January 20, 2017
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Sixteen innovative products at the recent American Baseball Coaches Association convention trade show in Anaheim were awarded Best of Show certificates by Collegiate Baseball.
There were 71 nominations submitted to Collegiate Baseball for the contest which showcases the top new baseball products of 2016.
The 73rd ABCA Convention in Anaheim featured 309 companies that exhibited their products.
Now in its 18th year, the Best of Show awards from Collegiate Baseball encompass a wide variety of concepts and applications that are new to baseball.
The following is a quick look at the 16 winners. To read the in-depth comments about the winners, the cost of each product, contact information and why they are so special, purchase the Jan. 27, 2017 edition of Collegiate Baseball or subscribe by CLICKING HERE.
Here are the winners, chosen by Collegiate Baseball’s Best of Show selection committee.
gameSense Pitch IQ
Pitch recognition is integral to hitting.
Yet traditionally, the only way to train it was to get quality at-bats.
And as we know, quality at-bats are in short supply.
Thanks to the innovation of gameSense Sports, you now can train and test pitch recognition.
Not only can you sit on the couch and become a better hitter, coaches can integrate this company’s pitch recognition drills and App into their cage, tee and stand in drills.
For years, football has integrated distraction into practices to simulate opposing stadiums with 60,000-plus people screaming everything you can imagine via thunderous sounds from huge speakers.
There are some systems that even utilize the horrible sound of babies crying throughout practices on these devices.
It was only a matter of time before a product was made for baseball.
Enter The Hitter’s CODE Distraction Helmet.
This helmet incorporates visual and audible distraction elements.
RFP Pro Practice Mound
A new innovation in portable mounds has been developed over the past 3 1/2 years called the RFP Pro Practice Mound by Athalonz.
It features two clay areas to simulate outdoor play, including the rubber area where the back foot digs in and the landing area where the lead foot lands.
With this portable mound, pitchers wear cleats which are precisely what they wear during games as they get a feel for their spikes landing into clay and pivoting with the back foot properly.
The InMotion Playbook is the only instructional instrument designed to be used as a visual teaching tool to illustrate backup positioning, relay and cutoff positioning, first and third situations, double cuts and all routine plays on computer monitors.
Through the use of animation, players are able to understand not only what they are supposed to do but why they are supposed to do it in hundreds of situations.
Rapsodo Baseball is a pitch analytics tool that combines optical and radar technology that provides pitching ball feedback such as velocity, RPMs/total spin, spin efficiency, spin axis, vertical and horizontal break, 3D ball flight, video analysis and historical player profiles.
The 3D ball flight can be shown from the catcher, side and overhead positions.
In addition, it tracks pitch type and strike zone positions.
iPitch Pitching Machine
Spinball Sports and Rawlings have introduced the iPitch, a fully automated three wheel pitching machine controlled by a smart phone or tablet.
Users can select from a library of pre-programmed pitchers, each with their own repertoire of pitches or create their own.
All pitches are aimed automatically so users can quickly change between pitches or even select a random sequence.
FlightScope Strike is the first multi-frequency 3D tracking radar for baseball that provides pitching, hitting and pop time analysis.
The product is unique because it is portable and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.
The interface will allow coaches to focus on pitching data such as velocity, spin rate, spin axis, spin tilt, V-break, H-break, induced break, V-movement, H-movement, zone command, release extension and pitch trajectory.
The hitting data that you can uncover includes exit speed, carry distance, launch angle, batted ball direction, hit spin, zone performance, location trends, spray chart and flight trajectory.
Pop time data includes pop time, handover time and flight trajectory.
Heads-Up Baseball 2.0
The greatest book ever written on the mental game of baseball has just been published called Heads Up Baseball 2.0 written by Ken Ravizza and Tom Hanson.
This is a 375-page upgraded version of Heads-Up Baseball. That classic was published 26 years ago and has sold 145,000 copies since 1995.
Heads Up Baseball 2.0 is the culmination of a life’s work by Ravizza and Hanson in the mental arena of sports performance.
How 2 Focus Books
Three remarkable books have hit the market which should be of interest to every baseball coach and player in the game.
- How 2 Focus: Like The Pros (214 pages)
- How 2 Focus: The Hitters Zone (199 pages)
- How 2 Focus: The Pitchers Zone (199 pages)
The books are written by Dr. Bill Harrison with Ryan Harrison, two of the foremost experts in baseball vision training in the world.
Dr. Harrison has been visually training elite baseball players on the Major League level for over 40 years and believes everything you do in baseball begins with what you see.
This trio of books presents specific steps to improve baseball performance and presents stories from those elite Major League athletes who were helped by his methods.
JUGS Short T
The new JUGS Short T has a quick adjustment range of 16 inches to 23 inches and allows hitters to work on pitches at the bottom of the strike zone.
Unlike similar designed tees, their patented internal interlocking bold design prevents slippage of the upper tee stem.
The rubber covered base with rounded edges will not scuff gym floors, and the always-feel-the-ball flexible top allows the batter to feel the ball on contact, not the tee.
New Mental Gym
The new Mental Gym, part of the Athlete Types System, provides interactive, online mental workouts and activities designed to increase an athlete’s mental toughness, confidence, focus and more.
The workouts are designed by prominent sports psychologist, Dr. Robert Troutwine, based on his 39-plus years of experience working with elite soldiers in U.S. Military Special Forces and pro athletes from MLB, NBA, NFL and the NHL.
The system will also identify targeted areas for improvement based on the athlete’s results on the Troutwine Athletic Profile (TAP) assessment.
FastChart Baseball V2
FastChart Baseball was designed to replace paper charting with an electronic version of charts that coaches currently use in every game.
Designed by pitching coach Chip Dill, the initial version of FastChart was released one year ago.
Every innovative suggestion from users was introduced into version 2 of this product which has now allowed this product to be a Best of Show winner by unanimous vote of the selection committee.
Hitters Power Swing
This training device teaches the entire swing from start to finish starting from proper stance, balance, front foot stride, foot plant, power linear drive to rotation and torso torque to swing extension.
Video analysis of before and after using the Hitters Power Swing shows individual hitter improvements for mechanics and power within a couple of weeks.
Strike Out Pro
The Strike Out Pro is a video system developed for pitchers.
From the mound, a pitcher uses a handheld tablet to select a righthand or lefthand batter which projects on a screen at home plate. Then he chooses any number of quadrants in a strike zone he wants to target.
The video screen at home plate then shows the selected batter walk up to the plate. As the batter gets ready to hit, an overlay of the strike zone is displayed highlighting the target zones that the pitcher selected from the tablet.
Swingrail is an inexpensive, innovative swing training aid that provides a simple method of teaching proper swing mechanics and correcting several common swing flaws that prevent many players from reaching their full potential:
- Eliminates casting.
- Teaches player to stay connected.
- Reinforces staying short to the ball.
- Trains the player’s hands to work inside the ball.
- Corrects dropping of hands.
Developed by R.J. Vukovich over the past four years, using his grip on bats and gloves in combination provides 270 percent more grip/friction in wet, moist and cold conditions compared to traditional leather gloves and grips being used together.
In essence, there is no slip. He showed videos and did tests by taking a bucket of water and pouring it over his grips and gloves and taking numerous swings and experiencing no slip or loss of bat speed.