The More You Know
Having real-time feedback on each rep of a training routine can be great. With the ability to help us understand a player’s health, efficiency and where they stand amongst the competition. Technology for capturing measurable data outputs and analytics is now readily at our fingertips. While the companies producing these technologies work to make these metric more relative to the baseball world each day.
But are we becoming too obsessed with all the advanced data and analytics (i.e. spin-rate/axis, tilt, launch angles, etc) that we’re sabotaging our priorities? Honestly, do we really understand all of these metrics so well that we’re willing to invest so much time and money into trying to “improve” them?
What do these analytics entail?
A majority of this technology comes in the form of sensors accompanied by software to display the data captured. With tech companies like Rapsodo and Hit-Trax utilizing advanced sensors and cameras to offer game like simulation modes. Along with real-time measurable data such as spin-rate/axis/efficiency, velocity, tilt, strike-zone tracking, launch angles and exit velocity. Whereas companies like Diamond-Kinetics have taken a less robust but more economical approach. Implementing sensor technology directly into the ball to provide spin-rate and velocity data. In addition, tech companies like Motus-Sleeve, Diamond-Kinetics, Blast-Motion and Zepp are also taking advantage of “wearable sensors”. Whether in a compression sleeve on your arm or mounted to the knob of your bat. These “wearable” sensors are designed track the speed, time and path of movement. In an effort to analyze arm and bat path, measure force to joints and help better understand individual mechanics.
Our Approach to Software, Technology & Data to Improve Performance
In spite of these trends to incorporate gadgets, sensors and data feedback into America’s pass time. Our approach to using technology is a little different. Don’t get me wrong, we can appreciate that these days everyone loves a gadget, and data feedback is great. But we feel on-field results and visible improvement should remain the priority. So our Throw Smart Mobile App utilizes simple to collect measurable outputs. Then using advanced data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze those measurables and prescribe an optimal strength training and throwing program. This personalized approach is designed to maximize the increase of on-field performance. By providing training and education that specifically addresses each athlete’s individual needs. This unique experience and constant adaptation to the individual is unmatched. Adjusting the program and recommendations daily based on circumstances specific to the athlete (progress, workload, schedule, location, equipment, etc).
Not to discount the value the real-time metrics acquired from these other new technologies provide to today’s game. Implementing these modern day technologies for capturing and tracking measurable data that an athlete can produce is great. If utilized properly they can provide beneficial information for programming training routines and assessing the skills and mechanics of individual athletes.
So What Do You Do With It
However, as is the case for every product. These modern technologies for collecting advanced metrics are not for everyone. The fact is, as simple and user friendly as these technologies may make capturing data. Understanding and making use of that data is MUCH more complex. For a seasoned coach, trainer or elite level veteran player these metrics can be beneficial and worth the money spent. But for the amateur player, parent and coach; time and money is probably much better spent on professional instruction, guidance, or a diamond specific personal training app like Throw Smart.
Because you can get all the data you want but unless you know what it means or how to make use of it, it’s essentially useless. So yes, all of the information generated from the new technology in America’s past-time is great for the advancement of the sport. But it’s not for everyone. If you don’t understand or utilize it properly then it serves little to no value and is essentially a waste of money.
For example: It has been shown that at the elite and professional levels of baseball; there is a stronger correlation to strikeouts from spin-rate (RPM) than ball velocity (MPH) alone.
***But do you know how to improve a player’s spin rate?
Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?
I like to compare purchasing data collecting technology to purchasing medical equipment. As an example, the average price to have an ultrasound performed in the US is $300. For the same price as two visits ($600) you can buy a portable ultrasound machine right now on Ebay (by the way, it’s new, with good reviews and multiple sold). Or a better example might be an otoscope – the device doctors use to check your ears for an ear infection. You can purchase at home versions for $30 to $60. Which on average is much cheaper than a single visit to your pediatrician to have your child’s ears checked. But would owning either of these pieces of equipment be useful to you or worth the purchase? If you don’t know what it’s actually showing/telling you is it worth buying?
Unless of course you are willing to spend the money just to use it for comparative purposes. In that case, when the Statcast screen pops up during an MLB game, take a look at what the elite players can produce and compare to your own bench-marks.
Train, Prepare, Compete
Just like using a radar gun as a tool for health. You must understand and implement the technology properly, otherwise it is of very little value. Hard work will not guarantee success but it will lower the risk for failure. The Throw Smart Mobile App features an exercise library of over 1,600 different exercises and drills. Utilizing AI to personally prescribed those exercises on an individual bases to eliminate weak links and improve health and performance.