Professional athletes are embracing the digital transformation. Tech is now being used in sports for a whole lot more than stats. In the past, bold innovations and tech equipment were just used to mine through big data generated by sports games. Now, however, there are a plethora of sensors and monitoring equipment coming onto the sports tech scene. They are all designed to analyze and improve athletic performance.
Before the 1950s, players were filming their swings in order to study and improve their drives.
In Major League Baseball, the Houston Astros is one of ten teams using a bat sensor at practice to gain that critical edge in batting performance.
Blast Motion, the Latest in Sports Tech
The sensor, called Blast Motion is placed at the end of the baseball bat during practice swings. The sensor measures data including swing speed and impact. Blast Motion records constant adjustments for different circumstances so team managers know the stats. The managers then understand that some pitchers perform better against lefties, or that a particular pitcher will change his pitch selection given a particular batter. The use of the Blast Motion leads to a more aggressive stance in outflanking and outperforming the competition.
Among the things the sensor measures are hit speed as well as the time between the point when the ball is hit and when it leaves the bat towards its trajectory. Now consider the fact that pitchers can be throwing balls at 90 to 100 mph, and now consider that the Blast Motion is sensitive enough to measure those fragments of seconds and the small variation of impacts.
There have been studies showing that batters no longer have time to pause and watch to see where the ball is going, whether it’s a curved ball or a fast ball. The reaction time has now become so instinctive that the batter needs to respond without even thinking. The smallest advantage can make a huge difference. This is especially true of baseball, where batting averages are computed to the thousandths of a point.
One sport which has had a long history of digital transformation is golf. Before the 1950s, players were filming their swings in order to study and improve their drives. Various devices have been used by players to force their muscles to follow a particular arc when they swing. This type of performance training and strengthening equipment is used during practice only. On the other hand, the game itself has been improved with a constant acceleration of high technology in the balls and clubs.
For professional baseball players, the bat is sacrosanct; it can never be changed. If a batter uses a tricked-out bat, there are dire consequences. If a pitcher cheats on his pitch with any foreign substance on the ball, there are also large penalties. If science is to be used to provide an extra something, it can only be used during practice.
Big data is bringing actual game statistics to the analyst, but it still requires a lot of practice and minute improvements for the players to stand out from the rest. An athlete or player can use all the technology he or she wants to train and practice, but at the end of the day, it’s up to how good an athlete performs during the actual game that makes a sports legend.
Originally Published at: http://www.boldbusiness.com/digital-transformation/batting-sports-tech-houston-astros/