Blast Motion Hitting Analysis

So the other day I had a thought about How you should consider using Blast Motion as part of you hitting program. I quickly mentioned metrics in the post as I didn’t want to get too deep into the metrics and focus more on the outside environmental ideas behind using the technology. Anyways you can read it here.

I wanted to dig deeper today and look at what a hitting analysis would look like if you were to use only a Blast sensor. I’m imagining a program where you might not have access to Rapsodo or Flightscope or anything beyond a radar gun and a Blast Sensor. So basically you had $300 to throw around and you got these two things. Which in my opinion would put you above a lot of people at this point.

How would I track my hitters using these the Blast Motion? I would put my focus on two metrics that I think provide us with actionable outcomes based off of the information. Those two metrics are Bat Speed and Attack Angle. (If you have a premium account I might also track Vertical Bat Angle but I will not speak on that here today).

I would keep my evaluations very simplistic. The basic format would be set up where I would have players hit in two different situations one where they are hitting off of a firm front toss say 30–35 feet away.

Any of this type of stuff would suffice:

I would gather metrics in this situation by having players hit with the sensor on it. I would be tracking Attack Angle and Bat Speed so that I can have a running record of it. I would have some form of a chart or something on my phone in Google Sheets to be able to plug in information quickly on the spot (Players could also help with this as they stand on deck potentially).

After gathering the information off of a game like practice situation I would then place hitters into a game situation real pitcher throwing a mix of pitches and changing speeds. This would help me to figure out if his swing matches up or translates to the game.

Once I have a far amount of information possibly 20–40 swings in each situation we can begin to pull out some different data points to talk to the player about. I wouldn’t make anything extreme. Just a simple spreadsheet or Google Data Studio site that would show players a graph of their Attack Angle and Bat Speed. If I get comfortable with this setup I would gather Exit Velocity information using a Radar Gun (I know this isn’t perfect but I’m not going to let perfect get in the way of good in this situation).

Now here is the part we need to take action on. We need to look at the data that has been given us as coaches and plan what is the most pressing need for the player? What would be secondary for them to work on? I think keeping it simple with two metrics gives us a good idea of flaws hitters might have.

Essentially a couple of outcomes are possible with the simplicity of limited metrics.

Attack Angle:

  1. Hitters are swinging too far upward. (Above 15 degrees consistently)
  2. Hitters are swinging too far downward (Or flat anything below 8 degrees)
  3. Hitters swing differently depending on stress put on the brain and body.

Bat Speed:

  1. Hitter swings too slow.
  2. Hitter has good bat speed but has more left in the tank.
  3. Hitters swing with good bat speed but can still swing harder.
  4. Bat speed is different depending on the stress put on the brain and body.

From this point I am sharing information with the hitter and we are having a group discussion about the metrics that they have in front of themselves. What they mean. We are defining them. We are as a team creating an open dialogue about what this information means and most importantly why it can help us as hitters.

Ideas of how we can adjust metrics upward or downward will then be discussed. Bat speed programs will be laid out for hitters. We may possibly even look at verbal or external cues that may help hitters to change their attack angle or bat speed during practice.

Lastly we will retest our hitters. We need to come back to these metrics consistently because they are important for us to examine. This can not just be a cool I am interested in my metrics. This needs to be something that we come back to consistently to help our hitters. Growth should happen over time. Once a hitter knows how hard he swings he should be able to gain on it over time. I wouldn’t be on the sensor every day either.

I would talk about swing characteristics and ball flight characteristics that may help hitters identify problems in their swing that they can self identify and fix on their own. Saying that you can’t use the technology because all that you have is a few metrics is not good enough. The more that we can push players and coaches to use the simplistic technology that is available to them the better.

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Joshua Rodrigues

Joshua Rodrigues

MED: Instructional Tech, Previous: Rays BBOPS, UMass Dartmouth, Salve Regina, Old Colony, Bourne Braves, Baseball EDU