Updated: January 11, 2024

The Power of Pivot Points in Your Bat’s Performance

Swing pivot point crucial for bat performance and feel.

Bat performance is significantly influenced by the pivot point of your swing, affecting swing weight and feel. Individual mechanics and grip alter this pivot point, explaining variations in bat performance and the potential for inconsistent results.

If you’re wondering why your performance of the bat does not match the demonstration you saw or why your plate appearances are not having the same results as your BP or soft toss sessions, it may have something to do with the pivot point of your swing. Because everyone’s swing is at least a bit different and can pivot around a different part of the bat, the swing weight of a bat changes based on who is swinging it.

We don’t talk too much about the pivot points. But, in short, it’s the main determinant factor of how your bat feels.

We start with a question.

What is the greatest determining factor in a bat’s swing weight?
A. Length
B. Balance Point
C. Total Mass (Weight)
D. Pendulum Period
E. The Pivot

Answer: (E). Explanation: The length (A), much against popular wisdom, has NOTHING to do with the swing weight. The pendulum period (D), on the other hand, affects a bat’s swing weight by an order of magnitude over its weight (C) and balance point (D), both of which are significant. And the single greatest factor determining a bat’s swing weight: the pivot point (E). The bat’s pivot affects swing weight more than any other factor.

Why the Pivot Point Matters So Much

Don’t get us wrong: we preach swing weight (in nerd circles, we call it MOI) from day one. It is the single most important factor in your bat-buying decision. We spend considerable time calculating the MOI with each bat we review.

A bat’s MOI changes based on where you pivot the bat during your swing. If someone else has a different pivot point because, among other things, they grip the bat differently or have slightly different mechanics, then you can expect the bat to feel differently. As well, if you have even slightly different mechanics in your BP and Tee work sessions than you do in game, then you can expect the bat to feel differently at the plate.

It is to say, in short, your best bat isn’t the one someone else swings the best and not because of some voodoo marketing magic and the power of belief, but because the laws of the universe literally make the bat feel different in your hands because you have a different pivot point.

How the swing weight changes as your pivot point changes

The chart below is useful, we think.

This takes three popular BBCOR bats: The DeMarini Voodoo One, The Louisville Slugger Select PWR, and the Cat X Composite, and charts their swing weights when you change where the bat pivots. (You can read more about swing weight here to understand the process better. But, in short, know that the swing weight changes based on where you rotate the bat).

If your type of swing pivots the bat more towards your body (where most pivots occur), then you’ll find the three bats to have distinctly different swing weights. If you use the 6-inch mark from the knob (where the industry reports and measures swing weight), then the One and Composite will feel similar, while the PWR will feel heavier. If your pivot is at the 12-inch mark, in a choke-up situation, then each bat will feel they have the same swing weight.

Change Your Bat’s Swing Weight

Before we dive into the specifics here, it seems appropriate to point out that rarely can we change things in a vacuum, as one might say. In a laboratory, we can hold all other things constant and then measure the differences as we affect inputs. In real life, especially in young and growing kids, we can’t hold all other things constant as we fiddle around with inputs.

But if you could, this is how you can increase or decrease your bat’s swing weight.

How to Decrease Swing Weight

  1. Choke up.
  2. Improve your mechanics so the pivot is as close to your hands as possible. When Tony Gwynn talks about swinging the knob, he is saying this. Change the pivot of your bat such that it is further away from your body and in the knob of your bat.
  3. Do nothing to your swing and buy a bat with a lower swing weight.

How to Increase Swing Weight

  1. Put your bottom hand as far down on the knob as you can. Or, as some do, put your bottom hand over the knob.
  2. Add weight to the knob of your bat.
  3. Do nothing to your swing and buy a bat with a higher swing weight.

Pivot Points, Summary

The pivot point of your swing significantly affects bat performance. Different pivot points can alter the swing weight and feel of a bat. This pivot point variation explains why your bat may not perform like the ones you saw from others or why you might struggle to produce consistent results. The balance point, total mass, and pendulum period are less influential than the pivot point. Individual mechanics and grip can change the pivot point and the bat’s swing weight. To adjust the swing weight, choking up or changing the pivot location can decrease or increase it. Additionally, buying a bat with a lower or higher swing weight or modifying the bat’s knob can affect the swing weight.