Unveiling the Secrets to MLB Success: Interview with Biomechanist Dr. Tyler Hamer!
So, doc, you gotta tell me these electro dots that you have on the athletes that you’re analyzing the biometrics of or biomechanics of. I saw a video of you on YouTube. I see this. Character, which is like a, almost like a tron version of an athlete, a pro pro athlete. Then I see these things stuck all over their body and I’m like, I gotta know this guy.
Who is this guy? This is amazing. What exactly am I looking at when I look at a, a video o of this happening? What, what do you do and what’s happening here? Yeah,
so these little electro on the column, um, are just actually small little spheres of reflective material. And this material’s the same, um, type of substance that we would have on like a runner striper we’re running at night so that cars can see us.
Um, and so we have special motion capture cameras that are designed to only see these specific reflective materials. And so, Um, these dots are placed all over an athlete’s body at very specific locations regarding their anatomy. And so, um, looking at like where their elbow, uh, joint is, their ankle joint, their knee, et cetera.
And so these dots then turn, um, athletes into stick figures. Which allows Biomechanists like myself and others to examine their movement extremely accurately via a series of joint angles and angler vec. And so it essentially takes the guesswork out, understanding how we move as athletes and data decisions or coaches make.
I love it and I love data driven. I’m kind of a little bit of a geek. Even like with my website, I have like a panel that comes up with all the information. I love it guys. We’re here with Tyler Hamer and he’s a biomechanist. Have you ever listened to a podcast with a biomechanist? If you have not, this is your opportunity.
It might be the only opportunity you ever get. So back to what you just said. Um, So data is interesting. So what, talk to me, let’s, let’s break things down a bit. Talk to me about the data that, the data you’re acquiring. Let’s start there and then we can move into what you do with it. But what, what’s the actual data look like?
Because in, you know, we have a lot of people that, uh, that w. That have been on this podcast that, uh, race cars. And so their data is, is very difficult because it’s a lot of like curves and it, it doesn’t, sometimes it’s hard to get some clarity and, and put your hands around it and wrap yourself around it to understand it.
What does this data look like? What does it tell us? And, and maybe move into what do we do with it?
Yeah, so, um, like I said, like you could apply what I do to any movement, uh, specifically like any sport. And so for, uh, taking like, uh, free throw and basketball for example, um, say I have, you know, Shaquille O’Neal, who’s, you know, previously had trouble with, with the free throw, um, marker up and we’re going through Obama Tax Assessment.
Um, he performs a free throw and the data we get is essentially a series of graphs. And so, These graphs are what’s called a time series. So you have, um, the start from when he’s, you know, first setting up to do that free throw and then he goes and goes through the motion. And so we have this data going through the whole entire process.
And so from there I’m able to see, okay, well what’s the degree of his, his risk flexion extension, um, what, what’s like, how much is he bending his knee? What’s his torso? Ankle Is he leaned back? Does he lean forward too much? And so I can kind of go through that and then see, okay, if this checks out and this checks out, and then we kind of see that, um, he’s doing something different here that might affect his performance, that’s where we kind of hone in on that.
Okay. How do we affix that? How do we, um, how, how does that influence everything else happening within this motion? Um, same goes for, you know, baseball pitching, where, um, I can see, you know, how well are we, um, rotating our hips, rotating our trunk. Um, what does our arm action look like, uh, down to the milli millisecond.
So from there, I see how, how does everybody segment, answer, play with one another and affect the overall movement, which then obviously, uh, influences our outcomes. So it’s all about, um, not only increasing our performance, but a lot of what we do also helps to understand how we can prevent injury in athletes as well.
Oh, wow. Interesting. So, So that’s, that’s really interesting. I did not know that you could use this tool to prevent injuries. Yes. Is there a benchmark? Because obviously you have to recognize, if you see what’s happening, you have to recognize. Where the lines are being crossed and what the boundaries are.
So are there biometrics for athletes in a database that exist for an athlete who’s been injury free for an extended myriad of time? Or is there an algorithm that already can determine, is smart enough to know that, hey, this is the optimal amount of rotation for hips are optimal? Whatever metric it is, whatever I call it, a KPI on, you know, whatever metric it is, does it already does, does an algorithm already exist or how are we defining this?
Are we knowing we’re there?
Yeah, so we technically don’t rely on algorithms very much because as athletes we’re all individualistic and so. Um, a common example I could give is in baseball. So at the professional level, at the MLB level, um, a majority of our pitchers are throwing the same speed somewhere between, you know, low to high nineties, but they’re all doing it differently.
