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Q&A with MiLB Coach Jose Puentes: Blast Increases Accountability

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Blast Motion: Jose Puentes, former assistant baseball coach and hitting coach at MacArthur High School, is now a hitting coach within the Houston Astros organization, specifically in the Dominican Republic. We recently caught up with him to learn more about how he uses Blast:

Jose Puentes: “I started using Blast four years ago. When it first came out, I started looking into it. I was out of coaching, but I was thinking about going back into it. Blast piqued my interest a lot and got me back into really being passionate about developing players. When you’re doing it for so long and doing workouts, it kind of becomes monotonous when you actually see the player develop. Plus, you don’t really have a way of tracking your work, other than videos or things like that.

With Blast, it kind of helped me be more accountable to what I did with players. I was able to see them, show them and say, “Look, this is where you were a few months ago. This is where you are now, and this is what we need to improve.”

This sparked my interest in getting into more depth. I wanted to make sure I knew what this is about because I worked for somebody that was super old school and for him to accept this was huge, and it gave me a boost of confidence.

In my current position with the Astros, I use Blast in a number of ways, such as the following:

  • Track players progress, challenge players to improved metrics, help players understand why metrics aren’t ideal

  • Tweak any kind of thing that I’m not able to see because I’m either throwing or in the machine

  • Work on a specific metric on a particular day
  • Create competition between players
  • Focus on Bat Speed, Rotational Acceleration which creates a great environment of competition
  • Use it as a universal language to communicate with coaches and players

Above all, I use it to keep and hold myself accountable. Am I actually helping these players or not? You’re putting yourself out there for people to see if you’re doing a good job or not. It adds motivation for me. For me, I’m all in with them. As a Coach, you have to remember this is all for the players and their growth as professionals.

I think once you understand the metrics as a player, as far as I’m going to tell you, my kid can go out there and he doesn’t necessarily need a coach. He can look at his Blast and figure out whether his barrel is dipping too much or whether he feels like he’s too long in his swing. I think that’s probably one of the most important things it’s done for players.

In the future, I hope that more high school players can use it in games because there’s nothing like having data from games. A player can look incredible in the cage, but once he gets in that box with the lights on… it’s just different. A lot of them aren’t able to replicate what they’re doing in the cage in the game. And it would be cool to see that and have that in-game data. I know they’ve used it in the minors and it’s one of the most valuable tools in the game today.”