Photo Credit www.sandiegouniontribune.com
Back in 2015 at the Padres Spring Training site in Peoria, AZ, the Padres gained a little assistance to their coaching staff with FungoMan at the forefront--making practice more game-like, upbeat, and efficient. Now in 2016, they're still putting their ole' FungoMan to good use.
"With the 'FungoMan,' the ball flight is consistent -- we're giving them balls right at them, shoestring catches, balls in the gap, to the line, even pop-ups to the infielders. Having this just makes sense."
And practice should make sense to those who invest the time to get better.
Coaches of all levels are primarily interested in using practice to focus on areas of weakness by recreating game-like situations. With the hopes of strengthening skills and increasing confidence, repetition of specific plays can make all the difference on the diamond.
Check out Coach Bob Skube and his thoughts of how the Padres have best used their new tool.
Players need to practice the same game-like ball, with the same speed, and in the same location repetitively to ensure their ability to make that clutch play in the game.
Padre Outfielder Jake Goebbert found that FungoMan could meet those demands.
Goebbert said players were able to get fly balls with no topspin or sidespin and “really saw true flight on the baseball. I thought it was really effective for the drills that we were doing, going back on balls and getting consistent reads.
Players often complain that they don't get enough reps and kill grass just standing around during practice. FungoMan flips the switch on that notion with balls thrown every three seconds, guaranteeing a player an attention-demanding, well-paced, and upbeat practice.
Check out the Padres working with FungoMan (1:37)
Former Padre outfielder (now Texas Ranger), Will Venable noted that:
We're talking about a huge difference in time management, and in elite baseball efficiency is the name of the game.
Coaches can expect results if players are given the chance to hone their skills consistently. The San Diego Padre players have found that opportunity and are making the most it.
You can check out FungoMan and the Padres in action at the MLB.com link here.
San Diego Native and FungoMan President,
(Updated on April 1, 2016 for date accuracy and technical relevancy.)