Baseball loves its numbers. It all started over 170 years ago and has morphed from simple stats to the more complicated data points we collect today. The hot topics right now are launch angle and exit velocity but an over-looked data point for many hitters is the efficiency of their contact. This is what golfers call the “smash factor.” Having the perfect fitting baseball/softball bat the way golfers fit their clubs will help increase your smash factor, get you to a better launch angle and lead to more success.
What is Smash Factor?
Smash Factor is a measure to determine the efficiency of your contact. The more efficient your contact, the higher the smash factor. To calculate smash factor you use the equation:
Exit Velocity / Bat Speed
Here is a simple example on how to calculate smash factor. If a player has a bat speed of 100 MPH and the ball exits the bat at 110 MPH, the smash factor would be 110/100 = 1.1. When you maximize your smash factor with an ideal launch angle, you maximize your distance.
What do I need to calculate Smash Factor?
To calculate smash factor you will need a bat sensor like a Garmin or Blast Motion Bat Sensor to track bat speed and a Pocket Radar or more advanced HitTrax system to track exit velocity. Smash Factors on individual swings are important but an aggregate score from at least 30 swings will give you the most useful information when selecting a bat.
Why is Smash Factor important?
There is a direct correlation between how often you hit the ball hard and how many hits you get. It does not mean that every hard hit ball is going to be a hit, but it gives you a greater likelihood to succeed. Smash Factor is important because efficiency of contact leads to harder hit balls which leads to more hits. It also helps identify the points where hitters begin to over swing for more bat speed and make less efficient contact.
How the perfect bat affects Smash Factor
The perfect bat allows you to consistently make high quality contact with the proper swing weight to maximize exit velocity. That will lead to a higher Smash Factor and better performance. Having a poor fitting bat can negatively impact your bat speed, exit velocity and quality of contact. Having a bat that is too long or too short makes it more difficult to make high quality contact. Too light or too heavy and you are not maximizing your exit velocity. I go over how to find the perfect bat in my Bat Club USA blog.
Your Smash Factor is a key performance indicator that increases your likelihood to succeed but is only a starting point. Practice, lessons and having a well-fitted bat can take your Smash Factor and game to the next level.