Advances in technology have made baseball training smarter than ever. One of the most advanced training tools now in use among baseball teams is Spark Motion (formerly Kinesio Capture). Spark Motion breaks down athletes' movement patterns frame-by-frame, giving players and coaches feedback in real time.
"You only have so much time with the athletes," says University of Arizona assistant strength and conditioning coach and co-founder of Spark Motion Rob Harris, "Motion analysis programs like Spark Motion help shift the learning curve in your favor."
Harris uses Spark Motion to capture video of the school's baseball and softball players. In addition to gathering real-time feedback, Harris uses it to correct tendencies by overlaying the day's results with video taken six months earlier.
"If you are doing base running and can show an athlete how they looked six months ago and compare that to now—and then you can overlay [the two videos] so the athlete is now beating himself—that's powerful," says Harris.
Spark Motion is especially helpful for keeping pitchers healthy. For example, if a pitcher has posterior shoulder pain, trainers can evaluate movements, diagnose (for example) a short deceleration arc and fix it.
Rob Riley, who owns the R&D Baseball Academy in northern Virginia, has seen Spark Motion completely transform the way pitchers train. "With the ability to identify 'red flags' in movement patterns or biomechanics, we are able to get to work on re-training healthy actions to keep our athletes on the field and progressing with their development as pitchers," Riley says. "Spark Motion allows us to help keep kids healthy and on the mound, which is our number one priority with young pitchers. Spark Motion is a great mobile training tool that allows us to instruct on the spot and for kids as visual learners to see for themselves."
In addition to helping players improve their game, the video technology makes college recruiting easier than ever. Today's college coaches are using it to evaluate players remotely, without having to leave campus. In fact, Riley says last winder he had one of his players verbally commit to a Big Ten school based largely on clips his academy sent through Spark Motion.
To see how the technology works and check out videos on www.sparkmotion.com.
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