Hitting a softball requires talent and training. For years, athletes have used a variety of tools and drills to help build and perfect their swing. In the digital age, players have found a new training accessory: analytics.
But what do these data points and metrics do for a player? How can these numbers help athletes improve their performance at the plate? Professional softball player Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester has experience working with softball analytics. Discover how these tech tools have helped improve her training and what they can do for you with these Pro Tips.
WHAT ARE SWING ANALYTICS?
Swing analytics can help athletes track metrics such as launch angle, exit velocity and point of impact, among others. This data-driven look into a player’s swing mechanics can help pinpoint inconsistencies and areas of improvement for more efficient training. Software, such as HitTrax, analyzes these statistics in real-time for immediate feedback and adjustment.
HOW TO USE SWING ANALYTICS
The statistics gathered during swing analysis can be used in a variety of ways. One obvious area of use is in softball training. Utilizing softball analytics can provide real feedback on the components of your swing that might go unseen in other exercises.
“For me, to be able to utilize this information has been awesome,” Chidester says. “To be able to get information on the HitTrax, to be able to see, okay, ‘What is my average exit velocity? What is my top exit velocity? Where can I improve? Am I staying consistent?’ All those things are super important as a hitter.”
Using these data points, you can see where your swing needs to be altered to achieve your optimal performance. For example, if you find yourself hitting more pop-ups than desired, look at your launch angle. This statistic represents the vertical angle at which the ball leaves your bat upon impact. Adjusting your mechanics for a lower launch angle can help you take the loft out of your hitting.
Another area where analytics can help athletes is in choosing the right equipment. Swing analytics can help softball players determine which bat pairs best with their plate approach.
“You can type in the model bat, the style bat and check, ‘What’s my average exit velocity? What’s my launch angle? What’s my furthest distance? Am I hitting line drives? Where is the ball going?’ I’d be able to see that on the HitTrax,” Chidester says. By taking swings with multiple bat models and comparing analytics, you can see which model best complements your hitting style.
“It’s the perfect opportunity for you to be able to have the best bat for game times and practices. Because as a hitter, we all know having a good bat in our hands is a gamechanger,” Chidester says. “It makes all the difference in the world. When you feel confident and comfortable with your bat, you’re going to be more successful with your hitting.”
You can compare your favorite bats at your local DICK’S Sporting Goods. Utilize the PRO services in their HitTrax batting cage to determine the right bat for you.
Swing analytics can help provide a fresh take on your softball training. With these Pro Tips, you can use these data points in practice to improve your statistics when it matters most.
Looking for a more relaxed and fun way to train hand-eye coordination? Learn how to play the game of pepper with these Pro Tips from Amanda “Chiddy” Chidester.