We recently spoke with Abigail Tolton and her father, Christopher, about their use of Pocket Radar technology over the past few years. She has been setting measurable goals and meeting them each year with help from great coaching and utilizing the technology. Below is their feedback:
1. How has training with the Smart Coach App System and being able to see your progress helped you improve heading into the season?
Abby (Abigail): My season in Canada got cancelled and with the border closed I can’t travel to the United States to play with my Florida team so the Pocket Radar has been super helpful with me setting goals and meeting them. Every year on my birthday I set a goal with Kelly Barnhill and Amanda Scarborough. This year's goal was to walk-thru 55 MPH while I was still 10. My birthday is coming up so I am excited and nervous to see what Kelly and Amanda pick for me this year.
("When I am doing my lessons with Amanda, we get instant feedback with the smart coach")
2. Why have you been using Pocket Radar?
Abby: When we got our first Pocket Radar 3 years ago, it was just to see how hard I threw and how hard my dad threw. Now I use it to work on specific pitches. I started working on an off-speed drop, kinda like the one Rachel Garcia throws. The problem with the pitch sometimes I throw it too hard and I throw through the break. We have figured out that at 46 MPH I get the benefit of the spin and gravity and it really drops, so the Pocket Radar helps me get the speed right and the app lets me see the video and make sure I am not doing anything different than my fastball.
Dad: Last year I got a text from a D1 coach who lost a few bullpen arms to transfers and she was looking for an uncommitted 61-62 MPH strike-thrower. As I was reading her text I reached into my pocket and gunned a young woman warming up at 58-60. Turns out she was already committed, but I was able to get that feedback by simply reaching into my pocket and pointing it at her.
3. What is your favorite feature of using the Smart Coach App System?
Abby: The ability to see video with the speed has really helped so I can compare pitches and see what works better. It also helps me see if I am doing anything to tip my pitches.
Dad: In the winter, Abby works out at the Peak Performance HitHouse in Guelph. They have Smart Coach App System's in the cages, so we can show up and automatically connect to their radars with my phone and our Smart Coach can stay mounted in our garage. Also the video element is extremely helpful. 52-55 MPH from 35 ft is quick and I really struggle watching Abby’s mechanics with a ball coming at that speed, so we can throw a few pitches and then watch it together(for reference: the reaction time for a hitter when the pitcher is throwing 55 MPH at 35 ft away, is the same as a 95 MPH fastball in MLB!).
4. Would you recommend using Pocket Radar as a tool for other athletes during training?
Abby: Yes. I never want to throw without Pocket Radar. It keeps me super motivated and I like knowing as much as I can about my pitching.
Dad: To me its like a gas gauge in a car, or headlights, you can drive without them, but why would you. From a coaching perspective, I can use it at tryouts for comparisons of any velocity metric. I can use it for setting up the lite flite pitching machine. I know that setting it for 35 MPH from 26 ft is equivalent to 50 MPH and every foot forward or backwards equates to plus or minus 2 MPH. Even for when I am throwing to the team I can quickly get an idea of how hard I am throwing and adjust accordingly.
Bob here is my #TrickShot4Snowy . This was my 2nd attempt. @tolton33 only flinches a bit mainly because my first attempt was a bit too high and got him. My dad is happy you only asked for 50MPH. Please donate to https://t.co/PVrIYSk3zA pic.twitter.com/t09YCmKaEt— Abigail Tolton (@AbigailTolton) June 22, 2020
Here are some extra soundbites and notes about Abigail:
(Age 10) Waterloo Ghosts and the Central Florida Stars
Age 8 = 43 MPH
Age 9 = 51 MPH
Age 10= 55 MPH
Last year Abigail threw 100 innings, struck out 277 batters and gave up a total of 5 runs all season.
Her team was undefeated last year and won the Provincial Championship where Abby threw 2 no-hitters.
Best of luck to Abigail and her father as she continues to develop and meet her goals each coming year. If you would like to potentially be featured in a future article, please email sm@PocketRadar.com
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