Validating the SuperSpeed Slugger System with Rapsodo

Exit velocity is one of the most important metrics to determine the success of a hitter. The harder a player can consistently hit a baseball, the more likely they are to have success. So how does one actually produce more exit velocity? Increasing bat speed and maximizing contact is the easiest way. 

The SuperSpeed Slugger System is designed to increase bat speed by utilizing the concepts of overload/underload training to train the brain to increase the speed at which it tells the body to perform the batting motion. 

All SuperSpeed training involves dry swings only with the protocols lasting 8-10 minutes 3x a week. 

The intro protocol is 4 weeks in duration and the Level 1 protocol is 12 weeks in duration.

How do we know if training is actually working? We utilize technology like Rapsodo to reassure players that the effort put in is translating into actual results in the cage and on the field. We are first off looking to Rapsodo to show us the increase in exit velocity. Then we are looking to see if the increase in exit velocity is in turn producing an increase in ball flight distance. If the exit velocity goes up but the ball is being hit directly into the ground it means nothing. This is another reason Rapsodo is so valuable. By showing a spray chart we have the data necessary to see the consistency of ball flight.

Incorporating this feedback is a critical aspect of training to improve ball flight metrics not only because real-time results encourage effort, but also because they provide affirmation that any mechanical changes or cues have helped produce a desired result.  

If the goal of a velocity training program is to improve speed, the hitter better be swinging their hardest to accurately evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention.  Velocity-based feedback has been shown to help increase effort and force-outputs. A study by PUSH in weightlifting found that when athletes knew that bar velocity was being measured, the bar moved faster.  Regardless of sport, the vast majority of athletes love to compete.  If a 70 mph swing is good, 71 is better.  In baseball, we commonly refer to maximum effort as “intent” and giving an athlete objective feedback after a rep is as effective as anything a coach can do to create it. 

Improving ball flight isn’t just about effort though.  Mechanical changes are just as important to helping the ball fly farther and faster.  One of the most important aspects of teaching mechanical change is understanding how and when to provide visual and verbal feedback.  Dr. Greg Rose, a co-founder of OnBaseU and TPI, is one of the prominent voices in both the science and art of coaching.  Here’s a clip from OnBaseU’s Level 1 Hitting Certification about the the importance of knowing when to provide feedback to help facilitate motor learning.

The key takeaway from that clip is that hitters will learn best when they watch their swing after a GOOD rep, not after EVERY rep.  We want to reinforce patterns that produce the best results, not sub-optimal results.  How do we know if the rep was good?  Well, unless you’re good at judging speed, launch and spin with the naked eye, you better have an objective way to measure it.

One of the biggest things holding a hitter back from improving their bat velocity is the lack of dedicated speed training.  Using SuperSpeed in conjunction with Rapsodo is not only simple, it’s highly effective.  Check out these results.

  Below are two examples of data collection on how SuperSpeed Slugger training has affected bat speed and exit velocity. One is a training center with high level players and one is a collegiate program. These players were performing the intro and Level 1 training shown here.

The Baseball Performance Lab in Baton Rouge, LA started their testing in April 2020. Each of the 4 players have seen gains in each category with some quite substantial. Diamond Kinetics was used for bat speed and Rapsodo for the exit velocity. 

University of Mary Baseball 

The Marauders program began their training in September 2019. The team averaged a 4.4% increase in max exit velocity and a 4.5% increase in average exit velocity all tracked via Rapsodo. 

They also tracked max and average bat speed using Blast Motion Technology. Results are shown below for the increases with the green, blue and red SuperSpeed Slugger bats.