AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - High school spring sports are off to a strong start, and Major League Baseball is just getting going, but one thing they both have in common is perfecting their technique. Robert Riggins shows us how technology is a game changer. He specializes in hitting and pitching mechanics for baseball and softball players.
“We put a blast sensor, so we’ll be able to measure your bat speed, your attack angle, how fast you rotate and several other metrics,” said Riggins.
The road to coaching has not been easy for the Clovis native. His college career at ENMU ended before it even started.
“That’s when I was diagnosed with an Aortic Bicuspid and then later Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome, and they just said you’re done.”
He started coaching pitchers at 18-years-old, and earned his first high school head coaching gig at 22, but he couldn’t land a college job. After researching baseball physics, he finally landed a spot with the Brewers, but after a few weeks of spring training COVID-19 took that away.
“It was kind of heartbreaking to have that happen again where you work so hard to get to a level and then something beyond your control takes that away from you,” said Riggins.
“We do know the brain is going to tell the body how to move, and the brain tells the body where the ball is going to go. This communicates with the athlete with implicit training to help them better command the baseball,” said Fuller.
“They’ve just definitely helped me. I used to now be able to get the ball out of the infield and now I can hit the ball to the wall. It’s just, they’ve just helped me a lot,” said Randall sophomore Mason Gilbert. “Hitting at the bottom, every game and every tournament, to hitting three hole and four hole. Just becoming an overall way better hitter.”
“Every kid comes in and has a very individualized specific plan based on their needs, and that’s what player development is,” said Riggins.
Riggins decided to put my rookie skills to the test for an assessment using the Blast Motion sensor.
“40 miles an hour, let’s see how this goes,” said Sports Director Larissa Liska. “That was terrible. Yes, hit a chopper!”
“This is the 3D model of the swing, so you see your bat speed was 38.4 miles per hour, but you had really good posture,” said Riggins. “You had a 92 degree connection of impact, which means you do a really good job of maintaining your spine angle through the swing.”
Even though Riggins can’t play anymore, he has found his calling to help others.
“Just helping and grow baseball in this community to the point where it’s the largest thing in the area, and that we bring a positive light to Texas Panhandle baseball,” said Riggins.