- BR Premium
- My Account
On January 5th, Baseball Rebellion's Chas Pippitt and Tyler Zupcic spoke at the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) Convention in Dallas, TX. In the presentation, Baseball Rebellion highlights how we prove improvement of our hitters with the ball tracking system HitTrax.
Using HitTrax we are able to track, store, and export data instantly. Because of this, we are able to share this information with hitters, coaches, and parents and show them their improvement and help them Raise their Ceilings as hitters!
Here is the full presentation:
We would love to connect and answer questions about our presentation with ANYONE! We want to help share our knowledge of HitTrax with you.
Please reach out to email@example.com with any questions or comments about our presentation.
On December 28th, I met Tiffani Railey. I had never met her before, but I had worked with her older brother, Matt, on attempting to comeback to baseball after being released by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Her father, Mike, was here too as was her younger brother Jonathan, a great prospect in his own right, and her friend Deborah Fernanda from Chiploa Junior College and the Brazilian National Softball Team. Needless to say, we had a great group of kids in the building, all with athletic talent and untapped potential. Tiffani was an all-state softball player in High School in Tallahassee Florida, and worked out with some of the best trainers on the east coast at Titus Human Performance, headed up by Adam Faurot, a former FSU Baseball Player. Athletically, she is a phenom, as you can see...
So...like I said, she's a super special female athlete. But, she came to me mainly a slapper. Here is her unedited video from her first day, December 28th and her Hittrax Data as well. She had the tools to be good, and she was good already, with an offer from a mid-major D1 School on the table already, but no interest from the ACC or SEC.
Lots of Grounders, some hard hits, but no real DAMAGE in this round at all. She had some good 'bones' to her swing, meaning she had a decent setup and stride, clearly she had some aggression, just the wrong direction of her hits. Here is her Hittrax Data from her round that shows her average velocity (65.6 mph), max velocity (70.4 mph), max distance (only 184 feet) and average distance (92 feet) and average launch angle at only 6 degrees...With exit velocities in the low to mid 70's my staff and I knew Tiffani hadn't even scratched the surface of what she could become. **Please take special notice of her SPRAY CHART. The black dots are 'tee swings' the blue and red dots are hits (blue) and outs (red).**
Honestly, even with the good things hidden inside her swing, her swing made me sad because I could SEE all the times she'd been HELD BACK by her SPEED. What I mean by this is she's so fast and so explosive, as she runs a legit 2.6 to first base from the left side, that she wasn't allowed to develop her swing and her power in a way that would make top 25 level programs want her services. So after this evaluation, we talked about the movements she lacked, mainly a complete shoulder turn and a 'pulling' back foot from a turning pelvis. After we worked on her footwork in the mirror for a few hours, and did some Rebel's Rack Progressions and dowel rod work, she was finished for the day.
The next day, we repeated and added to her progression, and here's what happened: **Note, I do not have the same view of her swing for some reason...I either never took it or deleted it...but you can clearly see the differences in how she's turning and how her movements have changed/improved to generate significantly more power and lift...**
So...quite a bit better movement quality wise, and therefore, statistically on the Hittrax. Her back foot is moving, her turn is more complete. Tiffani now not only has more confidence her swing and physical ability, but she also has a repeatable process to continue her growth within her movements as well as specific drills she can do daily to ensure her continued improvement. Here's more data supporting her positive change:
The chart above shows her average exit velocity up to 71 mph, from 65.6mph, max exit velocity, 82mph, up from 75mph as well as her max distance of 286 up from 184 feet. Again, you can see her SPRAY CHART, blue dots are hits...mostly home runs, and the red dots are outs...WOW!
Here is a front view gif of her best swing I caught on video, it shows her head moving forward less and an extremely quick pelvis turn as well as barrel action after an extremely slow forward movement. One of the things we have modified over the past few months is the 'speed and distance' of the forward movement. It has become clear to us at Baseball Rebellion and Softball Rebellion that moving forward, while important, is not as important as we once thought, even for our smallest hitters. Tiffani, who will be back up here at some point to continue her training, will be moving forward even less in her upcoming videos that I will update this article with upon her return.
As always, I started tweeting out her videos in raw video and GIF format as well as instagram-ing some of her swings. My phone didn't stop buzzing for almost a week. College coaches from all over the country were inquiring about her future services. Less than a month after her visit to Baseball Rebellion/Softball Rebellion, Tiffani accepted a scholarship to play at her "dream school" the University of Georgia.
