In baseball, the swing speed and swing angle of the bat just before ball impact are important to increase the speed and horizontal distance of a batted ball. This study investigated the accuracies and error trends of four commercially available bat sensors to measure these parameters. The hitting motions of seven healthy participants were measured simultaneously using the bat sensors and an optical motion capture system, and the swing speeds and swing angles were compared. The swing speed was measured with high accuracy, as indicated by the high intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) between the bat sensor and the motion capture system measurements (mean ICC = 0.78). However, the ICC for the swing angle was lower (mean ICC = 0.58) than that of the swing speed for all but one bat sensor, indicating low accuracy. Moreover, in the high swing speed range, the accuracy of the swing speed tended to decrease for three bat sensors, but the trend of the swing angle was different among bat sensors. Significant systematic biases or proportional errors were found for all bat sensors, indicating the possibility of error correction. The sensor used in this study can help to evaluate the differences between players with different competition levels and hitting motions. Coaches need to be cautious in taking measurements of players with high swing speeds and in assessing slight changes within an individual.
Keywords: accuracy; hitting; inertial measurement unit; motion capture system; swing assessment; validation.