Technology Transforms Training

Machines, gadgets, apps improve performance.


Media by Jacob Robinson

Rick Strickland and Justin Rosen teach a lesson on how to use the Proteus machine. This technology informs athletes on what muscles to improve on.

Sam Shackleford, senior, walks into the training facility and prepares to hit using all sorts of different machines to track speed, bat path, ball spin and many other things. 

Shackleford said this technology has changed the way he trains. 

There is a machine that tracks the distances and direction an athlete hits and records that information on a screen.

“Because when you’re in the cages, you obviously can’t see how far the ball goes,” Shackleford said. 

Although many of these are helpful, Shackleford said there’s also some unnecessary technology.

“I’m not a really big fan of Blast Motion, but it really just helps find your swing pattern,” Shackleford said. 

Everybody is gauged by numbers right now,

— Justin Rosen

Justin Rosen, director of the St. Louis Pirates baseball organization, said he has seen the change in technology over the years as he has been training players since 2005 and has played baseball since he was a kid. 

Proteus is different from other technologies, as instead of it showing the numbers and facts to the athlete, it shows them specific muscles to improve on, Rosen said. 

“It uses 3-D resistance, so you’re gonna have resistance forwards, backwards, up, down, left and right,” Rosen said. “Then it will actually print out a report or email you a report telling you you’re weak on your left side or right side.”

Rosen said there’s only about 150 of these in the nation, and they are very hard to come by. It’s a technology they have only had in their Pirates facility for about two months, but have seen success so far with it pinpointing what needs to be worked on, he said. 

This technology, he said, is something that will help elevate the way sports are trained for and light the path for much newer technology to come. 

I would say technology is wonderful, but it’s not the teacher,

— Rick Strickland

But Rapsodo or Blast help show a player the results they are getting analytically from their training, Rosen said.

“Everybody is gauged by numbers right now,” Rosen said. “Everybody’s analytically driven.”

These technologies help show results, but Rosen said it’s easy to manipulate those numbers but still hit with the wrong form. That’s why the Proteus is necessary because it corrects the form, and unlike Rapsodo and Blast Motion, the Proteus can be used for any sport training. 

Rick Strickland, St.Louis Pirates coach, said he’s been at the front of the technology for the past years. 

When his major league club asked him what to get, he said the Proteus and S2 Cognition. S2 Cognition does what? These two technologies will help tell players what they need to know and work on, but they also have to know what they’re looking for within them. 

“I would say technology is wonderful, but it’s not the teacher,” Strickland said. “Technology is like an accountant.”