Simulate Pitch Recognition
in a Practice Setting?
By: Blaine Peterson | March 16, 2020
- A recent article by Nick Groke of The Athletic on the Colorado Rockies described difficulties Charlie Blackmon had adjusting to hitting on the road.
The All-Star outfielder Blackmon cited his pitch recognition as a primary underlying issue.
- Blackmon began pursuing alternative preparation methods last July. This was during a stretch when the Rockies lost 15 of 18 games and struggled to hit above .230 on the road as a team.
- Blackmon’s new preparation left out some traditional – yet non game-like – batting practice techniques. He incorporated a pitching machine to duplicate the in-game feel of a hard slider or curveball away from Coors Field.
The machine could even mimic the movement of starting pitchers the Rockies would face that day.
- The vast majority of batting practice methods today do not incorporate pitch recognition. The topic of pitch recognition lacks the buzz words of batted ball tracking devices (Rapsodo), such as exit velocity and launch angle. It also isn’t as polarizing to look at in real-time, like many force plate (Bertec) and motion-capture (4D Motion) devices’ data.
- Yet here is a player that is a 4 time All-Star, 2 time Silver Slugger Award Winner and a former NL Batting Champion that cites pitch recognition as a primary source for his and often his teams struggles on the road.
- Tuning a pitching machine to throw different pitch types and velocities is one way to work on pitch recognition.
But a pitching machine can even be inefficient or inaccurate.
- The biggest inefficiency in using a pitching machine is the quality of the feedback. How do you systematically grade pitch types that are hard to recognize? How about velocities? What parts of the zone are more or less difficult to recognize?
- The biggest inaccuracy to this way is that a machine is not reproducing pitcher movement that led to the pitch. How long of a leg-kick precedes each pitch? Does the arm-slot change for different pitch types?
The uHIT pitch recognition technology offers an efficient and accurate answer to these problems.
- uHIT allows you to see as many different pitch types you need at adjustable velocities in specified areas of the strike zone.
- You gain efficiency with uHIT’s feedback, showing what pitch types and velocities you excel at recognizing – and which ones need more attention.
- You gain accuracy with uHIT because each pitch is preceded with pitcher movement specific to the pitch.
- For professional hitters it doesn’t stop there. The pitch f/x system used in MLB and te Trackman system used across MiLB and many college programs can be put right into uHIT.
With uHIT, hitters can work their pitch recognition on actual game pitches.
- This capability allowing hitters to see pitches to the exact specifications as they were thrown in an actual game.
- While there may never be a full replacement for seeing an actual pitch, uHIT allows all players to train their pitch recognition at the same time and at their convenience.
A great breakdown of how pitch recognition tech is changing the game for hitters. Finally.
There are SOO many choices in hitting tech now. Great breakdown of how force plates, launch angles, and all the rest stack up against what looks like “just an app” or “just a video game”. The truth is that it LOOKS LIKE JUST AN APP. And it LOOKS LIKE JUST A VIDEO GAME. But uHIT is WAYY more accurate. WAYY more accurate for teaching my players how to recognize pitches. From one coach to many others reading this, heed this advice if you want to be high-impact. Your players won’t do it on their own. You’ll have to guide them. But it’s worth every bit – more efficient use of time. That’s what we all need.