Pitch Design Tech
For the best quality pitch design session, having the right tech is essential. Currently, the two most useful pieces of equipment are Edgertronic cameras and Rapsodo.
An Edgertronic camera is the highest quality tool used for high-speed video. The Edgertronic camera gives us the opportunity to view the fine detail of the way the ball comes off a pitchers fingers tips. Most often, the camera is placed behind the pitchers release point, so we can have the best angle to view the ball leaving the pitchers hand. If more than one Edgertronic is available, there are benefits to having one facing the front of a pitcher as well as his open side to better study mechanics and release points.
The camera gives us the ability to view how the ball leaves your hand. From there, we can make small changes to manufacture the ideal spin for that pitch.
Being able to see the way the ball comes off of the fingers will help us change the way the players "feel" the ball. Sometimes a pitcher will begin a session thinking he has an idea of how the ball is spinning off his fingertips, but it is only until he sees it on the Edgertronic camera that he realizes the movement of the ball is not ideal. As we work, he will start to understand how his pitches are supposed to feel coming out of his hand. This will allow him to more effectively make in game adjustments.
Rapsodo is a pitch tracking device. It allows us to measure each pitches velocity, movement, spin rate, spin efficiency, and more. The immediate feedback on each pitch we throw helps us understand the balls movement pitch to pitch.
The biggest benefit to using Rapsodo during a pitch design session is the ability to have a back-and-forth discussion with the athlete using the instant data feedback that it generates. It allows us to understand what cues and techniques for visualizing works best for them. Additionally, it's useful to match up what we see on the Edgertronic with the measurements from Rapsodo.
Creating and tweaking a pitch during a pitch design session is more complex than adding a new grip. Once we have our goals set out, you can use this dashboard to monitor your progress on each pitch. We can reach our goals for each pitch by testing new techniques and see which gets us the ideal measurements for each type of pitch.
We need to find the cues that work best for each player. By that I mean, for example, telling a pitcher to throw his slider like a football may work for one player, but not another. Using the Rapsodos fast past readings, and having a constant discussion can allow us to understand the players perspective on how he best visualizes the mechanics of his pitching.
In an article by SportTechie, Casey Weathers talked about Rapsodo and how it changed the way he viewed himself on the mound. .
"The Rapsodo just takes out all of the subjective questions and makes you objectively accountable to get the pitch to do what you want it to do,” he added. “I had many instances where I was like, ‘That one was nasty, that’s it,’ and then the machine comes back and is like, ‘No, that’s 30 percent. That’s not a good pitch. If you go backwards to the old way of doing it, you might throw that one, be like ‘Oh, that’s filthy,’ and in the bullpen and to the eye test, and then you try to repeat that over and over again and really it’s not a very good pitch.”
There are a handful of other pieces of technology that can be beneficial during a pitch design at a lower cost, but currently these two are the most widely used throughout professional baseball. They are the most efficient and effective in helping us reach our goals.
Next week, we will begin discussing individual pitches that we can put in our repertoire. We will be talking about what makes that pitch successful and the kinds of measurements we want to see for quality execution of that pitch. We will start with the 4-seam fastball.