Huge congrats to Tiffani on her hard work and willingness to find out what she could become instead of holding onto what she was. She'll start at the Central Florida CC, the number 1 ranked Juco in the country and prepare for her time in the SEC. Amazing changes in only a few hours of work.
Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion
Here's Tiffani's thoughts on her experience at BR/SR with me and with my staff. Her father felt compelled to make a video talking about how we treated his sons and specifically Tiffani as well. Its awesome to make people feel this good and this happy and help them get an immediate return on their investment and trust in our program. The feeling is more than mutual!
One of the Most Common things I hear when I’m watching lessons at another facility (which I used to do all the time…now the local guys know who I am so I can’t) or watching a team hit batting practice in a cage is “hit the ball right back at the screen”. I hear it at all levels and I see it most when college hitters who we have never worked with come in for their initial evaluations here at Baseball Rebellion. Over and over, I’ll flip them front toss, and it never fails, they hit backside ‘flairs’ and low line drives and ground balls right at the screen. When I’m sitting on a bucket doing underhand front toss, I usually get about 6 balls out of 10 pitches that would hit me if i didn’t have a screen in front.
This video is of KC Judge, the Director of Performance at Baseball Rebellion, hitting balls to simulate the ‘low and hard’ approach of most college and high school hitters when they come to their evaluations at Baseball Rebellion.
Many coaches reading this, probably think that having players practice ‘working backside’ and hitting the ball ‘low and hard’ is a good idea. I totally get the need for some ‘situational’ hitting rounds to ‘move a guy over’ from 2nd to 3rd or ‘get a guy in’ from 3rd with a grounder to a back infield. They also probably identify with the cues I mentioned before, and love that round of BP that KC just took. I’d imagine these coaches think those ‘low line drives and hard ground balls’ work out into hits lots of the time. I understand the logic of “there are no bad hops in the air” and making the defense “work” to get an out. I’ve even heard of coaches punishing players with running for ANY pulled baseballs…even Home Runs! Surprise…I don’t think that’s smart. Thanks to Hittrax, we now know exactly how high and far certain hits in the batting cage would go on a field. Since we can now see the difference, allowing kids to hit the sides and tops of the cage has improved their on field performance as well as making their lessons much more fun. It makes sense that practicing hitting grounders and singles ALL THE TIME really limits the damage a hitter can do when they get a hung breaking ball or a fastball middle in.
Think about it: it takes 3 consecutive singles to score a run, but when most coaches think back to big games their teams won, I bet they think back to the doubles and home runs that scored runs in bunches, instead of the many many innings where 2 singles get hit and no runs are put on the board.
Here’s an example of how Harford Junior College, one of the top 8 Juco’s in the nation in Baseball and an extremely powerful lineup, looks at Batting Practice. The Harford Mindset is to crush baseballs no matter if it’s in a cage or on the field. Listen to the confidence in Coach Tom Eller’s voice as well as Daulton Weeks’s voice and listen to how they view hitting batting practice and game hitting in general. I know if I had these numbers, I’d be super confident as well!
I know I’d want to play for that coach and with those players. They’re empowered by the ability to really practice doing damage within their batting practices. KC Judge will perform the self toss drill. The Self Toss Drill is one of the best drills out there to get a more ‘ferris wheel’ barrel action and activate a powerful Side Bend within the swing.
After KC did a few more reps of the Self Toss Drill, I had him take a “Harford” round of BP…
Now many coaches would say that round of BP wasn’t as good…because KC hit the top of the cage with most of those balls. To be honest, before Baseball Rebellion had a Hittrax, I would have been one of those coaches who would be telling KC to ‘get the ball off the top of the cage’. Now, through the use of their high speed camera tracking ball distance, launch angle and exit speed, I can see how much difference hitting the ball HIGHER in the cage really can have for a hitter’s value for their team. Here’s the REAL LIVE DATA on KC’s first and 2nd rounds of BP Round 1 (Low and Hard) is on the left, round 2 (Elevate and Celebrate) is on the right.
