Introducing Swing Fingerprint™: What It Is And Why It Matters To You

Introducing Swing Fingerprint™

PITTSBURGH – Every player’s swing is unique, like a fingerprint.

Diamond Kinetics taps into that concept with a powerful new swing analysis tool called Swing Fingerprint™ that enables players, coaches, and parents to visualize and understand the swing in a truly revolutionary way.

DK’s Swing Fingerprint combines key SwingTracker metrics with Artificial Intelligence to create an easy-to-understand visual 3-D heat-map of a hitter’s hot & cold zones, displayed on a cube floating over home plate.

It is completely personalized for each hitter based on their distinct combination of swing metrics.

To drive player development, a personalized swing analysis is delivered both visually and in written format – right inside the app. Combined, these tools enable coaches to focus instruction to unlock a player’s potential and drive a more productive plate approach based on the hitter’s strengths. 

DK’s Swing Fingerprint is designed to maximize a player’s ability to win more at-bats and do more damage at the plate – which is what every player, parent, and coach wants.  

A Little History

We watch baseball. Because you can see the outcome of an at-bat, people have understood that hitters are good (or bad) at making contact in certain parts of the zone for some time. 

The idea isn’t new…  just look at Ted Williams famous graphic from his 1968 book “The Science of Hitting”.  And during almost every MLB broadcast these days, you can see a breakdown of a hitter’s hot and cold zones when they step into the box … because virtually every at bat they’ve ever taken has been recorded, measured, and analyzed.

Conceptually, you understand what is going on here. But these graphics are measuring the RESULT of the swing… the outcome. 

So, here’s what *is* new! 

Diamond Kinetics has worked, tirelessly, over the past 18-24 months to unpack the CAUSE of those hot and cold zones. We wanted to know what creates those outcomes in certain parts of the zone. 

And we didn’t get there alone.  

While we work closely with more than a dozen MLB teams, one R&D department of a highly-respected MLB organization, in particular, was asking the same questions and trying to determine what matters in the development of the hitters coming up through their system.

The Science: Barrel Slot Over Swing Plane

We worked with this MLB club during 2018 and early 2019, diving deep into the data of their minor league hitters to discover the root cause of of their hitting outcomes. Why where they hitting balls a certain way in certain parts of the zone?  

We looked at thousands and thousands of swings to refine our metrics. By measuring the angle, direction, elevation, and speed of the bat in different parts of the zone, we were able to plot data into a three-dimensional space. 

Our work led us to the concept of ‘Barrel Slot’.  

Simply defined, Barrel Slot is the averaged straight line path of the ‘sweet spot’ of the barrel 6 baseball diameters before contact (~18 inches).  It is comprised of three parameters:  elevation angle (the angle of the barrel path in the vertical plane), heading angle (the angle of the barrel path in the horizontal plane), and length. Barrel speed is then added to calculate damage potential.

Perhaps the most useful characteristic of barrel slot is that ​it is independent of pitch location​, meaning we can evaluate swings that need to ‘go get’ the ball at any point in the zone and interpret swing metrics using the same criteria. 

Think about it like this… pitches are different… so swings need to be different. Barrel Slot moves well beyond the idea of simply being ‘on-plane’ that is open to interpretation because ‘plane’ is an ambiguous two-dimensional concept. Barrel slot, on the other hand, is crystal clear in the 3D space and is easily assessed by how well the swing aligns with a pitch and desired high-exit outcome. 

Since we all operate in a three-dimensional world, Barrel Slot allows for a deeper, more thorough, assessment of the swing. Moreover, because pitchers never put the ball in the same place, this allows you to assess a hitter’s propensity to do damage in each part of the zone, not a ambiguous ‘plane.’ 

This is a real-world assessment tool. 

Now we’re talking!    

Barrel Slot Leads to Swing Fingerprint

With this research in hand, we realized we now had the intelligence to properly assess a hitter’s strengths (and relative weaknesses) in a three-dimensional space. By plotting barrel slot vectors for many points in a hitting session (or multiple sessions), you can see a three-dimensional image of a hitter’s characteristics. 

As it turns out … and maybe not surprisingly… each hitter has truly unique capabilities based on their physiology and swing mechanics. 

Using SwingTracker to capture roughly 30-60 swings in different parts of the zone, we can reveal a hitter’s individualized Swing Fingerprint. We visualize this with a 27-sector cube that represents the height, width, *and* depth of the hitting zone. In turn, we unleash Artificial Intelligence  to evaluate Swing Fingerprint to provide insights and directional advice based on the hitters metrics.

Now we’ve got a new powerful evaluation *and* instructional tool! 

What Does This Mean For You?

Swing Fingerprint is a great tool for visual learners because it communicates information in an easy-to-understand graphic. You can literally see your hot and cold zones in a 3D format!

Plus, Swing Fingerprint can be applied in a number of ways for players and coaches. 

Here are a few:

  • Play to Your Strengths – Improve Your Plate Approach. With the insights provided by Swing Fingerprint, a player can go to the plate with better knowledge of what pitches to look for and how to approach them. When a player knows their strengths – supported by hard data – it gives them the confidence to swing and do damage on pitches in their hot zones. Swing Fingerprint can also give players the wherewithal to stay away from pitches that are in colder zones, where they have less chance of doing damage 
  • Unlock Your Potential – Focus Your Training. In addition to using insights to tune a player’s approach at the plate, the swing fingerprint can inform adjustments to the swing. First, one can see the areas of a swing that should be addressed, for example low speed areas, and areas with undesirable angles. The pattern itself can suggest adjustments, for example low bat speed can indicate that contact should be made sooner or later in the swing. 
  • Track Development – See Improvement. Coaches and parents can also use Swing Fingerprint to track positive changes in a player’s Swing Fingerprint that result from instruction. Tracking improvement over time is important for both player and team development and should 
  • Advanced Instruction – Comparative Looks. For more advanced hitters, small nuances can make a big difference. Hitting instructors can work with players on the finer-points of mechanics too see the impact in very specific ways. Additionally, if a player starts struggling in a part of the zone where once successful, you can look back at previous Swing Fingerprints to see if there was a drop-off or change… and in turn, develop a plan to get back on track. The ability to tweak a swing and see a result is vital to the success of advanced players… and Swing Fingerprint helps quantify the impact of those seemingly minor adjustments. It’s a great way to validate teaching techniques and drills because it is immediately measurable.

So, What’s Next?

Get started! Honestly, what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to get your own Swing Fingerprint. And if you’re a coach – run Swing Fingerprint on your players and get to work! 

Swing Fingerprint requires our SwingTracker Bat Sensor and a Premium Hitter Subscription. 

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And if you need a little more info about Swing Fingerprint – watch this video: