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Case Study: Point of Impact

 

Orange County School of Baseball, Anaheim, CA

The subject of this study is a LH hitting outfielder and current high school senior. He is an elite player, but knew he could get more out of his swing. He contacted Dan Koosed at Orange County School of Baseball for some pre-season work, specifically working to increase his exit velocity at optimal launch angles.

Performance Increases
Max Exit Velocity +3.8 mph
Avg Exit Velocity +2.7 mph
Average Launch Angle +7.7°
Max Distance +13.6%
Average Distance +13.6%
First Batting Session Assessment

At the beginning of the initial training session, a HitTrax™ assessment was made to capture the player’s baseline metrics such as exit velocity, launch angle, as well as his point of impact - where along the swing path bat/ball impact is made. Knowing exactly where the point of impact occurs is an extremely important indicator of timing, as well as the batter’s overall swing mechanics. This first session consisted of front overhand toss at roughly 25ft in front of home plate. In this first session you will see that most points of impact were occurring behind the front of home plate. Only 9% of hits were in front of home plate. Keeping in mind this player’s stance in the box, we can determine that contact was consistently made early in their swing, resulting in average exit velos in the sub 90mph range.

Point of Impact (above view) - Session 1

Point of Impact (side view) - Session 1

In focusing just on his fly ball performance (below), we see that none of the (5) fly balls broke 90mph in exit velo. In looking at the individual hit that carried furthest, we can see that the point of impact was 1-2 inches in front of home plate.

Fly Ball Details - Session 1

Point of Impact (Individual Hit) - Session 1

Once the initial report was reviewed, the player was able to see that making impact further ahead of home plate (later in their swing) would increase their exit velo. Their stance in the box was not altered, nor were there any biomechanic changes made to their swing. The core difference was timing, and making impact later in the swing will impart more energy from bat to ball. Less than an hour after the first session, the player was able to employ a slight timing adjustment resulting in 92% of hits occurring in front of home plate.

Point of Impact (above view) - Session 2

Point of Impact (side view) - Session 2

Also, since the end of the swing inherently has a bit more of an upward angle of the bat path, the player’s average launch angle improved resulting in 0 ground balls and an increaese in fly ball. In looking at the fly ball details we see that there was a significant increase in hard hit fly balls, which can result in home runs and extra base hits. In this session the fly ball that carried the furthest had a point of impact 6 inches in front of home plate, about 4 inches further in front that the previous session

Fly Ball Details - Session 2

Point of Impact (Individual Hit) - Session 2

Results

The following is a summary of the gains for each measured metric and calculated statistic and/or distance:

  Session 1 Session 2 % Increase/(Decrease)
BA 0.657 0.760 15.7%
SLG 0.943 1.800 90.8%
Avg Exit Ball Velo 88.9 mph 91.6 mph 3.0%
Max Exit Ball Velo 94.1 mph 97.9 mph 4.0%
HHA 0.629 0.840 33.5%
Avg Launch Angle 16.2° 23.9° 47.5%
% GB 6% 0% (100%)
% FB 16% 52% 225%
% LD 77% 48% (37.6%)
Avg Distance 202 ft 250 ft 23.8%
Max Distance 357 ft 385 ft 7.8%

In less than an hour, our player was able to recognize a detailed aspect of his own swing and work to make the needed adjustment in his timing. By working to move the point of impact a few inches forward, he increased his performance in key metrics leading him to have an outstanding 2017 season and is a sure-fire first-round draft prospect.

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