As you can see, KC not only hit 6 more doubles in round 2, but also he batted for a higher batting average. Not surprisingly, his exit velocities are lower when he hit the ball higher (everyone’s exit velocities are lower when they hit the ball higher) but you can see how much more DAMAGE he did to the opposing team. Once, I asked Coach Eller about his batting practice rounds and he told me that their first round of Batting Practice at Harford is actually a Home Run Round instead of traditional bunts and hit and runs. Wanna see if it works? Here’s a poor soul’s windshield who parked outside the stadium at the Junior College World Series in Grand Junction. This car was 460 feet away from home plate…courtesy of Daulton Weeks…
I have written my last 3 articles using the Hittrax, and I do dozens and dozens of lesson a week using this product. Honestly, I think it’s the most important measurement tool a baseball or softball facility can have on the market today. Without it, I’d still be telling Spencer Smith and Grace Sherron to hit the ball lower than the top of the cage…and I know they wouldn’t have had the incredible seasons that they had without the staff at Baseball Rebellion learning the truth about hitting in a cage. Grace and Spencer were both Conference Players of the Year and we’re waiting for their all state nods to happen as well. Both are committed D1 and both are excellent students of the game. Since they’ve started to hit the ball HIGHER in the cage, thanks to Hittrax removing the negative stigma that cage ‘pop ups’ can have, we now use all sides of our batting cage nets with all of our players to great success.
– Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion
I also wanted to include this last video of KC hitting 100mph with wood for the first time in his life. I did say that he couldn’t do it…and I was wrong. KC never, to my knowledge, hit a ball over 100 mph as a player or while I was training him. It really was cool that he hit 100. I was pumped for him when he did it…I just couldn’t show it and give him that gratification. HA
At Baseball Rebellion, we get lots of calls from players at all levels of baseball. From little league dads and moms trying to help their kids get their first hit, to MLB players working to stay at the highest level of baseball. Many times, when professional players call us, they have run on some hard times within their career, and are either coming off a rough hitting year or have just been released from their team. This is a tough time not only for the player, but for their families as well. Many times, the mother and father of the player have been instrumental in the player’s development since they were a young child, so the player’s support group feels anxiety about his career. They have been helping the player to realize their dream of playing professional baseball, and the sadness and shock of the release or bad year is felt by everyone. I received this phone call from Ron Hagenmiller on April 11, 2016…
Ian Hagenmiller, a 10th round draft pick out of high school by the Atlanta Braves, had just been released during his 3rd year of affiliated baseball. You can hear from his voice that he’s upset for his son but he’s hopeful that Baseball Rebellion can help Ian find the swing that got him drafted so high out of high school and committed to the University of Miami. I called him back the next day, one thing led to another, and the next week, Ian flew in for 5 days of intense hitting instruction.
Before we took his initial hitting evaluation video, while Ian was warming up, I asked him a lot of questions about HOW he hits on a daily basis and what he thinks about. He talked A LOT about his hands and timing the ball with his hands. He talked a lot about hitting the ball low and hard. In the initial evaluation period, I usually just ask questions, listen to the hitter, and watch how they move. Obviously, Ian had some work to do, and some changes to make, based on the stats above and his release from the Braves organization. Here’s one of the main things we had to get him to STOP doing/thinking that really jumped out at me in his initial hitting video.
After we went over these videos and hitting HitTrax data, we went to work! Most of our initial work was with his stride direction and posture. We talked a lot about staying tall in his forward move and having a more vertical posture at landing. We threw a TON of medicine balls, both with a hesitation and without. Lastly, we did lots of mirror work with the Rebel’s Rack and some assisted and accelerated turns with the rack (which is essentially under-speed and over-speed training for the turn and those drills come with the Rebel’s Rack). Below is the last video we took of Ian hitting before he left.
Instead of a voiceover, I decided to let you guys hear him learn and hear his thoughts in his own words. Most of these balls were home runs, many of them were hit over 450 feet. Training for baseball can be serious. Playing baseball is this player’s dream. Teaching hitting is our life’s work. But I think the journey needs to have some laughs included in it as well.
At Baseball Rebellion baseball and softball players are able to train their swings and learn hitting information from unexpected people and mediums. Ian not only hit one on one with baseball rebellion instructors, but in groups with other hitters including other pros, and even a 9 year old. He watched D1 committed softball players as part of his training and also talked to HS baseball kids about their swing thoughts and training progressions.
Ian’s changes are pretty easy to see from his evaluation to now. Ian strides further, but is under control. He’s really pulling his back foot forward due to a great rotation of his pelvis. His back knee ends up in front of his face and the LIFT (greater launch angle) in the swing is BUILT IN. Now he can use and sustain his power at much higher launch angles, which will result in higher slugging percentages and more doubles and home runs.
