Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker: A Player’s Perspective
September 14, 2021 | Abbi Nicolella
Written by Frank Cinicola, DK Marketing and Communications Specialist
Simply put, I was not a good player my first two years of college. The only thing more inconsistent than my playing time was my results. My confidence waned. I worked hard, but my swing was inconsistent. I would have a good game, then three bad ones. I aimlessly labored in the cage, hoping something would click. It never did. Seeing my abilities stagnate despite hard work was discouraging. My coaches would tell me that I had more potential than anyone else on the team, that I could be a great player. After a while, those encouraging words became a burden. The more I struggled, the more I felt weighed down by expectations and wasted potential. The game I loved stopped being fun. For the first time I thought about hanging up the spikes. I needed to find answers. Why wasn’t I as good as I could be?
As a baseball fan, I was aware of the data revolution that was taking hold in the professional ranks. I saw middling players like J.D. Martinez, Justin Turner, and Josh Donaldson make big adjustments to their swings and approaches and become stars with the help of analytics and technology. I found familiar verbiage when looking into their stories. Desperate. Searching for answers. Nothing to lose. Their success encouraged me. I decided I would follow in their footsteps and use technology to try and turn my career around. I did some research and came across the Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker. I was skeptical at first but the more I read about the SwingTracker the more convinced I became; this could help me become a better player.
College Stats Before SwingTracker (2017-18)
The summer before my junior year was a time for reconstruction. I used the SwingTracker to revamp my swing. My practice sessions had a level of intent and focus that they never had previously. The SwingTracker showed me that my approach angle was too steep, causing me to roll over groundballs. I adjusted my approach angle, using the 3D view in the Diamond Kinetics app to see my swing change and fine tune the adjustments. I altered my approach after seeing my hot and cold zones in the Swing Fingerprint section of the app. I struggled with low and away pitches but punished inside pitches regardless of height. I would stop swinging at pitches in my cold zone with less than two strikes and focus on hitting the pitches in locations I hit the hardest. I saw my damage potential increase with my adjustments and newfound dedication to the weight room; I set new personal highs in exit velocity and max distance. When I left for school in the fall, I was a new player, a confident player. I was ready to finally make good on my potential.
With my new swing and approach, I performed well during the fall and early spring. I continued using the SwingTracker to track my number of swings and continue to tweak my swing based on the metrics it gave me. Our first game of the season was in Florida during our spring break, and I was in the lineup batting fifth as the designated hitter. I had finally secured the starting role I had always desired. I walked up to the plate in the first inning and felt something I had not felt in a game since college started: confidence. I took the first two pitches in the dirt for balls. Next, a fastball low and away that caught the corner for a strike. I stepped out of the box and reminded myself that the pitch was in my cold zone; it was a good take. A year earlier I would have rolled over and grounded that pitch to the left side. Now, I was still in the box, ahead in the count and looking for a pitch in my hot zones to drive. The next pitch was a fastball inside and I took a swing with the new approach angle I had practiced thousands of times. I felt the unmistakable sensation of flush contact. The ball banged off the fence in left-centerfield as I rounded first and pulled into second with an RBI double.
I kept the approach I had worked on all season and stayed in the lineup all year. I had a level of success that would have been unimaginable 10 months prior. At the end of the season, I was named First Team All-Conference and team captain for my senior year.
College Stats After Using SwingTracker (2019-2021)
I owe a lot of what I was able to accomplish in my college career to the Diamond Kinetics SwingTracker. It is easy to work hard, but when hard work is combined with data and technology something truly special can happen. The ability to train and make swing adjustments in a measurable way was incredibly valuable to me. It helped me craft an approach that was based on real data instead of blind feel. And maybe most importantly, my confidence skyrocketed once I saw my training was paying off with real, quantifiable results.
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