I was once told by an old friend of mine by the name of Chet Montgomery that if you can evaluate the athletes you can succeed at any aspect of the game. Chet, at the time, was in the front office of the Cincinnati Reds as an executive for the Scouting Department. He gave me this little bit of information about 25 years ago I guess and I still believe it to be true.
The ability to evaluate. I think is everything. Here are some aspects where evaluation is important:
College coaches evaluating prospects for their college team.
Professional scouts evaluating prospective amateurs for their organization.
HS coaches evaluating players that are trying out for their team.
Travel team coaches evaluating players to recruit for their team.
Yes, the above are obvious. Here is where it gets even more important:
The coach/instructor/parent evaluating the athlete to determine needs for improvement.
The athlete doing self improvement to determine needs for improvement.
We have to be accurate in our evaluation as if we miss evaluate our ability to hit the breaking ball, for example, and we continue to attempt hitting the breaking ball in the same way, we will continue to fail. We MUST be able to identify our strengths and continue to maintain those strengths and even work on improving them. What is more important, however, is to identify our weaknesses and then either decide how we are to work on these weaknesses.
There are many ways to evaluate but you can break them down as either subjective or objective. Subjective will always be very important in softball/baseball. It is where the coach/instructor/scout has the ability to look at the athlete and evaluate strengths and weaknesses by just looking. This take years of experience and even with years of experience some can't subjectively evaluate.
The other is objective. This would include things like a stop watch for running speed and pop time for catchers. This would also include radar guns to determine pitching velocity. There are others and then there is a new device out there called the Blast. It is a new device that can be secured on the bat knob and will send data to the phone. Pretty cool huh? It will evaluate:
Swing Speed (High, Low and Average)
Time to contact
A Power Index
The Blast on the Smart Phone
This can be a great tool. WARNING: It is just that, a tool. The ability to hit is based on so many factors of which does include these factors but also includes command of the strike zone, physical strength, focus, eye contact and etc. This tool, when used properly, can really help the hitter determine weaknesses and especially when combined to the experienced instructor that can subjectively evaluate.
HERE IS HOW I WILL USE THIS TOOL
I will call it a Testing Lesson. It will be a lesson of which I will run the hitter through a series of tests. Most of these tests will incorporate the Blast Metrics. This Testing Lesson will be the very first lesson for clients and will be used at no extra charge. I will also do a Testing Lesson for no charge the 4th lesson and then every 8th lesson to check on progress and determine if we are making progress.
I will add this data to a data base and make available to the athlete. The data base will be important as the athlete, parent, coach or scout will be able to see how the athlete compares to other hitters. Over time this data will become even more powerful in evaluating where the athlete ranks in these criteria. Of course, this will take some time to collect this data.
Now, of course, the athlete can choose to take a Testing Lesson at any time for $10.00 extra.
One other option I am working on is just a Blast Testing Session. It will last about 5 minutes and the hitter will be tested on the Blast Connect while hitting on the Tee. This is done as a group lesson however you will not need to sign up as a group. Click on "Schedule a Lesson" to schedule your Blast Session.
I will put the Blast through a series of tests before I use it with athletes and before any data is entered. I estimate I will be using the Blast by the end of September.
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.