Pretty amazing stuff from Ian and HitTrax. Data Baseball Rebellion was never be able to track, even a few months ago, is now at my fingertips at an instant. If I had told Ian that he’d hit the ball 110 feet further in 5 days of training with Baseball Rebellion do you think he would have believed me? What if I said that to his father, Ron? I know I would have run from anyone with those types of outlandish claims when I was playing, but the numbers don’t lie. I have worked with lots of guys in my career at Baseball Rebellion, and Ian Hagenmiller is already one of my favorite hitters to train. He was extremely easy to work with and willing to try new things. Ian was very receptive to the movement drills we teach and why we teach them, and he appreciated our dedication to teaching not only him but everyone in our building while he was here. He’s a guy I am sure will revive his career and make a mark in baseball. His power is simply tremendous.
– Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Hitting Rebellion
Here was a Voicemail Ian left after he got home from his trip to Baseball Rebellion in North Carolina.
How cool is that? Makes the time and the effort worth while. Good Luck Ian, you’re gonna kill it.
At Baseball Rebellion, we’re always looking for the best way to prove improvement to our players and their parents both in person and online. One of the ways we’ve done this in the past was with Stalker 2 Radar ball exit speed testing. Some of the hardest hitting players in the country train here, at I.T.S. Baseball, a little facility in Hillsborough, NC about 25 minutes away from Raleigh Durham International Airport. More and more, Radar Gun Ball Exit Speed Testing has come under fire as many times the instructor must either hold the gun or set up a tripod with the gun on it at a very low angle. Many times, the hitter can hit a ground ball or a line drive that’s about 4 feet off the ground and right back at the gun in front of them to get their best readings. The higher and more to the side of the cage you hit the ball, the slower the Stalker 2 gun reads the speed of the ball, and many of those higher and more pulled/pushed oppo hits are actually doubles and home runs. Many “twitter coaches” aren’t too keen on Radar Gun testing due to this fact, and honestly…they have a point.
To combat this problem, I recently purchased a HitTrax machine, which uses high speed cameras to track and analyze ball flight after impact. The HitTrax tells you ball exit speed, speed of the pitch, how far the ball will fly and how high you hit the ball (launch angle). So video analysis, like we do at Baseball Rebellion all the time, tells us about the player’s movements and now the HitTrax tells us tons about how the BALL reacted to impact of the bat. Knowing more data about ball flight was a missing piece of our hitting evaluation puzzle, which now that we have, it can tell us exactly how well a ball was really struck.
Mike Donfrancesco, the founder of HitTrax had this to say about our data logs:
“The data captured by the HitTrax System provides a quantitative and objective measurements of a players’ performance. Reports showing incoming pitch speed and outgoing exit velocity have an accuracy of +/- 1 mph RMS. The horizontal and vertical launch angle have been measured with an accuracy of +/- 1 degree RMS. Distance projections are calculated based on the exit velocity and vertical launch angle and has been found to be within +/- 5% of the actual distance traveled. The system at Rebellion Baseball was calibrated to within these specifications prior to capturing this data and the numbers and values within the charts and graphs have not been manipulated by Baseball Rebellion in any way.”
At Baseball Rebellion, the last thing we want to do is teach our players to hit ground balls and low line drive singles up the middle over and over. Baseball Rebellion hitters are GREEDY and want to do DAMAGE during their at bats, with extra base hits off and over the wall! That’s why many people, from all over the country, fly here for in person training and hire us for online hitting lessons. One of those player’s Hittrax data will be used here to illustrate the awesome power of both the Hittrax and how changing movement totally changes the results and ceiling of a baseball or softball hitter.
This is “Eric” a player who has played a long time in professional baseball and multiple MLB seasons. Here are some of his numbers/HitTrax Data directly from the Hittrax reports, which the machine generates. Each of the 3 reports below were all taken from his hitting session on 2/10/2016 at 1:49 pm. The only modification on any of these reports is the removal of “Eric’s” real name. NOTE: if you don’t want to read all the charts yourself…scroll down below the three charts and watch the VIDEO where I explain what they all mean.
Now I realize that’s a lot of charts and stats all in a row, so click this short video below and i’ll explain what they mean quickly. You can go back and re-visit their main points if you’d like to compare and contrast his ‘after’ charts.
Man…that was a lot of data…I can feel myself getting dorkier already……..but I can also feel myself becoming a better hitting coach for my athletes. After seeing this data and realizing that Eric was hitting mostly singles, which severely limits his long term value to any club, we talked more about elevating the baseball and maintaining his velocity as the baseball was hit higher. Eric knew he had to not only hit the baseball higher, but HARDER as well, as his farthest balls were easily caught by outfielders. So…we went to work.
