Finally a way for hitter's to calibrate their swing and train for the proper approach. If you are not testing...YOU ARE GUESSING!
Objective: To educate softball and baseball players and coaches on how to test, train and develop a players swing and approach. The Hitter Handicap measures the ability of a hitter to focus and produce a swing within their specific capability.
Summary: Objective data-driven feedback that can quantify swing efficiency provides the most valuable tool in perfecting a player’s swing and approach. The Hitter Handicap is a proven testing and training process that measure the capacity and skill of a hitter at a specific period. Once a benchmark testing has been completed, ongoing adjustments can be made in the training process to calibrate the best swing for the player.
The Hitter Handicap is easy for all players to use when testing, training, and developing their swing. If you are not testing…YOU ARE GUESSING! Unfortunately for the players working on perfecting their swings, they do not have a data-driven objective approach to take when training and trying to figure out their approach. The Hitter Handicap solves this problem by quantifying the players hitting capacity and skill level.
The additional use of the ACE Capacity testing process will further provide the specific details necessary for each player to better dictate the hitting approach which will yield the best success for them in competition and will better allow coaches to recruit players who can contribute more specifically to what the coaches expect.
What’s Next: The Hitter Handicap answers the questions as to what is next. Every hitter needs to have a plan of attack and needs to have a proper objective foundation to determine what that plan of attack should be. The Hitter Handicap is an ongoing process that allows the hitter to continually adapt to their physiological growth and mental maturity. You will always have direction and get instant feedback that gives you specifics on what you need to do daily to gain mastery of skill as a hitter.
Hitter Handicap Score- You take the high and the low exit velocity from each round and subtract them from one another creating the difference. Once all three rounds are calculated you average the three handicaps to get the overall Hitter Handicap.
Skill Assessment Details- The Hitter Handicap score indicates the hitter’s ability to duplicate a swing within parameters that display the level of skill. Measures the misses and dictates the purity of a swing. A good Hitter Handicap requires a good swing path, so this is reflected in the numbers. A 3 Hitter Handicap is considered exceptional and would indicate a very skilled hitter no matter their age. Typically, the lower the handicap produces a lower Total MPH as better contact hitters do not typically have great power numbers. The better the Hitter Handicap core the more likely the hitter’s speed is associated with the number. Often you see the player with the best Hitter Handicap also have the most stolen bases on the team. Typically, the players with the lowest Hitter Handicap play middle infield or center field. Typically, the lower Hitter Handicap with the lower Total MPH are the leadoff and #2 hitters. The balance between the Hitter Handicap Score and Total MPH dictates the potential production and hitting style the hitter should focus on. The Hitter Handicap reflects on the hitter’s ability to focus and their ability to understand their capacity as a hitter staying within the limitations of what they can produce in a consistent manner. Barrel Awareness is another term that is utilized with the Hitter Handicap as it displays the ability for the hitter to squarely hit the ball in the sweet spot of the bat. The lower the Hitter Handicap the more likely the hitter is to be able to produce the right swing to the right spot with the right timing.
Total MPH- This is the total of all the exit velocity of all 30 swings.
Skill Assessment Details- Total MPH provides you with the hitters “Capacity”. The capacity is important to be able to determine the approach the hitter should take. Power hitters are going to have the highest total MPH and will typically bat in the 3 or 4 holes depending on how the rest of the talent in the lineup. Total MPH will reflect Home Run production and extra base hits so more emphasis is on the slugging percentage and driving in runs than the Hitter Handicap. Bigger Total MPH numbers typically have more hiccups and less runs in the testing due to the nature of the approach. When training with the Hitter Handicap process you may see big hitters, numbers go down on Total MPH the second time they take it because they realize they can not sustain the big swing, max effort approach. The total MPH also is indicative of the size of the hitter and the speed of the hitter as they typically will be driving in runs and not stealing bases. The player with the highest total MPH on the team is typically A DH, 1B, 3B or Catcher. The player with the highest total MPH usually has the highest grip strength on the team and if the Hitter Handicap is low, they will also have the best broad jump if the Hitter Handicap is High, they most likely will have a lower end broad jump.
MPH Per Swing- This the average swing exit velocity of all 30 swings.
Skill Assessment Details- MPH per swing is a quick look at the output or production of the hitter. This puts things in perspective as to a consistent exit velo that will determine the makeup of the player and where they hit in the lineup. The Hitter Handicap allows you to calibrate the value of the average MPH so that a precise number can be put on the hitter and used to develop their approach.
