Inc., today announced that an academic study has found an axe-shaped bat handle offers players significantly more bat control, power transfer and acceleration while significantly decreasing the risk of injury compared to traditional bats with round knobs and handles.

The study, conducted by Vijay Gupta, Ph.D., Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering, and a team of researchers, found that the axe-shaped handle on the new Axe Bat gives players better grip stability, improved power transfer and more bat acceleration, resulting in improved hitting performance. Additionally, the study found that the geometrical features of the handle, notably, its oval shape, angled knob and flush backside profile, combine to form a unique, ergonomic design that spreads swing forces more evenly across a batter’s bottom hand, reducing the likelihood of injuries to the hamate bone and ulnar nerve and decreasing the potential for thrown bats.

The study, which used NCAA Division I baseball players and slow-motion video analysis, applied principles of dynamics and biomechanics to compare bats with axe-shaped handles to those with traditional round knobs. The analysis extended to comfort, bat control, transfer of power to the ball and injury potential.

“Looking at both handle types from a biomechanical standpoint, the angled knob with a flush backside offers many compelling advantages,” said Gupta, who authored the study. “This includes a more stable grip and a more even distribution of swing forces on the hand and palm, resulting in a safer, more comfortable, and more controlled swing.”

This finding agrees with other studies where players consistently reported the ergonomic shape of the Axe Bat to be more comfortable.

The Axe Bat is engineered to follow the natural contours of a batter’s hand. The design promotes proper, palm-up, palm-down hitting mechanics and helps batters achieve a more consistent swing plane. The Axe Bat has been approved for play at all youth, collegiate and professional levels and is being used exclusively this spring by more than a dozen college baseball and softball programs nationwide.

“Technology has long played a transformative role in improving modern athletic equipment and performances in all sports – yet, strangely, bat handles look mostly the same as they did generations ago,” said Michael Schindler, CEO, Baden Sports. “The Axe Bat is better for the hitter and safer for the game. Players of all ages and abilities are discovering this daily. We’re excited to be developing the next major bat innovation and look forward to introducing more players to the unique advantages the Axe Bat provides.”

Applying findings of the biomechanical analysis presented in the study, compared to bats with round knobs and handles, the Axe Bat offers:

  •     Improved grip stability: The Axe Bat distributes the forces generated by the bat during the swing over more surface area, resulting in a more stable grip and better bat control.
  •     More efficient power transfer: The geometry of the Axe Bat eliminates the pressure points caused by a round knob, allowing the batter to generate more grip force with less muscle tension. Because less muscle exertion is dedicated to gripping and controlling the bat, the batter is able to transfer more power to the swing.
  •     Enhanced barrel acceleration: The Axe Bat puts the batter’s wrist in a more neutral position, providing an additional 15-20 degrees of in-plane bat rotation prior to ball strike. This gives the batter more space to accelerate the barrel in any direction, enhancing the ability to track the plane of the ball and/or achieve maximum bat speed at the point of contact.
  •     Reduced risk of injury: The Axe Bat allows the batter to better control the “hammer effect” that occurs during ball strike when the lower handle and knob oscillate violently between the fingers and the hypothenar region of the batter’s palm. With a protruding round knob, this effect puts tremendous pressure on the hamate bone and is a major cause of hamate bone injuries. The Axe Bat eliminates the protrusion because of its ergonomic design.
  •     Decreased risk of thrown bats: The Axe Bat removes localized pressure from the ulnar nerve in the lower hand. Bats with round knobs apply greater direct pressure to this area, which can lead to the involuntary relaxation of the grip through the pinching of the ulnar nerve. High-speed video proves that most thrown bats begin with the release of the grip by the lower hand.

The complete study with slow-motion videos can be viewed at Axe Bat models for baseball, fastpitch and slowpitch softball also can be purchased on the website. All meet association standards and include a 30-day money-back guarantee.

About Baden Sports
Baden Sports, Inc., an independent, family-owned company based in Renton, Wash., is a designer and producer of the highest-quality athletic balls. Baden also manufacturers the new Axe™ Bat line of high-performance baseball and softball bats. For 35 years, Baden’s product innovation and leadership have led conferences, programs and coaches at all levels to choose Baden as their official ball. For more information, visit the Axe Bat website, Facebook (Axe Bat Baseball, Axe Bat Fastpitch, Axe Bat Slowpitch) and Twitter pages.

About Vijay Gupta, Ph.D.
Vijay Gupta is a Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received a Bachelor of Technology degree in civil engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, a Master of Science in civil engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from MIT. His research includes sports biomechanics. He holds multiple U.S. patents and is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

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