From about 2:00 to 4:10 or so, we did lots of movement work. Some Rebel’s Rack Resisted Turns, some Rebel’s Rack Accelerated Turns, as well as posture work with a dowel rod. I wrote a lot about a hitter’s posture and how certain posture mistakes can restrict a player’s turn quality and speed. (CLICK HERE to read part 1 of my hitting posture article, CLICK HERE to read part 2 of my hitting posture article). Now when I say we did these moves for 2 hours…I mean it. We’re talking hundreds and hundreds of Rebel’s Rack and dowel moves in the mirror as well as with resistance. Also, we threw med balls into our med ball net. KC, our director of athletic performance, is writing an article about the rotational power improvement properties of specific medicine ball training for baseball and softball hitters next week, so look for it!
Below, you can see his new hitting charts, taken 2/10/16 at 4:44 PM. Again, there is a video explanation below if you’d like to just scroll to it.
Here’s a quick video talking about his improvement and what you need to know about his 2nd hitting session vs his 1st hitting session.
That’s quite the improvement in just roughly 2 hours of training with Baseball Rebellion’s movements and drills.
Obviously, “Eric” was very happy with those results and has continued his Baseball Rebellion training and swing mechanics into spring training. Leading to his best spring as a professional. I’m excited about his progress and career going forward, and he is as well.
None of this detailed hitting information is trackable without a HitTrax. Now that we have one at Baseball Rebellion, It’s already hard to imagine what doing in person lessons were like before we got one. There’s so much you can teach baseball / softball parents, players, and coaches about the VALUE of certain hits, that just hitting in a cage or even out on a field cannot do. I’ve only been using the HitTrax for about 2 months, but it has already been an absolute game changer for us as hitting instructors. Our professional and collegiate hitters love it, because we can chart their progress and show them that their Baseball Rebellion swing training is ACTUALLY working! We can also show young kids we know if they’re swinging ‘hard’ or not, which makes HitTrax a phenomenal ‘effort and performance evaluator’ said one of our parents of an 11 year old boy. In short, the HitTrax allows us to PROVE the IMPROVEMENT of our baseball and softball hitters while other instructors, here or anywhere in the World, that don’t use the HitTrax data, simply cannot.
Now, if you don’t have a HitTrax to measure the ball flight/speed, how do you know you’re improving? Well I’d say: HitTrax is just a measurement tool. If you do the same movements, (NOT “HITTING” DRILLS), that we had “Eric” and all of our clients do, then it’s safe to infer that your hitter will improve as well. With the amount of training Baseball Rebellion has done both online and in person, the variable tends to be more the student, and less the program. We KNOW that The Rebel’s Rack makes people turn faster and with more power (also in partner with The Drive Developer). We KNOW the dowel rod movements we give our in person and Baseball Rebellion Online Hitting Lesson clients make the body move more efficiently through the swing motion. We KNOW that med ball throws translate to more hitting power, better accuracy, and increased barrel acceleration. Our baseball and softball hitters prove it every single day. I know I enjoyed the process of writing this article, and I hope that you enjoy reading it and find the data both enlightening, and encouraging if you’re a part of the Baseball Rebellion. If you’re not, I’d ask you to consider asking your instructor some questions about what the instructor is teaching, why he/she is teaching it, as well as what the instructor measures and how he/she measures it. I hope the answers are good. I hope the answers make sense. Just make sure the plan works and can REALLY improve your hitter. Make sure your money and time is valued and your son or daughter is getting instruction that’s trackable and measurable over time and that scales to the level of play and the goals of your hitter.
Chas Pippitt, Leader of the Baseball Rebellion
P.S. here is what Mike Donfrancesco of HitTrax said of our case study and results after he analyzed it himself:
“The measurements recorded during the second session show a significant improvement in all measured and projected metrics. First off, the average and max exit ball velocities have increased by 7.5 mph and 4.7 mph, respectively. This had a direct result in the maximum distance, which increased from 325 ft in the first session to 381 ft in the second session. The player was also able to increase his HHA from the 16.4% recorded in the first session to a more consistent 67.9% in the second session
The LA vs. exit velo chart generate for the second session also indicates a vast improvement as well. In the first session the player’s line drives (10-20 degrees) were averaging at just about 90 mph while these velocities jumped up to ~97 mph during the second session. Furthermore, the exit velos recorded in the 20-35 degree range increased by 8 to 10 mph. As a result, the SLG% increased from .623 to 1.358 during the second session thus proving that hitting the ball harder at the right launch angles produces positive outcomes.
Chas, what you and your staff did with Eric is VERY impressive in a span of only 3 hours…Quite remarkable and not the norm at all…Nicely done!!”