BLAZE PLAYER DEVELOPMENT or BPD is a model for developing Blaze players to reach their maximum potential both on and off the dirt.
Off-the-dirt development is mostly about life-skills and character development. In the Blaze, we call it the Ring of Fire program. However, that discussion is for another time as this information is about On-the-dirt development.
So how do we work with players in the Blaze to develop their potential?
Its a combination of skill-building, assessments, and competition. We achieve this through high-level coaching, teaching, and the use of data and technology.
Let us start with skill-building. The Blaze has some of the best player development coaches in the business. These coaches are students of the game themselves, always seeking information on how to train softball athletes to their maximum potential. The Blaze has BPD coaches for every aspect of the game, whether pitching, catching, hitting, defense, baserunning, or throwing mechanics. BPD coaches travel to all areas where there are Blaze teams to share knowledge and teach both players and coaches some of the latest techniques of fastpitch softball. LOOK FOR A BPD CLINIC THIS FALL / WINTER in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas! Info will be at https://www.4flamesathletics.com
What is Data all about in Player Development?
Data has always been a part of athletic development mainly because it provides an opportunity to measure progress over time and provide instant feedback for athletes and coaches to understand better what is happening in a particular training environment.
What data is essential for a softball player’s development?
As with any sport baseline, robust data is critical. For example, linear and lateral movement measured in the 20 or 40-yard dash or the lateral shuttle. Of course, data as it relates to velocity, whether hitting, pitching, throwing, etc. These are just a few examples, but it comes down to this, data is a super important part of player development, and the Blaze is all-in!
What does the Blaze do with this data?
It depends on the athlete’s age; for example, data for an 8-year-old up-thru 12-year-old is mostly about understanding where an athlete is in their stage of development. It can be imperative in a parent’s decision to use their resources best to help their child improve.
For 13-year-olds and above, data is not only a progress tool but is used by colleges and the Blaze for recruiting purposes. College coaches now require data to be a part of their decisions on athletes. For the Blaze, this means collecting and housing that data in a way that is helpful for parents, players, coaches, and college programs.
TECHNOLOGY & DATA IN THE BLAZE
The Blaze uses several technologies to assist with data collection and storing in a useful way to help athletes in their journey to be the best they can be.
BASELINE & BAM DATA
Our B-Recruited program athletes the Blaze partners with On Deck Softball for baseline metrics in speed and strength. This data is then collected and housed on the Virtual Combine website for college coach access. For the youngers, the Blaze can measure baseline measurements with our equipment that includes lasers, radars, and various other testing gear. We call this BAM Scores (Blaze Athletic Measurements)
COMPANIES WE PARTNER WITH & TECH THAT WE USE FOR BPD
Blast Motion – The Blast hitting sensor provides pre-impact metrics to help hitters understand what’s happening in their swing. Its a fantastic at-home practice tool! Learn about here: https://blastmotion.com/products/softball/softball-player/premium/
On Deck Softball – The premier and most respected softball data collection company in the country and runs recruiting camps/combines.
Learn about here: https://ondecksoftball.netÂ
Rapsodo – An industry leader in compiling data for pitching and hitting. The Blaze will incorporate Rapsodo Hitting and Pitching 2.0 into virtual combines and clinics. Data from this platform will be a huge recruiting and player development tool advantage for Texas Blaze members! More info here: https://rapsodo.comÂ
Virtual Combine – VC is a new platform centered around data. The Blaze recently partnered with VC to be the hub of data-driven performance metrics. College coaches can search for Blaze athletes utilizing any attributes that are important to them. For example, if they want to know who is the fastest kid in the Blaze, that info will be available in a professional online website. Learn more about here: https://virtualcombine.com
Wasserman HLT Throwing – Austin Wasserman is one of the top throwing specialists in the country! His proven techniques are in use at the MLB and college level as well as travel ball. The Blaze brings Wasserman in every year to work with our athletes. Learn more here: https://www.wassermanstrengthfl.com/seminarsclinics/Â
Footdoctor Esia Sparc Training – The Blaze is incredibly fortunate to have Footdoctor Esia partnered with the program Esia is a national clinician and teacher of human biomechanical movements and how they relate to sports performance, injury prevention, and maintenance. Learn more here: https://www.footdoctoresia.comÂ
4 Flames Athletics – 4FA is a sister company to the Blaze that runs events geared towards helping Blaze athletes get recruited. Events include national-level college exposure tournaments and virtual combines that are digital showcases with live streaming and on-demand content for Blaze players to get exposure to college programs. Learn more here: https://www.4flamesathletics.com
As you can see, the Blaze takes player development very seriously! The emphasis on BPD is key to the overall success of the program. If you ever have questions about the BPD program, please feel free to reach out to Caitlyn Cain or me for additional advice or information.
Texas Blaze Fastpitch
Director of Player Development
Texas Blaze Fastpitch