At Narrow Path Sports we set out to improve the whole athlete. This trajectory, founded in the four driving forces of Narrow Path, means we have to know where our athlete’s abilities are based in order to frame a mindset for them to improve. Everyone wants to have more velocity, and in this post, we are going to dive into how we help make that work.

There are lots of ‘tools of the trade‘ in any athlete’s training, and one that most professional athletes rely on for feedback is Pitching Tracking Software. There are a few brands to pick from, but ultimately we chose Rapsodo for its reputation and accurate readings. Rapsodo Pitching 2.0 is software Narrow Path Sports uses to track and analyze an athlete’s spin rate, velocity, movement, command, and break down the mechanics of their pitch.

How to Use Rapsodo in your Pitching Routine

Professional grade training software is not cheap or easy to interpret by an inexperienced coach or athlete. It’s helpful to have a mentor with experience in reading and interpreting the output to help place an athlete on a path towards improvement.  The initial Rapsodo readout will give your athlete a RapScore and this is where the coaching begins. This also gives us a baseline so we can measure improvement. This is a must for our more advanced athletes.

How to Use Your RapScore to Improve Your Average Speed and Timing

The average pitching speed for a high-school athlete is 80mph. A college/minor league prospect is going to be in the high 80’s and even in the high 90’s. The major league average velocity has also trended up in recent years. This is not something that happens overnight.  It happens through dedication, grit, and years of minor improvements to weekly practices. Muscle memory can help, but can also hinder when trying to improve timing. Just as separating your hips and shoulders can help increase torque to throw a ball harder, if your timing isn’t adjusted after improving torque you could cause an injury. This is just one example of where muscle memory can hinder performance. That is why we focus very hard on quality mechanics while training to incorporate the strength built in our program.

Rapsodo gives every athlete in the world a RapScore that places them in a ranking with their peers. The Rapsodo 2.0 Pitching Score is a combination of the pitcher’s ball velocity and spin rate. In addition to speed and spin, an efficient and directional readout and provided through immediate video feedback. The release height, angle, and side are recorded, as well as the pitch break angle. These numbers are a great way to compare athletes but playing the game the right way and having a good baseball IQ is what can separate you from your peers.

Is Rapsodo Accurate and Worth the Cost?

All 30 Major League Baseball teams would agree Rapsodo has helped improve the pitching and hitting game for their players. Improved performance is improved revenue for most teams, making it valuable statistical feedback when tracking training progress. What Rapsodo can’t do is break down an Athlete’s score and fill in the gaps for what is missing in their training routine. Only years of professional experience and a well-trained eye can be there to help guide someone down a path that will lead them to improved results. Rapsodo is a great tool but there is so much more to the game than the numbers on the screen.  In short, a pitching score that costs $3000 won’t develop the whole athlete, but having a guiding hand and someone to celebrate your improvements, talk about hard decisions, and keep you on the narrow path will. 

Thanks for reading as always, #followthenarrowpath

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About the Author

JJ Hoover
JJ Hoover was an American professional baseball pitcher from 2008 to 2021. He has played in Major League Baseball for the Cincinnati Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Milwaukee Brewers. Hoover throws four pitches: a four-seam fastball (91–94 mph), a curveball (76–79mph), a slider (81-85mph), and a changeup (85–88mph). JJ has taught pitching and baseball globally, and more recently in Cincinnati, Ohio for Narrow Path. Hoover now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife of seven years, Megan-Kate Hoover of Reel Rescues. JJ is a devout Christian.