Biomechanics of Softball/Baseball Using a GoPro
Incorporating GoPros into the Hamilton Central School District is an innovative way to encourage students to be active, all while educating them in a non traditional way. Softball and baseball teams in particular are always looking for new ways to improve their skills and look for ways that technology can help transform their skills. Filming swings, timing pitches and determining angles of attack with the bat are all things we focus on, and the use of GoPro technology could improve efficiency and accuracy throughout the course of a practice.
One of the things every softball and baseball player seeks to improve on is his or her swing, and the only way to accurately evaluate what needs to be fixed is by seeing what you’re doing wrong first hand. Being told what to work on can only be said so many times before the player becomes totally frustrated. By mounting a GoPro camera on either the batter’s helmet, the pitching machine or the catcher’s helmet, players could have a visual reference from which to draw from while still in the batter’s box. This could be especially helpful for a slapper in softball. As a slapper myself, I know first hand that angles and footwork are the key to successful slapping. Staying closed over the plate and working to place the ball in different spots on the infield can all be improved by watching your movements on the GoPro. The idea of watching on an ipad that has filmed you from the side is no way to judge what needs to be fixed. If you have a visual from pitcher’s or catcher’s standpoint, there is a chance to see the entire field, as well as your footwork and swing. This could be a tremendous advantage for a hitter. From a pitcher’s standpoint, the GoPro would be a great tool to see if you are hitting your spots, and if your pitches are going where you intend them to go. By mounting the camera on the catcher’s helmet, the pitcher would have the chance to watch his or her motion at a very high quality with the opportunity to slow the video down for a more in depth evaluation.
The GoPro wouldn’t be solely for athletic purposes, however. There are ways to incorporate education into the world of athletics by calculating angles of the pitches coming in, and determining the velocity of the pitches. Physics and Calculus classes could use the videos taken during practices and use them to set up problems and solve equations that are used in everyday situations. Students may be more intrigued by watching live action instead of reading from a textbook.
When schools search for new cameras the main focus is camcorders and handheld devices because they are cheap and easy to use in a school setting, but the GoPro’s versatile mounts, and high quality presentation can be without a doubt useful in a school setting. The clear picture and durability is very important, especially when there is a good chance the GoPro will be used in a setting that involves activity and instruction.