The Garmin Impact Bat Swing Sensor is popular in America and with the rise of interest in baseball in Australia the baseball swing sensor is set to fill a potentially growing niche. Data/Analytics has gone hand and hand with Sport for a long time see Moneyball and the introduction of Sabermetrics. This device makes it easier to get started analysing your performance without the need for professional athlete level equipment and funding. You can purchase the Garmin Impact Bat Swing Sensor now for $199 RRP.
The sensor will measure 5 main aspects of your batting ability
- Bat speed (How fast you swing the bat)
- Hand Speed (the speed at which you get your hands into the hitting position)
- Time to impact (If you’re particularly fast you could wait on pitches to see the ball longer by developing a short, compact swing)
- Elevation angle (learn the best angle to control bat through the critical hitting zone for highest exit velocity)
- Attack angle (ensure your swing is on the best angle to drive the ball consistently)
I’ll head you off right at the pass here, assuming you’re an Australian reading your first thought was likely could I use this with a cricket bat? While you could quite quickly get the sensor firmly attached to a cricket bat the issue would be the metrics displayed not being relevant in a cricket context. Potentially a trained professional could use some of these metrics to make helpful inferences, but I’m not knowledgeable enough about cricket to make a comment on that.
Design and Functionality
The sensor design itself is straightforward, it has a rubber sleeve that can be stretched over the handle of the baseball to keep the unit attached. With two buttons on the side that are used to navigate through different menus.
The device itself only weighs 34 grams, and the total dimensions of the unit are 40 x 40 x 49 mm (inside rubber sleeve). Garmin has very specifically designed it to be as light and unobtrusive as possible to negate any impact on your swing. The sensor is designed well, it doesn’t over complicate things and tries to give you tailored advice to improve your swing.
Bat Swing – This metric explains how fast the bat travels through the hitting zone. In this case, a faster bat swing generally means the batted ball exit speed is faster. I say generally as this is not always the case, if you have bad form or a lousy elevation angle this will affect your swing.
Time to Impact- this will measure how long from the start of your swing to the point of impact. This one is simple, a shorter time to impact is better. If you practice this for a better time to impact you can potentially keep your eyes on the ball for longer to make sure you get the most accurate shot possible.
Elevation angle – This shows you the elevation angle you had during the critical hitting zone. Your elevation can have a significant effect on how the ball reacts to your swing.
Attack Angle – This metric displays the best angle needed to drive the ball as far as possible. A positive number means your bat is rising up through the swing and a negative means your bat is coming down.
You also have the accompanying app which curates all your data into one space. You can organise all the swing data for multiple player profiles for an entire team based. The app will display all your historical data that the device has recorded: Swing count, Avg. Bat Speed, Top Bat Speed, Top Hand Speed, Bat Speed, Hand Speed, Time to Impact, Attack Angle, Elevation angle.
With this, it will show you when you are in a good performance range and which aspects you can improve alongside coaching tips on how to reach that enhanced performance. As you can see on the bottom menu here, you can view your swing performance as a 3D model, or you could record your swing and then review it later.
Summary – Is it good?
Overall the impact sensor works really well for what it’s designed to do, but it does come with an expensive price tag. This could be negated somewhat if you were using one sensor across an entire team. The device will help amateur players improve their game just by following the sensors instructions and adjusting their swing. I like the app and the features it displays, it’s very intuitive and doesn’t overcomplicate things with a lot of buried options. The 3D representation is also a pretty neat way to view your swing.
Best use I could see for this device would be for serious young players looking to improve their game and or coaches looking to help develop a whole team.
Garmin Impact Bat Swing Sensor - Available here along with full spec list