It’s amazing these days what College Baseball Programs, like Arkansas, have at their fingertips when it comes to technology and equipment that can get their players to the top of their game.
The Diamond Hogs have the Fowler Family Baseball and Track Training Center and will soon open the Walker Baseball Development Center. They’ve now added a virtual reality program as the newest tool for their offense.
Win Reality‘s virtual baseball technology is putting the Arkansas hitters right in the batters box.
“Back in the old days it was video and film work, and nowadays it’s hitters putting on a set of goggles and watching other pitchers throw in a game. It’s not like being in the box live, but it gives you an idea of what’s coming if you haven’t seen him,” says Head Coach Dave Van Horn.
“They are taking videos of games from around the country and using the pitcher, and then taking the TrackMan data generated at the SEC schools and are using that data to create pitches. Our guys are able to train essentially against a pitcher they are going to see,” adds Hitting Coach Nate Thompson.
In 2018, The Arkansas coaching staff was introduced to this new technology and immediately was impressed. They purchased one pack for the 2020 season, but Covid shut it down. Nate Thompson says this year is their first real year with it, and they were able to get a pack for each one of their hitters.
Is it working? Thompson says the proof is in the pudding.
“Our plate discipline has improved, and our ability to make good decisions on what pitches to swing at is really improved. We are making pitchers throw more strikes, and we are leading the country in walks as a part of it, we are proud of that.”
The reasons for having the technology goes beyond the “cool factor.” Thompson says technology has improved pitching leaps and bounds, and this is an opportunity for offenses to close the gap.
You also have to keep up with other top programs, like Vanderbilt, Texas & Mississippi State who are using it as well.
“It’s made a difference for our guys, and like I said we can go to recruits and say ‘Hey, you can be as good as you want to be here.'”