No one’s throwing the exact same, no one has cookie cutter mechanics from one to the other. And so it’s understanding, okay, you could have a normative value of, you know, what does every single pitcher we’ve looked at who’s, who’s thrown, um, 90 plus miles per hour, what do they look like? Um, that’s great to, um, I guess judge the current, what we’re looking at with the current athlete, but ultimately I need to figure out what are they doing right, what are they doing wrong?
Um, the higher up you go, the greater athletes are at compensating and so I get an athlete do something very wrong, but then do something very right and still have a, the same outcome as someone who’s doing like, you know, by the book. And so it’s just a matter of understanding, well, what’s the number of value look like?
And then also making sure that we are staying within the. You know, keeping them who they are, keeping that individualistic aspect of, of their performance as well.
Yeah. And so what does that discussion look like? I mean, I, because I think that’s it, it’s interesting because you have, you have some benchmarks on what the ideal is.
You have ideas of what your current athlete is doing, and you know, at that level, at the M l B level, I mean, you know, 1% means something. Um, gaining these, these incremental gains are important. Um, is it a matter of you. Sitting down with an athlete and saying, Hey, here’s your data. Here’s another athlete.
Here are the metrics like maybe I, I mean where my mind is going is two videos next to each other left and right, and then the biometric data that you have beneath it, and then it’s exploring it and saying, Hey, this is a place we could be curious about exploring. Maybe not so much you need to do this.
Which no one likes to be told what to do. Or at least I don’t, um, I know when my girlfriend tells me what to do or my wife tells me what to do, I, it doesn’t go over so well, but people don’t like being told what to do. So maybe if you invite just the topic up and, and explore it is, I mean, is it more of an exploration than like a conclusion?
Yeah, so, um, and that’s, that’s a great question. Cause you know, sometimes people come to me or just buy Mac us in general. Um, just like a checkup, like, Hey, like here’s my movement. How does it look? I don’t really have any questions that I, that I’ve answered. Other times people come to you with really specific questions like, Hey, like my performance has been down for the past month or two.
Like, what is going on? And so going through, um, shifting through the data and exploring it, and then, um, sitting down with, you know, the athlete, the coaching staff, any other relevant personnel, whether it’s your, your strength conditioning coach, um, your ats, PTs, whomever is on board with, you know, helping this, this athlete.
Um, the more people, the better because we can formulate a plan of, okay. If this is like the first route to, you know, success, I, I, I’ve now, um, identified like this is something that we are interested in taking. Um, here are the pros and cons of like addressing, um, you know, how much you, you know, bend your, your knee, you’re shooting a free throw or, um, you know, addressing your arm max and if you’re a pitcher or, um, how you load if you’re a baseball hitter.
Um, and then being like, if the athlete is okay with that, then yeah, that’s great. And so now we formulate what do we do with all this data? So, Yes, we’ve identified the problem, but how do we go up making this actionable is another thing. Um, and so if an athlete’s like, eh, like I wanna leave this part of me alone, then that’s just okay, going back to the drawing board and being like, well, we’re seeing this, this, and this, which may also have a similar effect.
Like, what is your, what’s your opinion on if we take this route instead? And so, A lot of this is helping to guide the player and coaching, um, kind of the development route. It’s just through bio machinist data. Um, it’s like just giving them the numbers. There’s a tool that players and, uh, players and coaches can use.
Yeah. And what’s interesting, and, and I just heard something that really resonated with me that you said, which is my job as a mental performance coach, a lot of times my, uh, The, the, for lack of a better term, like the enemy that I’m fighting against, uh, within the minds and thoughts of athletes is uncertainty.
Uh, fear of the unknown and then the uncertainty that comes with it. And so where a lot of athletes that I work with, uh, can run into trouble is when there’s uncertainty. And that uncertainty might look like, well, I just dunno what to do. Or I’m, I, I just dunno what to change. I don’t know what I should focus on.
And so I think what’s interesting is it almost. Is starting to feel like to me that this is also a great tool for managing the fear of the unknown and uncertainty and, and giving people a place to look. Is it not?
Yeah, and you know, it provides like clarity. Um, a lot of times if I have an athlete who’s come to me with chronic injury, like, Hey, I have no idea what’s going on.
Um, being able to go through this assessment, collect the data, and objectively be like, okay, here’s what is going on. It almost, you know, helps, uh, ease that load on the, on that they’re feeling. Um, that burden of like, I have no idea what’s going on. This endless spiral of I’m always in pain. Um, my performance is suffering.
