We sat down with Brian Vermilyea, COO of K-MOTION, to talk about how he’s leading the company’s move into baseball. We asked him a few questions about K-BASEBALL that we thought you’d find interesting.
What does K-BASEBALL do for hitters?
We’re the first people to bring quick and easy biomechanical measurement and biofeedback training to baseball and softball. It’s exciting to see how K-Baseball enables the coach to measure the player’s body to evaluate athleticism, look for imbalances or weaknesses, and design a player development plan for improvement. You see, we’ve found that the most important element in hitting is the body and what we’ve created is a technology that allows coaches to measure, assess, coach and train a player’s body in 3d. There’s literally nothing else like it.
Why is this a such a big deal for baseball and softball?
Until now, coaches only had their eyes and a 2D video camera, which is great for seeing swing style, but not so good for understanding the finer points of mechanics. Remember all players create speed and efficiency differently, so until K-Baseball you really couldn’t see those differences. K-Baseball lets coaches collect 3d data that explains how a player is actually generating power, sequencing movements and, ultimately, hitting the ball. It’s objective data, no subjectivity, no guesswork.
How do you know this really helps?
We’ve been helping the top coaches in golf for 16 years, 51 of the Top 100 are our customers. And they’ve been helping us and learning aside that. We have great collaborative relationships with our coaches so we have a very good idea of what works in golf. Now, we are doing the same in baseball — we’re working with over two-thirds of the MLB teams. Interestingly, they’re sharing results that are consistent with what we’re seeing in golf—players are becoming more efficient. The teams are telling us that because of this improved efficiency players are making better decisions, reducing chase rates and swing misses, and increasing hard hit averages. For example, something as simple as changing the bend of the lower half of a hitter’s body by a few degrees can reduce time to contact meaningfully because the player moves more efficiently, which has huge positive consequences.
Is K-BASEBALL designed for all ages and abilities?
Yes, that’s the great thing about our products. You can use them with everyone from beginners to pros. Adults and children. We even have junior garments, so we have coaches working with players as young as four-years old. With the kids, we encourage the coaches to mostly focus on biofeedback training to help them move better. The biofeedback feels like a video game to them so they have a lot of fun, get really into it.
Can you give us a feel for the coach’s experience working with professional players?
Say you have a major or minor league player. What a coach is likely to do is capture a bunch of swings during live batting practice. Next, the coach uses our reports and graphs to see how the player is creating power, transferring that power sequentially from the ground to the bat, and identifying if it is done efficiently. Often times we find that great players have weaknesses that their amazing athletic ability enables them to compensate for, which we call that low hanging fruit. Other times it might be mechanical. Whether it is a technique issue or a physical limitation, the coach then use drills to adjust movement patterns or build a better swing or body for the player. Some use their time proven drills. Others translate those drills into our biofeedback. Then, after working with the player, the coach measure again. This is huge because they can see what actually changed through their intervention. This process eliminates a lot of the guesswork, confirms a lot and helps with any course changes, as working with humans involves a lot of trial and error.
Does the product help them decide what the player ought to change?
We give them benchmarks and frameworks, but they are the experts. Our products are all about empowering the coaches, they’re the ones who know the players and have the methods. The 3D measurement provides information for the coach. The real-time visual and auditory feedback allows the player to instantly apply the coach’s instruction. Essentially, we’re the paint and the brush, and the coach is the artist.
Can you tell me more about the guides in the software for the coach?
To place the players a coach is working with in a context, we provide the data around what you could call a minor league stock swing. This is a composite average created from the large number of swings we have captured working with minor league players. The numbers provide a norm for the coaches to work around. It doesn’t say what to do, but it shows what other players do on average. For people working with minor league players, high school or college players, it’s a good benchmark for what the player needs to advance to the next level. On top of that, we provide technical training and coaching support. And, our first certification course for coaching with K-Baseball is coming soon.
What else should people know?
Based on what we are hearing from top coaches and reading in the press, we’re helping a lot of people and baseball may never be the same… And the most exciting part is we’re just getting started…
Thank you, Brian.
For more information, email [email protected] or call 603.472.3519
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