Since baseball’s inception, there have been three definitive ways to teach you how to swing the bat proficiently: Your parents, your coach, and Ted Williams’ The Science of Hitting. But for those of us who wanted to take a more independent, self-discovery-type approach to improve our ability to get the ball out of the infield, the options were more limited.
In the spirit of baseball and softball’s constant tradition of learning through failure comes Garmin’s Impact bat swing sensor. The device, which costs $150 and weighs 34 grams, is attached to the end of your bat grip to deliver all the analytical data you could ever want on how ugly your swing is. No longer will your parents, coaches, or teammates have to watch you in the batting cages, delivering pointed critiques of how your underwhelming swing is incapable of catching up to a Little League fastball. Instead, the device will break down that information to you gently, and give you objective information on how to improve your chances of making solid contact.
After every swing, the Impact sends information on bat speed, hand speed, time to impact, elevation angle, and attack angle to the on-screen display. After every three swings, the device will offer coaching tips and drills that were developed by professional hitting coaches and are adapted to your hitting profile — whatever it may be.
And if you’re really a glutton for punishment, the Impact offers a free app on your mobile device of choice that offers deeper analytical insights. The app gives 3D insights into your swing trajectory and highlights whether the bat is going too slow through the strike zone. If there is more than one slugger hoping to improve their swing, the app allows you to create multiple profiles.
“Garmin has seen great success with our other sports products, like the golf swing sensor, so the addition of the Impact bat swing sensor to the performance training market seemed like a natural fit,” Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales, said in a statement. “Whether playing baseball or softball, or coaching players, the on-device display and auditory cues on the Impact bat swing sensor allow batters to quickly make adjustments, so come game time, they can step up to the plate with confidence.”
But if your hitting confidence ever goes down the tubes, you can always switch to pitching with a smart baseball.
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