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Thursday, April 9, 2009
How to Demonstrate Batspeed in a Baseball Recruiting Video
By Mike Liberatore
When you are making a recruiting video for college baseball coaches, the most important thing a player can do is to show their tools. This means, how can you show a coach your ability to hit for average, hit for power, run, throw, and play defense? Some of this is difficult to convey when a coach is watching you on video in a workout format as opposed to in-person at a game. Today, we will look at how to incorporate your batspeed in a recruiting video, and why.
First of all, it is important to realize that many coaches and scouts value batspeed for a hitter in the same way they view velocity for a pitcher. It is that important. As it is with pitchers, velocity is not the only indicator of success or ability, but it shows the coach that a player has the necessary tools to develop their talent. The reason a coach wants to see a players batspeed readings is that it is a good indicator of a player's ability to hit for power (one of your 5 tools) at the next level. Again, this would be similar to a pitcher with higher velocity being likely to have a higher strikeout rate. Players love to send coaches their stats or newspaper clippings, especially those regarding home runs, but if that player comes to a tryout and swings a bat 75mph, their likelihood of being a power hitter in college are very low. It does not mean that the player will not develop into a good hitter, but that they more likely project to a top or bottom of the lineup player as opposed to the middle of the order. Interestingly, batspeed and pitching velocity seems to correlate fairly closely. The majority of high schoolers will swing a bat in the high 70's to low 80's. The majority of college players will reside in the mid to high 80's and the elite players will swing in the 90's and sometimes over 100mph. Batspeed of over 100mph is much more common than pitching velocity in that range, which is basically exclusive to the major league level.
There are a few easy ways to illustrate your batspeed for a college coach, and you really don't need a ton of high tech equipment. You will need a wood bat, a ball, a digital video camera, a radar gun, and maybe a tee if you choose to use one. Most high school coaches have a radar gun that a player could borrow, and worst case scenario one could be rented. In order to get the actual batspeed (as opposed to the exit velocity of the ball), you will want to kneel behind the hitter and point the radar gun at them. Assume the position of the catcher. The camera should be pointed at the player with the radar gun in the frame. If necessary, you can zoom in on the reading after each swing. The player can then hit soft toss or off of a tee. You should attempt to hit low line drives straight back through the back of the batting cage. This will also teach a hitter good mechanics, as they will quickly find that a longer swing will typically have lower batspeed. Remember, it is important to get the reading from behind the player as opposed to off to the side or from a pitchers view. Having the radar gun in those locations will measure "exit velocity", which is different from batspeed. Exit velocity measures how fast the ball travels off of the bat, as opposed to how fast the player swings the bat. Generating great exit velocity is a huge plus, but it will be easier to demonstrate batspeed since exit velocity can sometimes be dependent on the velocity of the incoming pitch.
Please check back for our upcoming articles on demonstrating the other four tools in video format, how to properly edit the video, and how to ensure it is viewed by college baseball coaches.
Mike Liberatore is a former college baseball player, AAU baseball coach, and owner/operator of http://www.baseballrecruitsonline.com
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Posted by Coach's Profile: at 4:26 AM