By the time you read this, the idea of watching slow motion video of a given pitcher’s release will be a less-than-obscure concept to you.
Over the last few years, the baseball community has seen an incredible advancement in the technology used to help players get better, including high-speed cameras. In our current era of player development, it is the norm to see professional and high-level amateur pitchers be keen users of such technology. With the introduction of INSIGHT, Rapsodo has been able to significantly lessen the load required to integrate these videos with data being collected.
INSIGHT offers coaches and players the ability to collect and record numerous pitching data points and view clear, high frame rate video of each pitch at the same time. Benefits of this integration are massive, effectively removing the guesswork and shortening the feedback loop during these pitch development sessions.
For example, let’s think about a pitcher working on developing a fastball. Previously, the movement chart displayed on the PITCHING 2.0 app would have been the best feedback to build the pitch. Adding in INSIGHT video would still show the movement profile of the pitch, but would also give them a thorough view of how the ball is being manipulated at release.
The integrated pairing of data and video to the pitches thrown in the session would provide immediate feedback of how certain cues and grips, for example, altered each pitch’s movement profile. The video and data would be synced to their profile. Review of these sessions and breakthroughs would be readily available to both the player and coach.
Let’s think back to that pitcher mentioned earlier. When developing a true four-seam fastball, we know the most important aspects of effective offerings are spin efficiency and vertical break. We also know that pitchers who tend to cut their fastball will have lower spin efficiency measurements than pitchers who can stay behind the ball and achieve pure backspin.
By incorporating high-speed, slow motion INSIGHT video to the data collected, a pitcher and coach can now immediately dissect what is causing the cut and make adjustments as needed.
In the pitch below, we can see that, when this pitcher cuts their fastball, their index finger comes off the ball last; this slight release manipulation puts more gyro spin on the ball, significantly reducing the effectiveness of the pitch’s high spin rate (28.2 Bauer Units).
In the following pitch, the release is much cleaner, as both the middle and index finger come off the ball simultaneously. Notice that even though their spin rate decreased slightly, the pitcher was able to gain almost two full inches of vertical break and over three inches of arm side horizontal break.
This release is what the pitcher should be after on all of their four-seam fastballs, so whatever cue was used to help them achieve this should be thoroughly documented. Luckily, the INSIGHT app has a note-taking section located above the pitch break chart. Just like data and video, these notes are automatically attached to the pitch and synced to the cloud for easy review.