A 1-10 ranking is used in our Pure Hitting process when instructing hitters how to use the Hitter Handicap to develop their approach. A 1 represents the least amount of effort give on a swing while a 10 represents the highest amount of effort on a swing. Having a specific number to reflect on when training, the athlete can calibrate their swing to a 7.5 or 8 which is typically the right swing for them.
Being able to quantify the number allows reflection on the Hitter Handicap scorecard for the hitter, coach, and scout to quickly understand what level of player they hitter is and how that matches up to a specific position on the field.
Variance- The variance is calculated by taking the MPH per swing and subtracting the Hitter Handicap.
Skill Assessment Details- Variance is a detailed look into in game production and what expectations should be. The Variance considers the strength of the hitter to hit the ball hard, but it also incorporates the consistency in which the hitter is going to produce. You may have a player with a High MPH per swing that looks sexy when they do square balls up, but the variance allows you to realistically determine how likely that hitter is going to be able to execute that swing in a game situation. Many times, a player and a coach have high expectations because the potential is there, but they are often disappointed in results in competition. The Variance is the reality check of maturity of the hitter and the hitter’s ability to adjust.
Hitter Handicap Testing Process Details:
· Participant must gain access to a Pocket Radar, Batting Tee, Hitting Net, Balls
· Participant must have someone video the Hitter Handicap process from first swing to last swing capturing the exit velocities of all 30 swings
· The Pocket Radar must be visible in the video displaying the MPH reading of each ball hit
· The total time from start to finish from the first swing to the last swing must be within 4 minutes
· Participant can have someone put balls on batting tee for them or they can put the ball on themselves
· Participants execute 3 rounds of 10 swings off the tee with the batter hitting the ball as hard as they can as accurately as they can considering more of a line drive to the target to be ideal
· There should be a 20 second rest period (pick balls up) in between rounds providing 1 minute of time per round to complete the 3 rounds.
· Participants will write down all the exit velocities captured using pocket radar on to the Hitter Handicap Scorecard and will then enter into the Hitter Handicap mobile application in conjunction with their digital athlete account.
· Athlete should upload a picture of the Hitter Handicap Scorecard to their digital athlete account
· Athlete should upload the video taken of the Hitter Handicap onto their digital athlete account
· Athlete must upload a certified copy of their Birth Certificate onto their digital athlete account
· Pocket Radar will capture the exit velocities by sitting directly behind the batting tee and the hitter and or being in front of the hitter (protected by netting).
· The size, weight and model of the bat used should be recorded on the Scorecard
· A one-minute or less “introduction” should be captured before the execution of the Hitter Handicap where the participants state the following on camera:
State of residence
Age & DOB-
*After this information is stated, the participant can go right into execution of the Hitter Handicap.
Hitter Handicap 7
Total MPH 1587
MPH Per Swing 52.9
Hitter Handicap 4.67
Total MPH 1469
MPH Per Swing 48.97
Kelly Ahrens the founder of Stars and Stripes Sports and Test and Train Sports started testing athletes in 2007 wanting to better understand the make up of athletes and what defines a top prospect. The Hitter Handicap has been utilized for over 10 years and has been calibrated based upon real testing scenarios with athletes ages 8 to 25.
Kelly published the ACE Capacity testing matrix in 2016 which was the first matrix made public that gave the opportunity for athletes to see how they matched up with other athletes in their age group using a total objective point of view. As more data was captured and more information was studied as to what makes up an athlete, Ahrens wanted to be able to validate the “influence” of an athlete. If a coach is a good hitting coach, how can they prove it? The Hitter Handicap was born and with the contribution from many sports scientists, aerospace engineers, coaches, etc. the process has proven to be an accurate assessment of a hitter’s skill.
In addition to being a great tool to assess hitters, the Hitter Handicap has proven a ton of value in being able to teach and develop swings and approach. Over time, Ahrens have proven the ability to predict outcomes based upon totally objective data-driven process. He has accurately predicted in season production based upon pre-season data.
The use of the Mental MRI and the ACE Capacity testing provides the ability to perform a forensic analysis of a player and use a data-driven approach to influence the development of that athletes. This process has been repeated at the amateur, high school and collegiate level with great success.
The value of what the Hitter Handicap brings is affordability, ease of use and value of data received. It was important to create a process that everyone could partake in and that would be able to be duplicated all over the world. This hitting tool is now being duplicated with the Pitchers Handicap and with the Hitter Handicap for Soccer, Volleyball, Tennis, Golf, and Hockey as the methodology provides an easy way to assess and influence development.
The success of the Hitter Handicap, ACE Capacity Testing and the Mental MRI should act as a foundation for programs to follow when testing and developing players. Hitter Handicap is a mobile application which Is apart of the patent pending and Trademarked Hitter Handicap software platform.
