PITTSBURGH – Diamond Kinetics is proud to announce the winner of the “SportTechie SwingTracker Giveaway”, Michael Valencia of the Dominican Republic.
Michael currently serves as a coach and instructor in the Dominican Republic for two youth baseball teams, consisting of 30 players each, ages 8-12 and 13 & above.
He also serves as coach and instructor of two softball teams, one female team of 18 players, ages 11 & above, and a male team of 15 players, ages 18 & above.
As a whole, he is responsible for nearly 100 youth baseball players in his community.
A 24 year-old who previously resided in Miami, Fla., Michael recently graduated from Florida International University with a degree in Recreation and Sport Management.
As the winner of the “SportTechie SwingTracker Giveaway”, Diamond Kinetics caught up with Michael to learn a little more about his tremendous story. His winning answer to the SportTechie giveaway can be seen at the end of this post.
How popular is baseball in the Dominican Republic amongst young people? It seems like a huge part of the youth culture.
Baseball is an enormous part of the culture here in the Dominican Republic. The sport was first brought to the Dominican Republic by Cubans in the late 1800´s and then by United States Marines in the early 1900´s. Baseball is an important leisure for not only youth, but also adults, in the Dominican Republic.
Everywhere you go there is a baseball field. They are very passionate about sports here. If you consider the nationalities of the baseball players in Major League Baseball, the Dominican Republic holds the No. 1 spot with MLB players outside of the US. They are prideful here. This is why I am so excited about SwingTracker. It is not only going to motivate the kids to improve their batting, but also be an educational experience in learning about different ways technology can be used in the field of sports.
Which Major League Baseball players do the kids idolize?
The kids follow every Dominican player there is in MLB, especially the major stars like Robinson Cano, David ‘Big Papi’ Ortiz, Adrian Beltre, and Manny Ramirez.
Some of these guys play in the Dominican League after the MLB season is over in order to continue their training. So the country has great support to their players.
How did your interest in the sport of baseball begin? And what is it like being a coach at such a young age?
I grew up playing baseball ever since I was four years old. I played organized baseball every single year until about the age of 12. My dad is a huge sports fan so I was introduced to the sport very young, as well as soccer and basketball.
My older brother was the baseball star of the family, until a shoulder injury prevented him from continuing. As a coach, I aspire to coach sports to the kids in the Dominican Republic. I enjoy the process of getting a group of individuals together to work as a team for a common goal.
How do you plan on using SwingTracker?
Throughout our batting practices, SwingTracker will be used with a batting tee for each player. Every player will have their own notebook and batting session to record their results.
Halfway through the session, myself as the coach, as well as the other assistant coaches, will go over with the player the results of the SwingTracker sessions and communicate any improvements the batter can make.
We will then continue the second phase of the session and monitor the improvements of that batter. These sessions will go on with every player on the team and will be continued until both the player and coach are satisfied with the progress.
What are the things SwingTracker could do to help your team improve?
SwingTracker does the incredible feat of simplifying the physics of a swing to monitor, evaluate, and improve your swing. By utilizing SwingTracker for my team, it will first help with applying the basics in a swing. This will be used to improve batting.
The second and higher bit that SwingTracker will do, and more importantly, is encourage a young group of baseball players that aspire to be better. It will also be used as a motivational tool that I feel every coach needs to encourage their players to be better.
What do the kids think of SwingTracker?
They are very curious to see how technology can help them improve! Most have never seen sensors, much less a sensor that can be attached to a baseball bat and be used during practice. But it really says a lot about Diamond Kinetics’ goal in helping all levels of baseball skill, locally and internationally. They can´t wait to get their hands on it!
Michael’s winning response = “I can’t help but get excited for the Diamond Kinetics giveaway. Not only becase SwingTracker has finally simplified the batting physics to help us get to Albert Pujols’ level, but also because I live in the baseball capital of the WORLD. The newsletter asks us to write why you, a family member, or friend would benefit from this? I respond with, “How about a whole community?” From sun up to sun down, the youth in my community are playing baseball and softball. My community has two teams of 30 baseball players each, ages 8-12 and 13+ respectively. In addition, my community has a softball team of 18 female players ages 11+ and a male softball team of 15 ages 18+ that actually are the defending champions of their district league. Receiving the Diamond Kinetics giveaway would not only motivate the baseball players to improve their batting using user friendly technology, but also be an educational experience to teach them the basic baseball metrics Dr. Buddy Clark explains so elaborately in the article.
The youth in my community live in high poverty. They live in an area with high levels of teen pregnancies and HIV cases. Most houses don’t have latrines for their basic needs of going to the bathroom. Some houses are made of cement while others are made of wood, with limited water and electricity. Sports is all the youth have to help them get by their circumstances. I challenge Diamond Kinetics to prove that their product can help beginner athletes in even these situations. I hope you consider me for your giveaway.”