When Jerry Ford founded Perfect Game in 1995, he had a simple and direct idea in mind; Help grow the game. 25 years later, and he’s done just that. Perfect Game is now a national organization that hosts tournaments and showcases, highlights young players who are headed to the next level, and ultimately, helps them develop the skill sets needed to raise their overall profile.
With that mission still in mind, Perfect Game is always approaching their future, and the futures of their players, with a desire to improve. Recently, that’s involved trying to find ways to get back to the basics of the at-bat, and focusing on what’s most important.
“We’ve become so invested in teaching how a swing should look or how a swing should feel, or how to get the most out of your body, and we’re so engaged in building it, that we’ve lost a lot of the core focus of the most important thing. Which is that the pitcher is trying to get you to hit their best pitch.”
– Jered Goodwin, National Scouting Director
This is the eternal battle between pitcher and hitter. The former trying everything they can to get hitters to swing at their best offering, and the latter trying to do whatever it takes to get on base. But for too long, whether it’s been in little league, high school, college, or even in the professional levels, hitters have been taught to ‘swing at anything close’.
Over the last few years however, that’s begun to change, and hitters’ approaches at the plate have become more nuanced. “We need to get back to swinging at pitches that we know we can drive, get back to not swinging at pitches that are out of the zone, and start glorifying walks a bit more…Scoring runs starts with touching first base, and offensively that starts with swinging at pitches you can drive. These are the core values of hitting”
Perfect Game knew it needed to begin adopting programs and tools that would allow them to transfer that knowledge to their players, and give them a way to practice it outside a game setting, which is exactly how they found WIN Reality.
With practice modes specifically designed to improve a hitter’s ability to accurately recognize pitches, discern the difference between a strike and a ball, and to make their swing decision during the optimal timing window, hitters now have the chance to train against game-speed velocity and movement, without the added pressure of it happening during a game.
“To be able to practice pitch recognition, timing, and get back to the core principles of hitting is great. When you’re working with WIN Reality, hitters can take as many at-bats, and practice pitches as they want to before they ever step into the batter’s box. WIN gives players a chance to get in rhythm with the pitcher, and anytime a hitter feels like they’re going to be on time in the box, they’ve got an extra level of confidence.”
With Ford’s initial mission in mind, WIN Reality and Perfect Game have teamed up to help as many athletes as possible. “If we can break it down so simply, and put something like WIN Reality in every home, at least educated players to know this exists, we’re taking an enormous step forward to continue growing the game, and helping kids continue to develop.”