A fastball pitch in the major leagues can travel across the plate at upwards of 90 MPH. This means it takes roughly a mere 450 milliseconds to travel from the pitcher’s hand across the plate. Just the act of swinging a bat alone takes roughly 150 milliseconds. Simply connecting a bat to a ball in flight in the major leagues is considered to be one of the most difficult feats in all of sports, let alone making solid enough contact to send it soaring off in the opposite direction.
As if the time factor involved were not astounding enough, the physical mechanics of hitting a 2.86-inch ball with a stick that is no bigger than 2.61 inches around is a mind-boggling feat in and of itself. To then further hit it precisely enough to send it where you want it to go is simply beyond comprehension when you really understand what all is involved. But this is what technology is helping to make happen.
Technology is helping to perfect MLB swings in a variety of ways. Smart clothing can help analyze and assess the biomechanics of how a batter swings. By making minute changes in the way they swing, a batter can swing more efficiently to potentially reduce their swing time from 150 milliseconds to 125 milliseconds. The less time they take to swing, the more time they have to align the bat with the ball.
Neuroscience is also getting in on the action, with neurophysiologists studying how batter’s brains work when reacting to a pitch. Considering how many different types of pitches there are, a seasoned batter has mere fractions of a second to figure out how to hit a certain ball or even whether to swing at it or not. By essentially slowing down the thought process to understand how it works, a batter can potentially increase the speed at which they make a decision.
Technology is also helping players analyze their performance after the fact as well. This can help them better perfect future performance. Players of all sports have long watched game footage again and again to analyze their choices, but technology is providing greater detail than ever before. Artificial Intelligence is even able to analyze minute details like ball velocity, angles and even wind speed to suggest a better course of action in the future.