Louisville Slugger announced a new sponsorship with Louisville-based Norton Sports Performance for the opening of a diagnostic and analytic swing lab for baseball and fastpitch softball players.

The facility will be called the Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center and located in the Norton Sports Health Performance & Wellness Center in Louisville, KY, scheduled to open in early 2022. It will be a place where exercise scientists utilize state-of-the-art technology to analyze a wide range of data points from a player’s swing and reaction time and then design custom training programs to become better hitters.

“There’s nothing else in the world like the Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center and its Bat Fitting Lab,” said Chad Miller, Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center founder. “Our mission is to become the gold standard in baseball and fastpitch softball education and instruction. We will have an authentic baseball laboratory using the latest technology to help players fine-tune their game through measurable analytics like neuro response times and other important neurological and physical factors. Numbers don’t lie, so we can identify specifically what each player needs to work on and then create individualized programs to help those athletes improve.”

A Bat Fitting Lab will be housed within the Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center. The data collected at the Hitting Science Center will be used by Louisville Slugger bat experts to provide guidance and support to amateur, college, Minor League, and Major League Baseball players on selecting bat models best suited for them, including barrel size, handle and knob style, length, weight distribution and, for those using wood bats, the specific species of wood. The proximity of the Bat Fitting Lab to the Louisville Slugger wood bat factory will allow players to hit their new bats and make adjustments on the same day.

“Pro players have always selected bats based on feel,” said Kevin Uhrhan, who works directly with Major Leaguers as the Louisville Slugger Manager for Professional Baseball. “Feel will remain part of it, but now we’ll be able to take the data from each hitter’s analysis and help them narrow down to the bat models and specifications that will help them have the most success.”

Miller said discussions have been ongoing in baseball and softball on how to properly integrate the use of analytics into bat selection. By combining the use of exercise science, analytical software, training, optimization, and coaching, players will have greater knowledge in selecting bat models, which could directly translate into better success on the field.

The Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center will feature VIP Training Service Packages and a Spring Training Warm-Up Program for MLB and MiLB professional players. There will also be a Louisville Slugger Hitting Academy Program for amateurs and a Louisville Slugger Hitting Coach Certification Program. Plans also call for a series of hitting science camps and clinics across the U.S.

“Hall of Famer Ted Williams, one of the greatest hitters of all time, said that hitting a baseball is the single hardest thing to do in sports,” said Jim Hackett, general manager of Wilson Baseball & Softball, the Chicago-based parent of Louisville Slugger. “Now players at every level will be able to come to the Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center’s Bat Fitting Lab and have their swing analyzed. Our exercise scientists will review the data and then work with each player to determine which of our wood and non-wood bats best fit their game.”

The Louisville Slugger Hitting Science Center will be housed inside a renovated 26,000-square-foot training space at the site of the former Louisville Athletic Club on Westport Road in Louisville.

Photo courtesy Louisville Slugger