The same technology that is invading every part of our lives is also becoming an integral part of amateur and professional sport. After all, the quickest way for athletes to improve is by quantifying their performance and building on what is right or wrong.
Essential reading: Compare baseball gadgets with our interactive tool
America’s favourite past-time, baseball, is no different. Major League Baseball (MLB) has a reputation for being resistant to change but the organisation began allowing players to use the Motus Baseball Sleeve and Zephyr Bioharness monitor for the 2016 season.Whoop Strap was added to the approved list a bit later. Some of these devices aim to assist with injury prevention, while others give coaches and trainers an overall look at players performance.
Amateurs can get in on this, too. Even though baseball has been a bit late to the party as compared to say running, tennis or swimming, there is a healthy selection of gadgets that aim to take your performance up a notch.
Simply take a few swings and the 3-axis accelerometer and gyroscope in Zepp’s second generation tracker will instantly evaluate areas where you need to improve.
The device attaches to the end of your bat and monitors: bat speed at impact, hand speed max, time to impact, attack angle and vertical angle at impact. Each swing can be tagged with the hit type and location then stored for later reference. The built-in flash storage has enough memory for up to 2,000 swings.
Like some of the other devices on this list, you can access video and 3D swing analysis. The accompanying smartphone app also provides personalized video training programs from MLB Players and coaches.
Zepp Technology has developed a Smart Bat, too. This custom-made model has a cavity in the knob that allows the tracking device to fit inside.
One of a select few devices approved for in-game use by MLB, the quarter-sized sensor Motus Global Throw tracks both throwing and batting metrics. This enables players to monitor workload to prevent injury and improve their game.
You can keep tabs on workload / UCL Stress, discover Hot / Cold Hitting Zones and access interactive data trends. There is also an interactive Bullpen Mode which analyzes consistency and deception while identifying flaws across pitch types. Detailed metrics, video and interactive tools allow players and coaches the ability to customize programs and train smarter than ever.
There are two apps to choose between, Motus Throw and Motus Batting. For throwing, Motus attaches to the specially built lightweight compression sleeve. If you want to track your batting skills, the motus Clip Accesory allows you to affix your motus Sensor to just about any batting glove, quickly and securely.
This gizmo attaches to the butt of pretty much any bat. From there, it captures some 10,000 data points per second about the swing and sends that data instantly to the accompanying SwingTracker mobile app.
The wealth of statistics is impressive. It includes : Speed (Max Hand Speed, Max Barrel Speed, Speed Efficiency, Forward Barrel Speed); Control (Distance in the Zone, Hand Cast Distance, Approach Angle); Quickness (Trigger to Impact Time), Power (Applied Power, Max Acceleration, Impact Momentum). You can compare your performance to other players from Youth all the way through to Professional leagues, too.
And lets not forget the video capture mode. You can even compare 3D models of two swings on top of each other or side-by-side, and access training content and 3D drills to improve your performance.
The Blast baseball sensor is a highly rated and very popular motion capture device. Simply attach it to the end of your bat and start swinging. The sensor and accompanying app capture video highlights, help you analyze your mechanics, and provide drills for improvement.
Blast Baseball uses a combination of accelerometers, gyroscopes, and magnetometers to dish out insightful metrics. This includes swing speed, time to contact, swing direction and power. There is also something called the “Blast Factor”, derived by combining swing efficiency and power made up of timing, rotation, and velocity metrics.
The Smart Video Capture with metric overlay and slow-mo video allow you or your coach to visually identify areas to improve upon in order to become a stronger, more efficient, and overall a better hitter.
Garmin is getting in on the fun as well. It also has a sensor that attaches to the butt of your bat via a flexible rubber mount to provide you with a plethora of stats. This includes bat speed, hand speed, time to impact, elevation angle and attack angle. Simply set up a profile, connect your device, and you are ready to swing.
The main novelty for this type of a device is the sunlight-visible, 128 x 128 pixel, transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP) screen. Measuring 18.5 x 18.5 mm it displays all these stats in real-time.
To further enhance your swing, use the accompanying smartphone app. It provides additional analysis, along with 3D swing paths. After every three swings you also get tips and drills from professionals. You can even use the app to analyze videos captured of your swings.
One of a number of speed tracking balls on the market, this is an official size and weight of a regulation baseball that can be used as a training aid.
To use, press start, hurl the ball and the built-in LCD indicator will display your pitch speed upon impact. However, don’t mistake this for a ball you can play with. Its meant for pitching throwing practice only, not to be hit with a bat!
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