As the baseball world gets more and more technical while using science and technology to push the limits, terms that you may or may not know constantly get thrown out. One of these ideas is exit velocity, which is very prevalent in today’s game, mostly at the major league level.
Today, we will break down the term “exit velocity” and give you a much better idea about what it is, how it is calculated, how to increase it, and how it changes over time.
What Is Exit Velocity?
Exit velocity is thrown around a lot in today’s game, as we already laid out. Exit velocity is the speed of the baseball after it hits the bat and travels through the air. Super advanced technology is used to pick out the ball speed without picking up bat speed and other factors.
That is not to say that bat speed and ball speed are not connected, but they are measured separately. The higher the bat speed, the higher chance of a good exit velocity, and vice versa. So, despite them not being categorized with the same number, they are still connected.
Why calculate exit velocity? Well, it tells us a couple of things, but it all comes down to measuring how hard a hitter is connecting with the baseball.
How to Calculate Exit Velocity
At the surface level, calculating exit velocity sounds like some complicated thing that the average person cannot do, but that could not be further from the truth. All it takes is a couple of key pieces of equipment and a partner to help you out.
Because the MLB uses this measurement, it is reasonable to assume that this takes some crazy technology that the common person cannot access. Well, that piece of technology that seems so fancy is actually just a radar gun.
In addition to the gun, you need a good baseball, a bat, a tee, and someone to accompany you with the study. The MLB hasn’t hired a secret satellite in the sky to do this – you can do it at home with these tools.
Now, one big factor to consider is the tee. When hitting off of a tee, the exit velocity will be slightly lower than if you were hitting live pitches. You absolutely can change the test to factor this in, but measuring the tee is usually easier.
To set up the measurement, you need something to hit into. A net or batting cage is best if you do not want to hit on an actual field.
The other person comes in when it comes time to use the radar gun to read the ball. This is very hard to do by yourself, so grab a buddy and get to work.
Once you have everything set up and in place, it is time for the actual measurement. There is no secret equation that a mathematician has to break down to get that magic number. You have your partner point the radar gun at the ball after making contact, and that is your exit velocity! Be careful not to measure your bat speed accidentally and be sure to get the measurement in before that ball hits the net or gets out of range.
Exit Velocities by Age
Before we can break down how to increase exit velocity, it is important to see where you currently stand. There is a general breakdown of common speeds amongst different demographics. Here is that breakdown.
|8 – 13 years
|14 – 15 years
|15 – 18 years
|100+ MPH (wood)
As you can see, there are layers to common exit velocities based on your age. Obviously, many factors go into this, but these figures are the basics.
As you develop as a player, your exit velocity should change. As noted on that model, it is important to make a distinction for wood bats. Aluminum bats have more pop and can create a faster exit for the ball. If you are calculating with a wooden bat, don’t compare yourself too hard against the figures based on metal bats.
How to Increase Exit Velocity
Especially in today’s game, exit velocity is a statistic that’s monitored as much as possible. As the technology and calculation process become more accessible to the common person, we will probably see this measurement become very important in scouting and finding talent.
So, it is reasonable to want to increase your exit velocity. Let’s break down some tips for increasing your exit velocity.
Firstly, a small adjustment to make that measurement higher when hitting a tee is the tee’s placement itself. You do not want it too far out in front or behind. This will cause issues in your swing and will create issues with making solid contact. Place your tee slightly in front of your lead leg, but not too far from where you have to reach.
The next tip is not to go for the home run swing. If you are constantly taking giant hacks looking for a home run, you are more likely to pop the ball up. Even if you make good contact with the ball, but your bat trajectory is going up, your exit velocity will be slower. Hits with higher velocities tend to be line drives or even hard grounders, so keep the angle straight out, not up.
The final tip is to practice and lift a lot. If you are stronger, paired with good technique, you are in a prime position to increase exit velocity.
Hopefully, you understand exit velocity much more now and know how to implement it into your own training. As the industry evolves, it is important to stay up with the times, so use some of these tricks and information to elevate your game!