I’m starting to lose my, my, um, my will to like perform, like do what I love. Um, and it’s, it’s that, that’s what the nice thing about this really is just being able to have that data driven evidence. But you can’t have, as some people like to point out, um, paralysis by analysis where too much data could be a bad thing.
Ultimately I’ve yet to really see that and a lot of people are just extremely thankful for the, the chance opportunity to be like, okay, yes, here’s what I’ve been thinking is the problem. Now I know what’s actually the problem. And so now I.
Now h So how granular, so I’m, I’m imagining like a pitcher and then I’m imagining in my mind that there’s certain wrist, like maybe elbow to wrist movements that will put the action on the ball, right?
So there’s the, the overall movement of the body for the, maybe the speed component. But then mm-hmm. At the end, it’s that little flick and that little wrist, you know, elbow to wrist, maybe action. That is what puts the spin on the ball and, and puts that finishing touch on it. Can you, how. How detailed can you get?
Because you know, when I looked at some of the videos of, of you doing your work, um, you know, there’s electrodes. If I had to guess, I mean, you tell me you’re the expert, but you know, maybe let’s just say, uh, six inches to a foot apart. Um, but with a hand, if you really wanna get to the level where you’re seeing what each of the fingers doing, does the technology allow for that or has it not evolved to that point yet?
I would say the tech, the technology is definitely allowed for it. And when it comes to something as, as small scale as the hand, um, we typically have for, for bigger objects. So say like if you’re doing, uh, like horse bound mechanics, the, the markers that we call ’em, the deflected material that we put on the body can probably be like, probably like this big.
They’re very big because there’s a lot of surface area on these horses, so you’re gonna slap ’em on that thigh and the cameras can see it from a greater distance. With humans, it’s probably more of like a what. Nickled a dime size, um, that we’re just putting on like the shoulders, elbows, forever. When it comes to the hands, they’re a lot smaller and so they’re teeny tiny little dots we probably put on like the fingers.
Um, you can do the joints, things like that. And so that boils down to how close the cameras are to be able to see these things. Cause obviously the farther away they are, just like us as humans, the harder it’s for us to see. And so if we have cameras that are able to be up on these markers to see what the hand’s doing, um, we’re able to get extremely accurate data down to the millimeter of accuracy.
And so it’s kind of that trade off with, okay, are we more concerned about the hand? Are we more concerned about the more broad, uh, movement of the athlete?
Interesting. So yeah, I love that. And, and, and that’s wild cuz the fact that you can get that granular, it’s like, I mean, you know, you even think about something as wild as like, God, my brain’s going like a thousand miles a minute, and all these different ways to, to make money with this technology and to help people out with it.
I mean, part of me is imagining. All right, so I, I’m gonna get a little wild here. So tell me if I need to tap the breaks on this one. So, what I’m imagining is I wanna learn how to, so we’re gonna shift gears a little bit. I, I wanna learn how to play violin. Um, so you use your technology to record a song being played in its totality by a violinist, and she, I happen to have a glove that I wear that has an amount of, uh, action that it can create.
And so what it does is it can mimic and match the, the, the movements that, that you’re recording from the famous. You know, a violinist, and then the infamous violinist myself puts on this glove, and then the technology just can almost kind of guide or initiate some sort of action with my fingers to help maybe make it easier.
I mean, am I getting too creative here or is there a way that, or does something like this exist?
I don’t know something like that exists yet. But I mean, with judging off of how. Much for advancing, just, um, from a regular school of thought with how much AI is now just rocketing, um, our processes to essentially just even how biomechanics is, is, um, evolving in the past decade itself.
I would be surprised that as a thing, um, sometime, you know, in the next couple decades, uh, yeah, you could definitely, I could definitely see where you’re coming from is you, you have this, this time series of data. You can see, you know, the, the wrist movement, the finger movement, elbow movement, shoulder, whatever it may be.
And then some sort of, you know, coding algorithm in the backend that essentially just takes this and having some sort of exoskeleton or something like that, which helps essentially influence how the arm’s moving, um, in a fashion. I’ve seen this in golf where you can, it’s this massive machine that you can mimic the golf swing of famous golfers.
Um, it’s like this, like, I don’t know, describe like big circle where, um, you have nowhere to go with your club, but essentially mimicking the, the past. So it’s kind of like the clubs in between, like some rails. I’m, I think. Or something like that. I don’t, something I just briefly, wow. Don’t quote me on it, but it looks really cool.
Um, scrolling through Twitter, but yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if we had your idea come to fruition, um, sometime in the next couple decades, like I said.
