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.
Swing Fingerprint is completely personalized for each hitter based on their distinct combination of swing metrics. The analysis is then delivered both visually and in written format right inside the app, providing instant feedback for both short term and long term improvement. Combined, these tools enable coaches to focus their instruction in order to unlock a player’s potential, simplify their plate approach and increase productivity.
Furthermore, Swing Fingerprint will help 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”. 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 a player has 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. DK wanted to know what ultimately creates those outcomes in certain parts of the zone.
And we didn’t get there alone.
While DK works 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
Diamond Kinetics 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 their hitting outcomes.
Why where these players hitting balls a certain way in certain parts of the zone?
DK looked at thousands and thousands of swings to refine the metrics. By measuring the angle, direction, elevation, and speed of the bat in different parts of the zone, DK was able to plot data into a three-dimensional space.
This work led to the concept of ‘Barrel Slot’.
Simply defined, Barrel Slot is the averaged straight line path of the ‘sweet spot’ of the barrel, six 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 DK can evaluate swings at any point in the zone and interpret swing metrics using the same criteria.
Think about it like this: Every pitch is different. So every swing needs to be different.
Barrel Slot moves well beyond the idea of simply being ‘on-plane’ (something 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 coaches to assess a hitter’s propensity to do damage in each part of the zone, not an ambiguous ‘plane.’
This, is a real-world assessment tool.
Barrel Slot Leads to Swing Fingerprint
With this research in hand, DK realized the intelligence was available 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, DK can reveal a hitter’s individualized Swing Fingerprint. This is visualized through a 27-sector cube that represents the height, width, and depth of the hitting zone.
From there, Artificial Intelligence is then used to evaluate Swing Fingerprint to provide insights and directional advice based on the hitters metrics, creating a powerful new 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?
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 DK’s SwingTracker Bat Sensor and a Premium Hitter Subscription.
And if you need a little more info about Swing Fingerprint – watch this video: