Rapsodo Debuts Certified Coaching Program, Insight High-Speed Camera
Even as Rapsodo investigates ways to help coaches and players during the current COVID-19 shutdown of baseball, the brand has two recent launches that can be used either in isolation or team situations. This month, Rapsodo Certified debuted a video-based course for coaches to better understand the data that Rapsodo gives them. And that data recently got an upgrade too, with the Insight high-speed camera helping coaches and players better grasp intricacies of mechanics.
Art Chou, Rapsodo’s North America general manager, says the influx of data in sports has been a revolution, but if that data goes unexplained then not only is data for data sake unnecessary, but it also creates clutter. That’s why Rapsodo created its Certified program, partnering with leading coaches and experts in the game to offer a course so that coaches of all levels — from Major League Baseball right down to high schools and academies — ensure they have a foundational understanding of how to use pitching and hitting data to improve performance.
“The early parts of Rapsodo were focused on the devices and measuring data, trajectories and spin axis of the ball,” Chou says. “That was a lot of the early days. We have then focused on how to present that data and the reports you get out of our cloud have been changing and evolving. The Certified process is the natural education process in what you do with the data.”
Rapsodo has already launched the Certified hitting module and expects to have the pitching module available in late March, both offering an introductory level of what the data means, how to use it, examples of use cases and what important information coaches can learn from the data. Chou says coaches can absorb exactly what a curveball’s spin axis data means and then use learning from the program to provide ways to improve that pitcher’s performance to create more vertical break, for example.
And as the data and technology improves, Certified will grow with it, a “living program” with experts constantly developing and evolving new insights and approaches. That strategy works in partnership with the new Insight camera Rapsodo recently launched, a camera that allows a coach to see complexities involved in the mechanics. For a pitcher, for example, the camera can show exactly where fingers are placed, how the wrist moves and what the final point of contact with the ball was before it was released. Between the video and the data, Rapsodo can show the cause and effect, allowing coaches to help tailor instruction.
Chou says the interest in Rapsodo’s advancements has reached every level of competitive baseball. The company is already working with every MLB team and he is getting feedback from MLB teams who want multiple coaches to go through the Certified program to ensure they have a baseline understanding. That trickles down to college, high school and academies, especially ones that use Rapsodo as their only analytical tool because of lack of staffing.
With baseball seasons across the country put on hold — or canceled altogether in many cases — Chou says now more than ever he is seeing an interest not only in coaches taking the Certified course and gaining that knowledge and certification, but also in players and coaches using technology to continue training without gathering.
Chou says Rapsodo is also working on finding a way to help players share their performance and get it seen in this time of no competitions. “We have a huge database of performance, of pitched balls and batted balls, and we want to make that available so that players can get their performance seen,” he says. “We want to figure out a way to help our player-partners out there get through this. If we can help promote their data, we want to do that.”
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.