When the University of Oklahoma women’s softball team won the NCAA’s Women’s College World Series in June, Perry Husband was celebrating, just as he did when OU won their 2016 and 2017 championships. A pioneer in baseball science, who has worked with throngs of Major League coaches, hitters and pitchers, as well as many college baseball and softball coaches and players, Husband’s technology and insight helped the 2021 Sooners have the most prolific offensive season in the sport’s history – using V1 Pro Studio software to help accomplish the feat.
Thanks in part to Husband’s groundbreaking guidance in the arenas including Effective Velocity (Ev), timing concepts and Pitch Tunneling, the Sooners set multiple single-season NCAA records, including team batting average, team slugging percentage, on-base percentage, home runs (161) and runs scored (638), among others. Their WCWS-clinching victory was the 45th multi-home run game of the season for the Sooners, who hit homers in 58 of their 60 games. Utilizing the right data along with video analysis, Oklahoma’s game planning is next level and could potentially change the game of softball (and baseball, if teams and players take heed) forever.
“The process OU hitting coach J.T. Gasso and OU hitters follow was designed to create 100/100 as often as possible. In other words, they are trying to be 100 percent on time with 100 percent of their swing efficiency. Get the right pitch to hit. Be 100 percent on time. Make your ‘A Swing.’ This seems easy enough, but it takes a great deal of planning and a new way of thinking to make happen,” Husband says.
Husband began using V1 Pro Studio for baseball in the early 2000s for private lessons, showcase camps and work with college coaches, when it was still just software for improving golf swings. “In the early days, it was the first tool that displayed overlays for two pitches to uncover Effective Velocity tunnels (flight paths that share a horizontal and vertical plane for 20 feet),” says Husband. “So, whenever you see on television overlays of two pitches hiding each other in the same tunnel, that’s not only my discovery and work, but it was also done for the first time on the V1 system decades ago. For camps, there is no video analysis tool even close than V1 Pro. You can capture video for 200 kids and have the video tagged to that player for analysis, or just send the video to the player’s personal video locker instantly.”
Pitch Design Tool
Husband – a former golf pro in the baseball off-season – introduced the Ev concept in 2005 to Barry Zito of the Oakland A’s who went on to be the best left-handed pitcher in baseball that season. Ev concepts were also embraced by the Houston Astros manager Phil Garner to help create more deception and better sequencing for their pitching staff, including Roy Oswalt, Roger Clemens, Brandon Backe and Andy Pettitte on the team’s run to a World Series appearance.
“It’s the very best baseball video analysis tool by far,” he says. “With pitching and looking at tunnels to see how deceptive a pitcher is, you set the release point at one of the eight presets, and then you set another at a third of the pitch flight when hitters see pitch direction. We tested 10-year-old kids all the way up to minor league players, as to what they saw and when they saw it. And about a third of the way to home plate, every hitter sees direction or if the pitch is up, down, in or out. So, when a pitcher can hide the identity of the pitch by putting curveball, slider, changeup and fastball all in the same tunnel – where they all look like a fastball for at least a third of the way – it makes it virtually impossible for hitters to have any idea what pitch is coming. You can preset V1 Pro for one-third of the way and then at two-thirds of the way because that is the point where the batters must start their swing to be on time for the fastball. Then you can move one of the other pre-set points to contact, and you can just skip from one point to the next to see where the hitter is, in comparison to where the ball is at in space to understand timing. The clock in the software lets you gage the ball flight timing as compared to the hitter’s swing timing.”
Ev Pitch Design Tool
“Being able to tag every video in several different ways to look them up is so helpful,” he says. “For instance, I worked with pitcher Trevor Bauer when he first came to the big leagues, and we walked all the way through his process from overlaying pitches in workout sessions – just finding out which ones were the most deceptive – to help formulate where his fingers should be on the ball to create the right kind of movement for his cutter and four-seam 12-to-6 curveball to maximize movement and deception. That was all done through the V1 system. I still have all that video. In looking back at the hitters he would face in the library, I can look at them by team or through the player’s name by the way I tag them. I have them all at my fingertips at any moment. So, if you face a hitter one day and then have to face them again a month later, you can instantly find every video in a heartbeat. I can customize it so that I can find literally every pitch at any given moment. I can also overlay one to the next with voiceover notes or instruction. It’s pretty powerful.”
To learn more about Perry Husband’s groundbreaking work, visit https://hittingisaguess.com and STAY TUNED for PART TWO of our exploration of Perry Husband’s groundbreaking work in the science of baseball, including his work with the MLB’s 2009 American League Co-Home Run Champion Carlos Pena.
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