Oh yeah. It’s wild. I mean, cuz technology, you know, it’s just, and cuz it’s, it’s, it’s like a race, you know, like Yeah, it’s, and every, and you know, here I am if I’m.
A podcast inner viewer, and I’m my mind’s already here, you can only imagine where your mind and your colleague’s mind, your competition mind is already gone. You know, especially maybe halfway deep into a, a bottle of a good merlott. You know, it’s like, wow, the creativity is endless. Um, yeah. You know, let’s master the B belly flop here.
But, um, no. So it’s interesting that, so let me ask you this then, and maybe this is a less creative. And a little bit closer idea, but along that same path that we just went down, is there a way to have like biofeedback come in and let me know that, hey, my hip rotation on my left side is, is going, let’s say 5% out of deviation, uh, from the norm, right?
And so now all of a sudden I feel like a little buzz or a little warmth or what, whatever the. The feedback is, does something like that exist? Because I would think that that would be relatively
simplistic. Yeah. Something like that does exist. Um, different modalities, um, of that same principle exists. And so what I’ve seen personally come out of our department, our lab, um, is looking at just squatting, asymmetry.
So, uh, if we’re to be on force plates, which are these essentially, uh, platforms that measure how much force we are exerting. So if you remember back in physics class, if everyone was asleep or awake during it, what I’m laws was for every action, there’s an equal opposite reaction. And so these force plates are designed to measure how much force or pressure we’re exerting down on them.
We can also see the direction of that force. If I’m leaning on my big toes, if I’m leaning back on my heels, we’ll be able to see that. And so, um, one of these, uh, studies looking at essentially the asymetry of how we squat, body weight, squat. Where we’re standing up on these sports platforms and we’re squatting down and we have real-time feedback in front of us of, um, this kind of this waving bar like this.
And if you are, you know, um, if you have symmetry between the limbs, the bar’s kinda in this green region where if you’re starting to lean in one side, the bar will then go up like this to kind of show you, okay, whoa, you’re leaning to the left or you’re bringing to the right. And so you have visual feedback, you have auditory feedback where you hear beats.
Um, you have, you know, haptic feedback where you, like you said, if you have like a little bit of a buzz on your side that says like, Hey, like you’re, you’re leaning more towards this side. These things are, um, currently being studied in terms of their effectiveness. Effectiveness and how we also, um, translate that into, in the sports realm, athletic performance.
Wow. It just, it’s so wild. Now, where did, so where did this technology, what sport kind of, uh, took the lead on this technology? Was it you guys in baseball or was it, I know golf is a very painful sport for many. Um, was it golf or was it baseball or
elsewhere? Um, I would definitely say golf and baseball are top two, in my opinion.
Um, golf really kind of took to it and was. It’s one, in my opinion, who started to really look at technology in terms of helping performance. And then baseball out of nowhere just took it and ran with it. But baseball is blazing a frontier where it’s like everyone is in an arms race, not only at the professional level, but in the college level as well.
And even some, um, private sector, uh, places as well. Just getting different pieces of tech, whether it’s biomechanics, lab. Or looking at, you know, spin trajectory of, you know, golf balls, baseballs, things like that. And then we even see the trickle down effect into basketball where basketball’s now really starting to look into, um, biomechanics and motion capture as well.
And they already have previous, um, I guess, Similar technologies in place where base basketball has, um, force plates trying to look at, like ball tracking, um, workload monitoring, where they’re, um, following athletes athletic movement throughout a game of practice, things like that.
Wow. So I looked at some images, so maybe kind of walk me through this.
So, uh, what I’m imagining is that. Um, if I’m in your, um, you know, uh, I was gonna call it studio, whatever the term is for the environment where all the technology exists, how far Cuz it, it appeared to me from what I saw, and I don’t know if this is just the structure of the room, that there were some.
Receptors, for lack of a better term, but there was technology that went up and above almost like a frame, uh, like a, the frame of a house around the athletes, but not too, uh, claustrophobic or cumbersome. Um, does that frame need to exist on like a court, like let’s say we are gonna do like a basketball game, like I, is the technology too cumbersome to, to follow a player throughout an entire game or a practice?
No, and it depends on kind of what you are interested in. And so what you’re referring to was all of our motion capture cameras. And so these are just specific cameras that are up on a truss that we kind of have out of the way. So athletes aren’t worrying about, you know, hitting this or this technologies in the way, um, like cables, things like that.
And so, um, you can have, uh, a series of cameras in a very large space, um, you see in the movie industry, which actually drives a lot of motion capture. If you look at avatar. Avatar behind the scenes has like hundreds of cameras surrounding this massive pool, um, where they’re doing motion capture. But for the sake of, you know, baseball specifically, we have around a pitching mound, around a batter’s box that’s much smaller.
And so we have 20 cameras around our, our, uh, our pitching mound. But if you wanna take this, put on a basketball court, you can do the same thing or you can do, um, you know, GPS monitoring where athletes are wearing, um, small imus, which are essentially just the same thing as. Um, like our, like our phones athletic, our activity monitor where it’s able to see, um, kind of how many steps have you taken, um, but to a very, more, much more accurate degree.
And so hockey uses that. Soccer uses a basketball, um, baseball, softball. It’s just looking at athlete load monitoring. So what’s the distance these athletes are, are moving over the course of a practice or a game? Um, what are their sprint intervals looking like? How far are they sprinting and how long are they sprinting for from a duration standpoint?
Um, how much time are they standing still? Are they walking? Um, and so we’re able to see kind of, you know, when are you tiring out? When, like, do you need more sprint work in like the fourth quarter? Cause you know, maybe if you’re in hockey, you’re giving up more goals in like the third, the third period. Um, different things like that.
This help also guide from a aist standpoint, like the workload monitoring. It doesn’t have to just be an emotion capture lab. It can also be out on the field where it all really matters, um, through like GPS tracking. Wow.
Um, it’s just beyond wild. Now let’s take a step back from the technology for a second.
I know it sounds like you were, you, you were at, cuz you’re a doctor, would love to hear exactly what your doctorate is in and then also, um, you are at University of Omaha, now you’re working for the Mets. Yeah. Um, tell me more about like, the connection between all that, like, uh, and, and also I’m al also, the other piece I’m curious about is, is this new technology to the Mets or are you bringing in a refinement to preexisting technology similar to this?
so, um, it’s kind of too backtrack. Um, I can give you kinda the whole lay of the land a bit, the bigger story. Um, when I first. Uh, graduated college. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I wanted, I thought I wanted to be going to physical therapy. Um, but I spent two years kinda getting wait listed, um, for PT programs.
Its really competitive stuff. And so I ended up just going to a generic, um, health and kinesiology program here at, uh, university of Nebraska, uh, Nebraska, Omaha. And um, from there I got paired with, Um, my faculty advisor, um, Dr. Brian Nar from just like a general, um, like semester project and I don’t know, know biomechanics was, but he offered, you know, like, Hey, you should volunteer my research team.
So I did that and then, so I was pretty cool. And then before you know it, he offered me, um, money as a, as a graduate assistant research assistant, which made significantly more than me scrubbing tables at a PT clinic. And so I was like, yeah, I’ll take it. So didn’t know what bio mechanics was. And so I ended up graduating, um, with my master’s degree.
And then I remember sitting in his office right before graduation trying to figure out, okay, do I go into the real world or do I continue to pursue my PhD? And if I do, so what does that look like? And so it boiled down to, well, do you get your PhD IT to be something you’re passionate? Essentially pigeon yourself.
With that work. And so, um, I played baseball throughout college and pitching was a lot of who I was and who I am now. And so I was like, Hey, like can we do like pitching by mechanics? Our, our building, our department never really did any sports biomechanics before. We were all very clinically focused looking at.
You know, stroke by mechanics, uh, pro prosthetics, um, individuals, C O P D, so on and so on. And so it was a big leap of faith for us to really go into the sports film. Cause we’d never done it before. We didn’t know anything about it. And so, um, we lost some old cameras in a, in a room that wasn’t being used anymore and repurposed him for pitching.
Um, got on board with our, our, uh, our baseball team here at the University of Nebraska, Omaha talked to the coaching staff. They’re like, yeah, let’s do this. So we started bringing guys in and before you know it, we get a lot of hubub throughout the Omaha community. Hey, this stuff’s really cool. Like, can I get my son an eval?
And so we offered, uh, we opened this to the community, um, as like a pay per service for now. We’ve gotten, gosh, hundreds of guys since we opened, probably about. August, 2020. Um, hundreds of guys. I think our youngest has been seven. Our oldest has been individual, um, who I guess last of last year was on, uh, an MLB roster.
Now Wes, a free agent. Um, and then guys coming from all over the Midwest. I think our, our farthest east grasp has been Indiana. Um, Southern’s been Texas, and kind of just that nice little stash in the Midwest has been our, our clientele. And so, um, as far as my relationship to the Mets now, um, Bio biomechanics isn’t exactly new to the Mets, but um, we are kind of bringing me in to help build out a lot of the, we’re building a new lab and different things like that to kind of refurbish what we have already had in place and making it essentially, um, tops tier.
Um, it was, I always thought it’d be pretty hard to get me out of U n L and the u n l pitching lab, um, because it was my baby. It was my, my child essentially fostered up through my, my PhD rotation. Um, and I’ve always been fortunate that my, my PhD’s rotation was like essentially building a, a business. Um, and so the, the Mets is the personnel is fantastic.
I love who, uh, I work with, um, from just a behind the scenes development standpoint to also like the coaching staff from top to bottom, uh, phenomenal. I love who I work with and the facilities and the technology and this, our mindset is something I’ve never seen before. And so that was something that got me.
Think like, okay, like I should probably uproot my family from Omaha and go to Florida where I’ll be, I’ll be living down in the spring training complex. And so, um, I’ll be bringing some, some new things. But for the most part we’re just expanding upon a lot of the, the heavy lifting that previous individuals have done.
So you’re right now in Florida set up to, to use your tech, to use the technology that exists already in spring training. Is that what’s happening? So essentially that’s, it’s not spring training. Why, why do I call it spring training or, yeah,
people call it like the spring training facility. And so a lot of player development, whether it’s um, actual development or if someone gets hurt, they go down to, um, that team spring training facility.
And so spring training facilities are either located in Florida or they’re in like the Phoenix area. And so. While biomechanics lab is centralized in the spring training facility in Port St. Lucy, um, a lot of the operation can go up the coast to all the other affiliates. Cause there’s, um, you know, there’s high A, there’s aa, aaa, you have the major league team, which is the Mets, um, all up and down the coast.
And so you’re spending time not only at the headquarters down in Florida, but also going to different teams, checking in, talking to coaching staffs, uh, just different things like that.
So is this like a mobile unit or you fly them down to you? It’s not that mobile.
Um, so it’s not that mobile be flying down to me.
And so, um, whether it’s at the end of the season where everyone comes down and sees us, or, um, if an individual wants to buy mechanic support for answer a question, like, Hey, like I’m not hitting the way I was, um, last season as I am right now. Like, I gotta figure out what’s going on and be quick. Like they can come down and do it.
Um, and so, That’s kind of the, the premise of it, just being able to have the centralized location at our headquarters to have this. And then also offering more of a, if we need to, um, a more simplistic evaluation, which through GPS tracking, which is much more portable that we can bring to affiliates. Wow.
So if, like, let’s say for example, um, you’re doing a session, uh, you’re doing an assessment and we’re looking at the. Uh, athlete’s body from, uh, their right side. So we’re to, we’re to their right. They’re facing straight ahead. We look and then we say, oh, wow. Um, we thought this is the angle we wanna look at, but I’d like to see how this looks on the other side of their body, or from behind or from above.
Um, is this like a 3D access that you could rotate or no? Yeah.
This is probably a really crucial detail. I, I should have. Put way earlier is, so the purpose of all these markers is it essentially creates like a, a 3D skeleton, like a 3D model. So you can manipulate the entire area and like look at their movement in a 3D axis.
So it’s not so much looking at someone from just like a video. It’s like, I could look at you from the top down, like you from the left, right? Like underneath of you. Like it’s all right there. They’re essentially a model that’s floating and I can manipulate them in space and see exactly what’s going on.
I don’t, I want one of these things. What, uh, are you allowed to talk about how much one of these costs? I mean, what, what does a machine like this cost? I mean, I, I like to have goals in my life and I just want one for the
house. Yeah. So it’s, it’s kind of like, like, um, like cars and so you can get like a, you know, your base model car and you can also get like a really, really nice car.
And so the higher you get, obviously the more accurate and kind of gold standard. Yeah, the, the, the data is, and so I like to put it as like you can get, biomechanics is now going into like everyone’s hands via like a smartphone. So you can take a smartphone and record your movement and get biomechanics data through just an algorithm.
And yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s pretty accurate, but it’s not the most accurate. And so a step up would be a two camera system, right? I have an iPhone and another iPhone, and I’m doing the same thing, taking videos where it’s like, maybe it’s from dead on, and then once another angle over to the side, um, more accurate but not the most accurate.
And so if you go all the way up, um, you get, it’s kind of what, what I use now, um, where it’s like the marker based motion capture or markerless motion capture through a very high tech, um, device. That’s gonna be, depending on how many cameras you get, if you get like 10 cameras that’s gonna be running up there, um, couple, couple hundred thousand at least, because you’re paying for all the cameras, the cables, software’s a lot.
Um, professionals will come in from these companies to aim your camera, set up for your lab, um, make it as most plug and play for you as possible. So, um, to get something as, as gold standards high tech is, is what I use. Um, it’s extremely expensive, which is why we don’t see a lot of these because it takes so much money, so much effort to run these types of labs.
Um, and so you typically see the, the more accessible iPhone or just kind of smartphone, um, biomechanics evaluations being used more widely because you’re only paying for the software if you already have your iPhone and you’re able to get some data fairly easily.
Wow. So your machine could be, what, upwards to a half a million or closer to a
The one you used? I think in our, in our small, like if we have like our little turf area around our pitching mound and you know, around our, our batter’s box, you’re looking at like, gosh, yeah, it’s coming up on. I couldn’t even tell you the exact quote. Probably I’d say about half mil at least. Wow.
And then, so one place that I want to go back to that you mentioned, and I did see it in one of the videos, was at the top of the mound there was that, uh, footplate, I believe you called it a footplate force plate.
Okay? Yep. And so with that plate, Um, does it have enough pressure sensors where, I mean, it can get really granular. I mean, you had even stated to the point where it can tell like maybe how flat your foot is, and could it tell, like if the outer edge of my foot or let’s say by heel is starting to lift, it can actually in real time start to see that pressure change.
Is it, not so much visually, but from like a, a pressure reading. Right.
Yeah. And so, um, you can examine the force from two different visuals. The first being just a graph. And so you can have a graph where, um, you could have it in any, any three directions. You could have it up like this, you could have it going this way or forward as well.
There’s obviously 3D movement. We can move in three planes. And so if you have all three graphs going, say that I am just purely pushing more force down on my foot, that graph would skyrocket cause we’re putting more force down. Um, you can also look at your center of pressure. So if you have, like I said, my, my hand is my foot, like an image of it.
Um, and your center of pressures right here. You can have real time movement where if you rock back on your heel, it can now go back this way, you can it up your toes. It’s on so forth. And then another visual is, um, this is a more commonly scene in motion Captures is an arrow. And so you have this big arrow that shoots up from the ground where your center of pressure is.
And so if my foot kind of goes towards my, my toes, this, this arrow’s gonna start going towards the toes like this. Um, it can also go this way, mean that I’m leaning, even though my pressure’s on my toes, I’m leaning forward. The arrow will start to go this way in that direction. Um, with more force from exerting, the arrow gets higher.
And so it’s essentially this kind of really cool way of seeing really quickly how much force the exerting and also the direction of that force. Wow.
So I know there’s a lot. No, it’s just, it’s so, I just, I got, I, I’m overwhelmed trying to figure out, not so much how to understand the technology, but more so we’re to find 500 grand.
Um, so when it comes to, Using this techno, are you like, maybe give me a little idea of, of what a day looks like because you know, obviously, Gathering data is time consuming. So my guess is that that’s a time sink where to optimize your funnel of efficiency. Um, having someone set up the athletes other than you would be ideal.
In a perfect world, collecting the data, uh, would also be great, but then you would come in, especially with your expertise. I mean, I, I can’t imagine that there’s a ton of. Uh, of, of people that did well, performed well in college at a great college for baseball performed well. Were a pitcher and they’re a biomechanic.
I mean, I would assume not, not to dis your colleagues, but I would assume most of them, um, you know, have multiple gaming systems at the house. Probably love their Doritos and probably canceled their gym membership 10, 20 years ago. I know you’re not supposed to judge a modern day culture. But I have a feeling I just did.
It seems like you’re kind of like a unique anomaly. I mean, did I completely misrepresent the, the community? Because it seems like the PhD Geek Gut friends I have, they’re not, they’re, they don’t have trophies on their wall from their success in baseball. Yeah.
Um, I mean, yes and no. Uh, I definitely, me being a division one ex, division one baseball pitcher, um, I do have that, that background where I can walk the walk and talk to talk.
Um, but a lot of times, especially at the MLB levels or sports science level in general, um, it’s just people who, whether they play up until high school or just have an extreme, um, infatuation with sports in general, just know a lot, um, who are just engineers. And so while I don’t have that next step of. Of being, of performing at, you know, the college level or the pro level.
Um, they still have somewhat of a background where they’ve been playing baseball their whole life. They might have followed baseball, um, or still followed baseball very closely and can provide that. A lot of biomed are essentially, um, engineers who are able to apply that engineering focus to how we move as, as, as humans.
