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Lightning Baseball Academy

Lightning Baseball Academy

Technology - Helping or Hurting?

Is technology helping, or hurting, player development?

At first glance, one would think that it’s a simple answer.  When considering technology like HitTrax, Rapsodo, SmartMitt and more, let alone immediate video analysis, social media, YouTube videos, etc. it seems like the answer would be a resounding “yes!”.

Unfortunately, in the hands of an inexperienced coach/instructor, these tools ultimately hamper a player’s development.

At the higher levels  (be it many colleges or professional baseball), when coaches have access to a player on a daily basis, that technology can be an incredibly valuable tool if they know what to do with it.

However, in the hands of the less experienced coach/instructor (whether they recognize their inexperience is for another day) these tools create more problems than they solve.

As an example, YouTube can be a great resource of information (videos, blogs and more).  Unfortunately so many inexperienced coaches (and, let’s be honest, many of them are the ones posting videos on YouTube) see a video and immediately implement that drill.  I think a good example would be Aaron Judge.  Aaron Judge is 6’8” and 260 and LA (Launch Angle) is good for him.   LA is not great for a player that is 100 lbs because it won’t get out of the infield.  We have coaches saying collapse back side and hit like Aaron Judge and coaches telling a 100lb kid to hit the ball in the air more.  Not very effective.  Sadly they don’t know what the drill is correcting for and yet they suddenly have every player doing this drill – without recognizing that possibly many of their hitters don’t have the flaw that the drill is correcting for.  

Or these coaches see a video taken of one swing, from a MLB hitter, and decide that they want to teach all of their hitters to swing like that.  Unfortunately, they only saw one swing, on an off-speed pitch as an example and didn’t realize what occurred, let alone that it was done by one of the better athletes in the world.  They automatically assume their hitters should be replicating that particular swing, even if it was simply an athletic effort that resulted in success.

But that lack of understanding, being introduced to an entire team of young players, begins to create very bad habits in all hitters swings.  And the accessibility to that information, can cause many more problems than would occur without that information.

Another great piece of technology, HitTrax (one of our favorite resources), measures many things, but the most prominent is “launch angle”.  Sadly, so many unqualified coaches/instructors think that hitting the ball in the air more often, at a higher angle, equates to success.  Sadly, a better launch angle is not necessarily hitting the ball higher into the air. A better launch angle can be a lower angle, because the hitter is hitting the ball too high (like 42 degree launch angle, down to 24 degree launch angle). But these coaches don’t really understand that and, in turn, teach the kids to hit the ball into the air more.  This ruins more hitters swings, than anything we’ve recently been exposed to.  And it all stems from simply not understanding what launch angle truly means.

Ultimately, like anything else, information in the right hands is critical to the success of development.  With the wonderful technological advances, there are so many opportunities for our young athletes.  However, it is the responsibility of the coaches/instructors to do the work to know how best to utilize that technology to help their kids.

DT

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Lightning Baseball Academy
851 N Noble Drive  Parker Colorado 80138

Phone: 303-596-4630
Email: [email protected]

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