The evolution and integration of technology, particularly sensors, has revolutionized how we analyze and breakdown hitting mechanics. Kiss your batting average goodbye as the new statistic line will include hip mobility ratios, standard deviation of attack angle, and other metrics that are just that – metrics. The collective offensive data being gathered from all levels of baseball will provide fascinating insights and roadmaps to generally agreed upon best practices. Swing down is dead. Private instructors will be replaced by data points and algorithms programmed to spew out the roadmap to offensive prowess based on a rubric built around Mike Trout or Barry Bonds or insert name here. Crystal ball and data aside – one must feel, one must adjust, one must hit.
Baseball’s technology evolution has happened quickly. Diamond Kinetics, Blast Motion, and HitTrax have put phenomenal products on the market amongst others that measure critical data points. A common question when people work with and see our product for the first time is…what does it measure? The answer – nothing and that’s the beauty and simplicity of WhipStick. It’s designed strictly around feel. The unweight of the barrel during load, the rotation and turn of the body into contact, and the underlying acceleration of the barrel generating exit velocity. A data point is a measure, a lot of data creates a trend but ultimately the things one feel, change, and implement alter those trends. The data alone can’t do it. We’ve positioned our product in the hands of some great data people putting the numbers behind our product. Would the greatest offenders from the last 50 years have been better for knowing today’s data; let the debate roll on.
Bat speed is a tool – it greatly enhances one’s ability to hit but it’s a cog in a complex task. Hitting involves memory recall, pitch recognition, adapting approach towards team at bats, intuition, and strike zone awareness amongst many others. Hitters need to embrace the technological trends to better their angles of attack, improve overall bat speed, and address launch angles that are appropriate for their individual power ability. The incorporation of a variety of tools is a necessity to develop the feel for a hitter’s body, a hitter’s swing, and develop understanding enough of their individual swing to influence the data. A data point can’t help you make an adjustment in the batter’s box nor provide that instantaneous feel when you know it was barreled right in the cage. We live in a baseball world where the best organizations and structure use data to reinforce the natural feel of a hitters swing. Literally swinging down won’t improve your offensive resume but perhaps the classic coaching cue will help a hitter level his plane, feel something unique, and find something that will help them down the road.