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Author Topic: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?  (Read 1341 times)

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DorsetDan

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Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« on: October 06, 2017, 07:37:51 PM »

Hi all,

I figured I'd post this in the B3 section as they are one of the more forward thinking companies and have the technology to bring some of these musing to life and the experience to say I'm talking nonsense....  :)

Handle shapes are deeply personal and it has stuck me that you'll often hear good players saying this is the first thing they look for in a bat. Usually most of the focus seem to be on the shape of the bottom hand and of course this is a factor in different styles of player being comfortable and being able to play to their strengths.

However, the basic shape doesn't vary too much particularly at the top hand which is largely responsible for control and foundations of a shot (from the perspective of the movement of the arms/ hands at least, of course this is the end of the chain in the overall sequence of playing a shot).

If you look at a variety of things you grip, very few are round and the same diameter across the hand. Where you are trying to have a solid grip on something the "handle" is usually wider on the side by the little finger. Ergonomic designs like this are usually designed to avoid ulnar nerve impingement and generally overworking the muscles connected to the smaller fingers which are grippers rather than dexterous compared to other fingers.

Anyone still awake?

So I did some googling and it turns out this type of idea exists in other sports and has for a while. It probably exists in Golf too but I've never been even vaguely interested enough in the sport to check :)
https://sports.yahoo.com/news/why-dustin-pedroia-uses-the-axe-bat--which-may-make-the-round-handle-obsolete-013113798.html



Now, I'm not an expert in wrist biomechanics (PhD was knee biomechanics though) and neither have I tried this on a cricket bat but it does make sense. The picture isn't the best and exaggerates things but does start to get across what I had in mind of having a more supported grip surface on the top hand towards the smaller fingers and more neutral wrist through the overall shape.



It needn't be as pronounced as this baseball example since you may wish to still have some room to open the face of the bat slightly through changing the top hand grip for certain bowlers and field placements etc. By and large though a solid, comfortable top hand grip is going to stand you in good stead and it makes sense (in my mind at least) if the handle shape by the top hand is more oval than is tradition and gets slightly thicker towards the top of the handle where the palm of the hand will sit.

The second interesting point of the Axe Handle design is the shape of the top knob to really lock in that top hand. Baseball isn't the same as cricket for shot mechanics where you need the longest lever moving as quickly as possible in baseball and cricket is far more mixed in terms of shots but I've noticed that many of the top players tend to do this anyway, either by design or by coincidence with quite rounded handle knobs that sit snugly against the top hand. Mr. AB is a good example of this in the masterclass video below. 1:27 is a nice still showing his top hand pushed up against the large round knob/ counterbalance. Basically, more support for the top hand in another direction. You could argue you may wish to move the top hand up and down a bit for different conditions but other will like to keep this as consistent as possible.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTRx3cUDfXo

So, if anyone is still awake ( @The Doctor ?) ... good idea? Daft idea? Already been done and failed? No way it can be done within the laws of the bat? Not practical to manufacture? Can anyone rescue my sanity with any input on this idea?  :D
« Last Edit: October 06, 2017, 07:46:21 PM by DorsetDan »
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InternalTraining

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2017, 07:44:53 PM »

I'd love to try it, great idea!

I do something similar with my handle with second grip so that top hand is locked in and doesn't move/slip upwards and make bat control much easier.
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DorsetDan

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2017, 07:53:42 PM »

Yes, likewise. I didn't think about the location of the top hand much until I bought a second hand bat that had two rings of cut up grips on top of each other under the main grip. By instinct, I locate the bottom hand and snug the top hand against it whereas doing it the other way around does seem to change things. The other thing that got this train of thought going was buying an (allegedly) pro bat which has quite an oval top hand and feels very natural and solid to grip. A rounder handle now just feels weird. Put the top hand locator and oval upper handle shape together with the addition of the handle getting thicker towards the top and I reckon it could be a winner
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Gurujames

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2017, 08:27:20 PM »

Yes, I agree. Adidas hockey sticks last season had a pronounced oval top hand and they felt lovely. I often put a few winds of self amalgamating tape right at the top of the handle to give that enlarged 'end' to the handle and it does feel good.
I think you have something here as there does seem to be only 3 real choices in handle. Round, semi oval or oval.
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Gurujames

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2017, 08:29:41 PM »

But then again, as you say, it's such a personal thing that providing a standard basis that people can easily modify to suit themselves could possibly be better, particulary for off the shelf brands.
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WalkingWicket37

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2017, 08:38:56 PM »

So in summary we all need huge knobs attached to the top of our bat handles?
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DorsetDan

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2017, 08:48:08 PM »

Oval, thicker at the top and something to rest against. Big knob end optional :)
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DorsetDan

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2017, 08:54:24 PM »

But then again, as you say, it's such a personal thing that providing a standard basis that people can easily modify to suit themselves could possibly be better, particulary for off the shelf brands.

I agree, I reckon keeping a handle quite neutral and inoffensive to the majority of people is of more benefit to a brand

It could also be a product of traditional handle construction. Not easy to make this kind of shape though CNC could change that (provided the cane doesn't get munched up in the CNC)

The laws of the game also say the handle should be wood and straight but if oval lower sections are allowed I don't see why you can't play with the top section too
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Biggie Smalls

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2017, 09:59:39 AM »

My xp80s have a fairly oval top hand and ive grown fond of it . Id be keen to try an axe grip top hand of handle for sure .
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Jaffa

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2018, 05:22:17 PM »

Been thinking about why I prefer the handle on my Hunts so much. I initially though that it was just because it was the oval handle, now I'm seeing that it also has to do with the top.

My grip is so my hands are very far apart. So much so that my top hand little finger wraps around the very top. On a Hunts handle the top is rounded off so my little finger sits comfortably lower in between the top of the grip and the top of the handle. Even with my limited ability it seems to give me more feel on where the bat is as such.

This seems to feel very comfortable/natural to me so I'll be modifying a few other bats to suit.

I wonder what you guys think about this.
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Jlscarroll17

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Re: Handle shape and design- room for improvement?
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2018, 07:04:13 PM »


That's how I have my handle on all of my bats, reasonably thick bottom hand packed out with roles of medical tap to make sure it sits perfectly, very thin at the top so I feel in total control with my top hand which rests against the MASSIVE KNOB at the top
« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 07:15:06 PM by Jlscarroll17 »
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