During the latter part of 2020 (before the second wave of COVID-19), Driveline Baseball held its first-ever 6-week hitting program for girls aged 12 to 18. Run by current Hitting Intern Luisa Gauci, assisted by current Driveline Youth Trainer Dylan Hawley, supported by Baseball For All, and with a guest appearance by Rachel Balkovec, it was a huge success.
The program followed the Driveline Academy ‘guidelines’ for long term success:
- Keep Baseball Fun
- Build Great Baseball Players
- Develop Skills That Scale
As such, the group of eight participants were able to improve their hitting—WHILE having fun with other girls. For a few, it was their first time holding a bat since COVID-19 shutdowns in March. Nonetheless, they were all put through their paces, following Driveline’s 6-week youth bat speed programming. (Check out our FREE hitting program here.)
The agenda included: Warming up with explosive medicine ball throws.
Utilising underload and overload bats.
And lots and lots of pushups.
Hitting education sessions were notably mandatory for all participants. This was to ensure that all the girls had a foundation for understanding what we were measuring, why we collect data, and how we are able to utilize it within a practice session.
The program was based out of our Driveline facility in Kent, Washington, so the girls got to experience every aspect of technology in the hitting department, as well as what it is like to be ‘assessed like a big leaguer’ when they saw what their swing looked like on K-Vest and Edgertronic.
With all the technology readily available at Driveline, it was simple to measure what mattered developmentally for our youth girls over the 6-week period. One of the KPIs we tracked was the Top 8th Exit Velocity (EV) of the group. Top 8th EV refers to the average of each individual’s top 8 hardest hit balls. We decided to track this because it gives us a good indication of how hard the hitter hits the ball when they make solid contact.
Here are the results.
Needless to say, doing the Driveline increased each hitter’s average Top 8th hardest-hit balls.
How? Because we trained skills that scaled. (Check out our FREE hitting program.) The bonus of pursuing skills that scale is that when we track players’ development quantitatively, each player receives consistent feedback that they’re getting better at what actually matters in the game. It motivates them to keep doing what they’re doing—because they know it’s working. Building these skills that scale means that we put time into what matters the most for developing players over the long term for athletic success.
An additional benefit that will come out of this Girls program is that we can finally begin to see and create baseline data for girls and women in baseball, something that has never been publicly available before. From our small sample size of eight, we can begin to see a snapshot of what Blast and HitTrax metrics for youth girls in baseball could—or should—look like in the future.
Above is a snapshot of what we found with our in-gym youth girls, noting that the average age was 13 years old.
At this time, there are no other girls’ youth data in baseball publicly available for comparison. So, to get an idea of what we are dealing with, we can take a look at our in-gym boys.
For the sake of the bat speed programming that all the youth girls followed, let’s compare the average Bat Speed. We can see almost a seven mph average difference between the youth boys and youth girls.
Could it be a strength issue? Maybe. Could it be an age difference where the boys are physically bigger? Maybe. Could it be that we had a smaller sample size? Probably. At this stage, it is hard to draw any conclusions. BUT this is only the beginning.
So where do we go from here? We begin and CONTINUE measuring data in youth and women’s baseball. The data we collected is currently being used internally with the girls who have decided to train with us long term through our online program. What we collected are great baselines. The girls can now compete against themselves, track their improvements, and compare themselves against similarly skilled hitters.