LipscombSports.com
Bisons using video technology to improve hitting

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When showing the Lipscomb Bisons what they are doing wrong or right at the plate the coaching staff goes to the videotape.

Bisons who fail to get a hit in a game can expect to have a video session with coach Jeff Forehand and assistant coach Chris Collins an hour or two after the game. Even the players who do have success at the plate get an opportunity to study the videos to see what they were doing right.

“By the time we get back on the bus or back inside the dressing room the guy that goes 0-for-4 is going to be ready to look at film,” Collins said. “It is immediate feedback.”

The majority of the time unless somebody has had a bad day the coaches won’t seek players out to watch the videos.

“Sometimes it is good to just let it go,” Collins said. “Sometimes it is good to prove one point. Sometime it is good to show a guy a great at bat where he can build some confidence.”

Players can see what pitches they missed, what pitches they fouled and which ones produced hits. The type of pitch, the location of the pitch and the way the opposing pitcher chose to attack each hitter are all available on both video and a computer program.

“It does identify some swing mechanic issues, but more than anything this is about hitting mechanics,” Collins said. “This is about how a player is being pitched to and how can he be better informed when he goes to the plate.

“We want our guys to talk about what kind of pitch they were looking for, why did they get fooled on a pitch, why did they swing through a pitch or why did they foul it off when they should have been able to put it in play.”

Several players are referencing the videos when they talk about their batting in a particular game. Collins is encouraged to hear that because getting the players to talk about baseball is a by-product of the videos.

“Several years ago we felt like there weren’t a lot of baseball conversations going on among the players,” Collins said. “One of the reasons I moved back into the dugout was we wanted to have interaction immediately with hitters.

“With Jeff and I both on the field that was difficult to do. I can have conversations with the hitters in that teachable moment.”

Collins knows that many fans and followers of the Bisons might wonder what purposes the videos are serving based on the offensive numbers for the team in first 16 games of the season. But he is confident that overall it will pay dividends.

“I believe we had better approaches and better at bats in the first 16 games this year than we have had at the beginning of any year before,” Collins said. “Granted we haven’t scored as many runs as we would, out batting average is down and our on base percentage is down. But that is the case in all of college baseball because of the changes in the bats this season.

“I think the people who stick to their approach and their plan are going to be rewarded in the end. We have guys who are learning that process. We have some young guys in the lineup who are still gaining experience. We have to stick with those guys and help them gain that experience through this program.”

The Bisons are back in action Wednesday night when Mississippi State from the Southeastern Conference visits Ken Dugan Field at Stephen Lee Marsh Stadium. Game time is 6 p.m.

Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.