Tech in Baseball
Presented with Diamond Kinetics
Skill Set: Hitting
Difficulty Level: Easy
Number of Athletes and Coaches: 1-2 athletes and 1 coach, or 2 athletes as partners
Average Time to Complete: 5 minutes
Equipment Required: Bat, tee, baseballs, net or screen to hit into
Goal: Focus on hitting the ball to the pull side and opposite field based on contact point
Description of the Drill:
• Tee set up in front of the inside of the plate
• Hitter sets up even with the plate, while partner places a ball on the tee
• Hitter hits the ball at the inside contact point for 5 swings, then moves the tee to the outside contact point
• Hitter hits the ball at the outside contact point for 5 swings, then the partners switch
• Focus should be on hitting the inside ball to the pull side and the outside pitch to the opposite field
• Partners switch after 10 swings
• To add a degree of difficulty, the hitter can also move the tee to different contact point heights (low, middle, high)
• To add a degree of difficulty, the partner can place a ball on both the inside and the outside tee and as the hitter loads, tell the hitter which ball to hit
Using Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker Sensor and mobile App - the following metrics and tools can help you measure your swing and see improvement when doing this drill:
Distance in the Zone
Overview: Using the Distance in the Zone metric, hitters can determine when their barrel is entering and leaving the hitting zone. The longer the barrel stays in the hitting zone, the better chance the player has to make consistent, solid contact. This is clearly depicted in the 3D viewer as the blue portion of the swing path.
Optimal Ranges by Age:
• U10-14: Good is 29-32 inches
• U15-18: Good is 31-34 inches
• College-Pro: Good is 33-37 inches
• Having a swing that maintains a good Distance in The Zone gives the batter a better chance of making contact with the pitch. It also means the swing is “more forgiving”
• Having a good Distance In The Zone can account for small errors in timing because there is more “space” for the batter to make contact and still put the ball in play.
• This metric can help coaches identify loopy swings based on how early the barrel enters the zone and if there is a ‘hard-turn’ coming out of the zone.
• Additionally, based on where contact is most often made, it can help identify if a hitter is having issues with timing up the pitch.
Overview: Impact Momentum is a combination of barrel speed and the size of the bat the hitter is swinging. The higher the impact momentum, the better chance a hitter has to do damage with greater exit velocities. Impact Momentum is a great measure of the power potential of a given hitter.
Top 10% of Age Groups:
• U10 Players: 13 KG/M +
• U12 Players: 15 KG/M +
• U14 Players: 19 KG/M +
• U16 Players: 24 KG/M +
• U18 Players: 27 KG/M +
• D1 College: 28 KG/M +
• Impact Momentum is a “smarter version” of barrel speed because it takes into account the size of the bat. If a kid swings a bigger bat at the same speed, when contact happens, the ball goes further.
• If you want to understand how improving Impact Momentum translates to the game – for every +1 a hitter adds to their Impact Momentum, it equates to roughly a 1.5 MPH increase in exit velocity. And every 1.5 MPH of exit velo translates to roughly 6-10 more feet of carry, depending on launch angle.
• If you have a high-school kid playing on a full-size field, the magic Impact Momentum number to hit dingers is 27 + (with the right launch angle, of course). A well hit ball with an “IM” of 24 is caught well inside the warning track. Hit it with an IM of 27+ and it is out of the park.
Overview: Using the Approach Angle metric, hitters clearly know the direction of their swing plane at the moment of impact. While the optimal Approach Angle is dependent on the type of pitch, it typically needs to be between +5° degrees and +15° degrees in order to hit a line drive and between +20° and +35° degrees in order to hit a home run.
Optimal Ranges by Type of Batter:
• For U10-14 players learning to hit line-drives: +6 to +10
• For U15-18 players who want to hit line-drives: +11 to +19
• For U15-18 power hitters who have strength & ability to hit deep: +20 to +35
• Consider that a pitch is coming “downhill” from the mound at a -6° degree to -8° degree angle. To counter that, a batter should be making contact at an upward angle to “match the plane of the pitch” at a minimum.
• If you have a kid who is hitting a lot of ground balls – look at the approach angle and work drills to get the point of contact happening at a positive angle.
• When you marry Approach Angle with Distance in the Zone, you might see why a kid is popping up too much or fouling off.
• When hitting off a tee or even soft toss, you’d hope to see fairly consistent Approach Angles swing-by-swing, but when doing BP or facing live pitching, you will see a bigger range because the hitter has to “go get” the pitch (and that’s OK).
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