Sports Technology

Pitcher Perfect: Training with a Smart Baseball

Overview At CES® 2021’s Taiwan Tech Arena, Taiwanese company JingleTek showcased the world’s first smart baseball exclusively designed for pitchers. Explore how the smart baseball is enabling pitchers to have a complete grasp of pitch quality.

Baseball is commonly considered Taiwan’s national sport, with Taiwanese players in Major League Baseball teams garnering huge followings and national pride from fans across the island. At CES 2021, Taiwanese company JingleTek put the world’s first smart baseball, STRIKE, on display, showing how sports science can help improve pitching and prepare teams for wins.

Beyond pure passion for the sport, data analytics and sensor technology can boost athletes’ performance. The information from STRIKE can shave off critical nanoseconds of hesitation and identify ways for pitchers to improve.

 

Five Key Measurements of Baseball

JingleTek highlights five areas that enable pitchers and coaches to have a comprehensive understanding of a single pitch. With multiple precision sensors built in, STRIKE — made to closely match the specifications of a competition baseball — can measure all five factors.

  • Spin Rate: Spin rate is a significant factor in pitch velocity and movement. A high-speed camera enables STRIKE to record the spin rate of every pitch and display it in real-time on the accompanying app.

  • Velocity: Understanding the velocity of pitches in real time allows pitchers to see how their adjustments are improving their throw speeds.

  • Trajectory: The movement of pitches is vital in helping pitchers make batters miss, and understanding minor changes in trajectory can play a big role in the outcome of a pitch.

  • Location: Precision pitching influences the team’s overall strategy. Through advanced location pitching training, pitchers can — like good archers — become more accurate in hitting their target.

  • Rotational Axis: Rotational axis is an important factor in the movement of a baseball. STRIKE allows pitchers to see exactly how a baseball rotates from a pitch before it hits the catcher’s glove.

 

Tech Hits it Out of the Park

The initial STRIKE 1.0 collected information from more than 10,000 pitchers for more than 280,000 collective pitches. In an effort to expand the smart baseball’s services to other positions on the team, JingleTek developed STRIKE 2.0, which captures more features, including pop-time for catchers and a STRIKE report system and slow-motion video provided for coaches, scouts and physical therapists.

Dual lens cameras embedded in the baseball produce slow motion videos with an extremely high frame rate. With imaging analysis, pitchers and their coaches are able to record and compare the pitcher’s release point and delivery and break down velocity at every point of the pitch. Augmented reality functions in the app helps the STRIKE system present a more dynamic range of data when training pitchers for location precision.

Motion sensors on STRIKE’s Smart Suit help measure the kinetic chains of a pitcher. With the data, teams are able to not only understand the movement of the ball but also dissect how certain arm and body positions and changes can affect the pitch.

“We wish STRIKE 2.0 can support every coach with data which are hard to measure before, or help each player to record his own real-time condition," said JingleTek founder and CEO ChingLun (RuRu) Lin.
 

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