For years, under the umbrella of athletic development, everyone besides skill coaches has been continuing to use tech to measure their athletes during the season. Strength Coaches measure strength and speed during the season to keep track of fatigue and overall strength. Physical Therapists continue to provide rehabilitation exercises with previously injured athletes during the season for prevention and growth. At the professional level, Mental Skills coaches are a part of this as well, building and maintaining the work they put in during the off-season. Why does this not happen as much for hitting and pitching? Part of the issue is fear, if what I am doing is working, why should I mess with it? Contrarily, if an athlete is struggling in an area, there is a need to simplify or rethink what is happening. This is the feedback loop that will ultimately lead to failure at some point because of the way baseball works. Every athlete to ever play this game goes through highs and lows and tech CAN be the bridge to help ride the wave.
This begs the question, where does tech fit in during the season? Do we actually need it anymore or does it sit on the mantle until the next off-season rolls around? Certainly, there is a time and place for development just as there is for the simple act of playing the game, but we can not lose the off-season gains that we made by going through the motions of in-season practices, games, and training. Using technology, we can continue to build the strengths that we worked so hard to achieve and chip away at the weaknesses that will sooner or later expose us. In the same vein, we can start to see fatigue in lower bat speed and exit velocity numbers, quality of contact metrics, etc. Technology does not run the show but gives an insight into what is really going on throughout the season and when to slow down or ramp up. We can eliminate a coaches’ opinion and get objective feedback on if there is an issue with either skill, strength, or health. As an athlete, you are either working to continue maintaining development or leaving it up to chance whether or not you keep it. The reality; the technology part of our development is not over, as a matter of fact, now is the time we need to utilize the tools provided to us to continue and maintain the work put in. Besides game stats, tech is the only way to measure continued growth and focus during the season.
Here at KPI, we put an emphasis on making every swing count towards the ultimate goal of playing as long as possible. As the season progresses, we strive to continue to keep our athletes focused on what matters and stay away from what doesn’t during the ups and downs that come from playing this game. Baseball is hard enough on its own, all the hard work was put in from a skill and strength standpoint. So, when push comes to shove, at the moment that it matters – are you ready?