As the season approaches, one tool that we have started to implement is our Rapsodo pitching monitor. Rapsodo is a pitch-tracking device that gives immediate feedback that allows us and the athlete to optimize every pitch. After each pitch, we are able to see the velocity, spin rate, spin axis, true spin and spin efficiency. Rapsodo also provides us with vertical and horizontal movement, a view of when the pitch actually starts to move, and and strike zone view of where each pitch ends up. This data has allowed us to get a better idea of how each player spins the ball, find ways to make each pitch better, and even add new pitches based on what we find.
Let’s start with spin rate. Spin Rate is defined as ‘The Velocity rate at which the ball spins from the time it leaves the pitchers hand, measured in rotations per minute (rpm).’ One thing that is not yet known is how to create more spin rate on the ball. What we do know is the higher the spin rate, the less gravity will come in to play and the ball will stay on its same plane and almost have a rising effect to the hitters eyes. The lower the spin, the ball will have more of a sinking action. So guys with higher spin should pitch up in the zone and guys with lower spin should try to attack the bottom half.
The part of the Rapsodo we have been utilizing the most is the true spin and spin efficiency. True spin is the spin that is directly creating movement on a pitch, and spin efficiency takes the ratio of true spin and divides it by the total spin. True spin takes out the side spin of the ball, which does not impact the movement on the baseball. From that information, we are able to look at a kids curveball or slider for instance, see the break on the pitch, and change their grip or their release to design a better pitch. For example, we had a pitcher who was trying to create more downward action on his curveball, and noticed he had a spin efficiency that was around 30%, meaning he was getting too much side spin, and not enough top spin which is what you want on a curveball. By being able to access the data immediately from Rapsodo we were able to change his grip and raise his release point, and within minutes he was near 80% spin efficiency with a better downward breaking curveball.
The ability to see immediate feedback on how a pitch is moving is a great tool that leaves no second guessing on its effectiveness. We are able to see from a sky view, and a catchers view of when the pitch started to move, and how many inches it moved horizontally and vertically. There is also a feature that shows a dotted line of the pitch’s trajectory if there were going to be no spin on the ball, and a solid line showing where the pitch ended up after the spin impacted it. Rapsodo has helped our players make their pitch’s even better, and even helped a lot of them start throwing new pitch’s that they have never tried before.
If you think the MACH 1 team can help you with your development of pitches and your pitching repertoire let us know. We’d be glad to help!
MACH 1 Pitching Coach