Baseball academy owners tend to be traditional.
They like to stick to selling the same training methods that have always worked for them over the years.
Brian Ching of Ninja Sports Performance in Mount Washington, Kentucky, however, is one owner who has embraced new training methods made possible with new technology for baseball academies.
The results, both for his athletes and for his facility’s bottom line, have been impressive.
The Need for Higher Quality At-Bats
Any baseball coach knows that their athletes need many more at-bats than the two or three they get during a regular game in order to truly improve. That’s why batting cages are so valuable when team gameplay isn’t possible.
However, Brian is quick to emphasize that hits in the cage don’t matter at all if they don’t translate to hits in the game – and they’re aren’t likely to do that if the cage doesn’t mimic actual game play.
When you hit in a cage, you can’t practice your timing by watching the rhythm of pitcher, and you can’t see where the hits would have gone on the actual playing field. Along with not having a feel for how you’d be doing in an actual game, players practicing alone in cages can actually end up getting worse in the long run: Repeating bad habits in swing technique just makes them harder to correct later.
That’s why Brian has invested in technology that creates a much more game-like atmosphere in Ninja Sports Performance’s indoor cages and always gives feedback, even if the player is alone.
Using Better Tools
Ninja Sports Performance has a ProBatter pitching machine that uses a video screen to provide the realistic feel and variety of a real pitcher, and they’ve also invested in a HitTrax hitting simulator that displays stats such as ball velocity, hitting distance and hitting tendencies. It also shows the entire hit path of the ball on a screen as it would have traveled on an actual field. Brian has even taken it a step further: Most facilities just invest in one of these high-tech machines per cage, but Brian has them available together for an even better sense of total gameplay.
These state-of-the-art systems aren’t cheap. The upfront investment, along with the tendency to stick to tried-and-true coaching methods, keeps a lot of baseball academy owners away from these purchases.
But it shouldn’t.
3 Reasons to Invest in Baseball Academy Technology:
1. High-tech equipment sets you apart from your competitors, which generates new clients.
The young athletes that make up a majority of most baseball facility customers see these tools as “a big video game,” Ching says. Kids are going to choose the facility that’s more fun. Coaches looking for an edge for their players are also attracted to access to state-of-the-art tools, and independent instructors who may use your facility for lessons are, too. It gives you an overall edge over the competition.
2. High-tech baseball equipment helps sell lessons, camps and other training.
When players receive individual coaching or participate in sports-specific camps, their skills improve. These new tools make those improvements easier to illustrate, because statistics can be tracked over time. You can use that data to show players and coaches that they made a good investment when they chose your facility for training. The equipment also offers real-time feedback to illustrate coaches’ points or areas of focus. You can even use this equipment to help promote your camps and classes – kids will get more excited about an upcoming camp if they get to use these machines, and once they’re comfortable with them, they’ll come back to rent the cages on their own.
3. Great equipment pays for itself if you market it the right way.
Other than attracting new clients and bolstering camp/class/lesson enrollment, you can also generate revenue through these tools simply because your customers will pay more to use them. Brian has created an add-on option to his standard facility membership for use of the ProBatter and HitTrax systems. This gives the equipment a VIP feel for the area.
Brian uses eSoft Planner, the scheduling software my company developed for sports facilities, to manage all of his memberships, rentals, classes and more. Submit a free demo request or call me at (513) 791-4940 if you’d like to discuss how it works.
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