Thursday, March 23, 2017

Amateur Athletic Union Partners with Blast Motion Technology

The Amateur Athletic Union who organizes sports leagues nationwide, partnered with Blast Motion who creates a sensor maker technology which will allow for bats to become smarter. Amateur Athletic Union players will have access to sensors that are paired with a smartphone app which will collect data such as swing speed and analyze the angle at which the bat strikes the ball. This will be able to tell the batter whether they are swinging too high or too low. The goal of this technology is to help younger players improve their technique and provide more statistics. This partnership is a great example of how technology is being used in sports to collect and analyze performance data, similar to the MLB’s extensive collection and sifting of real-time data. The Blast Motion sensor is attached to the end of any standard bat and only weighs about a third of an ounce. The technology captures video footage which the players can review as needed, as well as provides immediate feedback on the field. The data can also be sent to Blast Motion’s off-site “service cloud” which then allows for coaches to review it, make recommendations and send the data back out. Blast Motion’s competitor Zepp a swing analytics product signed a multi- year contract with Major League baseball.  For both leagues MLB and AAU, the technology is limited to practices and warm up before games, it is not allowed to be used during a game. In an effort to push the technology the MBL began providing team managers with an iPad that comes with custom software. The Blast Baseball 360 sensor and the paired app is priced at $149.95, however currently AAU athletes receive a 25% discount. The company also offers other products for different sports such as basketball and golf.  
            A lot of the Amateur Athletic Union teams have talented players who are training for college and professional teams. The use of Blast Motion’s technology during their training years will help them prepare for their future careers in baseball. The technology will provide the players with feedback on the direct area they should be working on to improve their batting skills. Also, given that the MBL is already using a similar type of technology it will be beneficial to the players to have experience using Blast Motion. Blast Motion and Zepp are great examples of how technology is being used in the sports market. This could only be the beginning of technology development entering and improving in the sports industry. The AAU has 700,000 athletes in 55 U.S districts in 35 sports, therefore, is a huge market for technology that could be used in many different sports. As of now Blast Motion only has products for 3 sports. 


Jason Baskind said...

I find this post very interesting to me, as I am both an athlete and a fan of baseball. I have personally used some sports technology that has not really helped me out in any way, but I can totally see how this blast motion technology can benefit all baseball players at every level. It will be able to tell the batter if they are swinging to high or too low and then the batter can take note of their tendencies and make the proper adjustments to their swing. This is important because if for batters, if they notice that they have been swinging a bit too high on a lot of pitches, they can make a mental note of that and try to fix their swing and lower it down a bit. Batting coaches can only see so much with the naked eye, and the addition of this blast motion technology can help give the batting coaches additional analysis’ of the batter’s swing speed and swing angle. Then the batting coach can make note of that and work on adjusting the player’s swing in practice. Also it is important that you noted that the blast motion technology equipment is not too expensive. Right now it being sold for $149.95 is a pretty good bargain. Each member of the team could throw in somewhere around ten to twelve dollars and then the team can share the equipment. There is no doubt that this technology can help make baseball players better at batting. It gives the analysis and statistics that a player wants to know about their swing, and then they can go work on making the proper adjustments. Overall, I see this being a terrific technology for the sport of baseball.

Brian Silard said...

As a person that used to play baseball, I really wish this piece of technology was around when I used to play. The sensor-making technology presents a huge opportunity for players, coaches, scouts, and even pitchers. This reminds me of Moneyball, the movie where manager of the Oakland A’s Billy Bean lead his Oakland A’s to an incredible season run back in 2003. During this time, The Oakland A’s used statistics such as on base percentage to identify the best players that the A’s could get considering their cap space. The reason why I connect the two of these is because this piece of technology would help scouts figure out which batters have a better swing than others. In fact, scouts could correct the way that younger players are swinging, which means that teams will score more runs, and baseball will become more exciting. The software that allows coaches to view the product is what we consider to be the AI part of this product. The product itself is more of a physical piece of technology that goes along with the software.
The use of this piece of technology is extremely user-friendly, and data can be easily downloaded into the Blast Motion “Service cloud”, so I couldn’t see why people wouldn’t use this piece of technology. I believe that the only limitation to this is the fact that you can’t use this technology during games. If this was the case, batters would be able to identify how to correct their swing against specific pitchers, which could change the way the game is played.