Jason Thompson: Implementation of Blast & Benefits
“When we signed on with Blast, we did a lot of research on the front end. It was actually something that we talked about for more than a year before we actually signed on and went into it. The folks at Blast were really patient with us. They answered a lot of questions. Every time we called, every time I sent an email, there was somebody there right away to answer any questions. Whether it was on the data side, whether it was on the implementation side, that didn’t matter. They gave us all the info we needed.
To start, we bought a sensor. I remember the day that we tried it out with one kid, on one day at practice. We were sitting there with an iPad; we connected and looked at it. We didn’t really even know what we were looking at — that was our starting point. Through hundreds, I mean, literally hundreds of conversations via phone, text and email, we’ve gotten to the place where we are now.
This is the second year we’ve used Blast. We try to spend about two weeks getting as much data as we can get. We’ll set up BP stations with different environments, whether that’s off the tee, soft-toss, front toss, angle-front toss, machines…whatever we have to set-up so we can get as many reps and swings as we can get. By doing this, we can compile a fair amount of data.
Once we get through a couple weeks of gathering data, we’ll really start to go in and break down where we see some opportunities for growth. This allows us to go in and group those guys based off of what we’re trying to accomplish and it helps us organize as a coaching staff. I know that when group 1 comes to me, we’re really focusing on Bat Speed with that group… group 2 comes to me, maybe that’s Attack Angle.
Blast has only gotten better for us throughout the past two years. When Blast came out with the update where Plane, Connection, and Rotation were all grouped together and the metrics were there, this was a lifesaver in terms of time because it gave us the green, red, and yellow based on how guys were scoring. Now we can go in and see something such as, this guy struggles to stay On Plane. Blast even walks us through this.
This time last year we were going through all the individual metrics, basically 34 guys at the time, trying to individualize workouts for all of them. This was taking an immense amount of time. Now what Blast lets us do, whether it’s on an iPad, phone or through Blast Connect, is give our players the opportunity to own their own learning and own their own success.
Advice to Potential Blast Users
My first piece of advice is definitely do your homework. I would call Blast and have conversations, call some coaches you know or some facilities you know that are using Blast. Everyone uses it a little bit differently.
My second piece of advice would be that when you get hooked up and get going, you get all these metrics thrown at you. This can feel overwhelming. Don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by all of the data and all of the metrics that are supplied because you can pick out of that anything that you want.
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