With an overwhelming amount of data over a long period of time, this process is well tested and will make an immediate impact on those who invest in learning the specifics. Ahrens has tested over 65,000 athletes across the US, Cuba, and Dominican Republic while testing and retesting many of the athletes up to 10 times over up to a 10-year period. Understanding the maturation of athletes and what influences athletes a valuable commodity Ahrens is is now willing to share.
Hitter Handicap provides a evidence-based process for an objective view of a Hitter's skill and capacity. The Hitter Handicap is easy to use and provides a wealth of information on a hitter which can be applied equally to all participants who take the Hitter Handicap. Not only does the Hitter Handicap tell the story, it also narrates What's Next. In the past, hitters have had no way to calibrate their swing in an objective manner. Typically, most every hitter is Trying to hard or their swing is Too Big and they can not sustain that approach. Gaining an understanding and then focusing on a specific approach based upon real numbers is a gamechanger for top level players who produce at a high level in game situations.
The Hitter Handicap measures capacity so the hitter and coaches do not have to guess on what the capacity is. The ceiling of a hitter is measured by capacity and calibrated by using the Hitter Handicap to objectively know how skillfully and consistently a hitter can produce a productive swing.
Hitter Handicap has captured thousands of Hitter Handicaps from players ages 8U to 25U in baseball. Testing has been done all over the United States, Canada, Cuba, Columbia, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, etc. This information allows a player to benchmark their Hitter Handicap numbers so they can define where they stand and what needs to be the best approach possible for the particular hitter.
The Hitter Handicap measures a hitters skill, potential and ability to focus. The Hitter Handicap has been integrated into the selection and development process with many College program due to the success of being able to forecast the potential of a hitter and what you can expect on gameday.
This is a sample of how the Hitter Handicap works and how it is used in instruction. This is an 11U Baseball player who in 75 days carved 10 points off his handicap while increasing the exit velocity over 6 MPH per swing. Proof and validation the hitter is now hitting the ball harder more consistently. Every player should demand this accountability from their hitting coach.
The younger the better. This player was 8U when he started and had played an entire baseball recreation season without getting a hit and or making contact. After providing lessons and using the Hitter Handicap, ACE Capacity Testing, Latella Neuromuscular Training protocols this player turned into a slugger. He hit multiple Home Runs and was and still is the #3 or #4 hitter on his travel ball teams as a 13U player today.
ACE Capacity Testing provides the benchmarks to measure capacity and direct deliberate training specific to each athletes needs.
Technology used via mobile application to quantify biometrical movements while executing a swing. Measures proper sequence applied to swing.
Kinesthetic Awareness Training device is the only patented device that provides vibration and audio reinforcement in training motor skill movement patterns. This device allows the hitter to "feel" the correct movements and map the neuromuscular needs.
Latella Neuromuscular Training System is the Holy Grail for neurmuscular training. This patented and proven system allows the hitter to train and prepare body for the correct movements in competition. Mobility, Sequence and Timing are mapped to allow the hitter to try better instead of harder producing a better in game result.
Testing top prospects...
Hitters have benefit from the utilization of the Hitter Handicap to quantify improvement after specialty grip training. Testing hitters before and after grip training and the use of grips on the bat shows big improvements in the hitters ability to hit the ball harder more consistently.
Hitters benefit greatly by placing grips on bat for neuromuscular training purposes. The hitter increases focus and "tames" their swing so they do not overswing and practice a swing that is not one they can duplicate. Grips on the bat increase grip strength over time, builds better symmetry and improves the bat path to the ball. Cross Gripping adds additional benefits that correct dominant hand impacted swings.
In testing, the 1.75 grips tend to create a better Hitter Handicap score early on in training as it "tames" the hitter from swinging too big. Testing has proven immediate neuromuscular connectivity when using grips on the bat. The variation of grips on the bat from 1.75" , 2.0", 2.5" helps prevent overuse injuries and builds structural integrity.
7U player shows how to train using 2.5" ball grip on bat while training in proprioception. Mapping movements specific to hitting a ball cognitively impacts the hitters awareness of a good swing. Variation in training techniques requires adaptability from the hitter so they learn to make adjustments.
The Handmaster Plus is a must have to prevent UCL injuries and to prepare wrist, forearms and extensor work . In game use is advised for pitchers so they do not have long periods of time sitting without use. This is a preventative measure to take as well as using it for recovery. This uilds and develops "usuable" grip strength specific for hitting and throwing.
Look forward to getting your feedback and assisting your hitter in becoming a more accomplished hitter with a more improved approach.
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