Wow. Love it. And so are you communicating more so with the players themselves or with the coaches? I mean, what, what seems to take most of your time? Um,
it’s a mix and that’s because. Um, you know, spend time with coaches being like, okay, well what do we wanna know with all this stuff? Like, what ideas have come to you while you’re out of the field?
Um, watching these guys maybe like, oh, like, I wanna see like this, this, and this. And so, okay, yeah. Like, here’s a way we could do that. Or, um, like, let’s consider looking at it this way. And so talking with coaches that way. But then also when players are actually being evaluated, I spend a lot of time talking to the players themselves.
Um, you know, they’re in the lab, they’re throwing, they’re hitting, um, hey, like, consider this. Consider that. Um, and just kind of letting them be loose and be themselves. I don’t want people being robotic and hesitant just because they have all these markers on them, or if we’re doing marker list motion capture, which is a, a whole monster in of itself.
Um, just kind of being stared and hesitant. I want them being themselves because I want the data to be collected in this lab, to be representative of the data, to be collect while they’re in the game. And when they’re in the game, it’s adrenaline, it’s competitiveness, it’s, you know, I wanna succeed. Um, where the stakes aren’t as high in the lab because, you know, it’s just a lab and so, Making sure that these people are themselves and getting the most out of them, the most representative data is another huge part of what I do.
Interesting. I, I think that’s super powerful because if you can, you know, you know where my head just went. Have you guys experimented with using VR technology to at least get a match visually? Cuz we know that the visual system gives so much information. What if they were in a, uh, headset? And we’re throwing at a, a target and virtual reality that would kind of increase the odds of them trying to have a, a pattern match between, uh, imagination and reality.
Has that been played with yet?
So I know that VR is bigger in a hitting realm, um, because, you know, it’s, you’re, it’s hard to emulate different pitchers who do different pitch types. Um, from pitching, I can see that being a little bit trickier because just, you know, me envisioning, okay, if I had a, a VR headset on and I’m supposed to like throw, I’d feel kind of outta sorts because like, I can’t specifically see the target in front of me in like, you know, real time.
Cause I’m looking at, I have this headset on where I feel like if I just, you know, had the VR set off and I am, you know, I have that same competitive feeling, the adrenaline’s pumping and I’m throw into a target, I’d be able to, I guess get more representative data that way. And so kinda just a. Bring it whole circle.
I think that. VR definitely has a space and hitting, but pitching right now, if we are to use it, I think we seem to figure out how we plan using it and what outcomes we expect to find by doing so. Yeah,
exactly. No, I could see that. That makes a lot of sense. So, I mean, what, so what do you do to try to replicate the high pressure situation?
I mean, do you try to maybe have them, instead of just throwing the ball for the sake of throwing the ball, do you have maybe a target that they’re aiming at or throwing at? That could also be a measurement of their success. So they can also get some feedback, not just from the data that you’re acquiring from their body movements, but maybe even like a score on like, hey, uh, aim for, aim for sector one, right?
And let’s say like a little green light comes on, he aims for sector one, uh, in the pitchers, uh, strike box. And we can get an accuracy rating on that. So then we also have. A front end biomechanics evaluation and then the actual backend evaluation of what the output was.
Yeah. Um, so you’re a hundred percent right.
And that’s kind of the, the idea you had is, is a very gross and easy way to do it. And so there’s a thing called a nine pockets, a target that is essentially three rows of three. So the nine pocket is just nine holes. And so they’re each a essentially a square, a sector where you can be okay. Aim for if you have ’em labeled like aim for like pocket one, which is like top left and as you go, like 1, 2, 3, and so, You can do that.
Um, people are starting to develop a more, um, nuanced approach to this, where it’s actually like measuring, okay, this is what you’re aiming for and this is where you miss this is how like the distance you’ve actually missed, and you can do it that way. Um, when you, your, your first question is like, okay, well how do you actually like, get these guys to like, you know, emulate that like competition?
My first thought, which is my favorite music. Um, what do you wanna listen to? Blast it. Be yourself, be in your zone. Cause essentially the batters box and the pictures mounts your office. That’s where you make your money. And so, um, just be you and vibe, right? And just let that thing rip. Let it eat and, you know, let’s just, let’s get better.
It doesn’t, it doesn’t have to be like, it’s not, this isn’t a test where it’s like, it’s your, your semester final. And if you fail, like you fail, it’s like, okay, well if isn’t your best day, we can still use that. Like, why isn’t this your best day? What is different?
I love it. So are you, if, if someone’s coming in, I mean, so there obviously there’s the initial assessment and then there’s an exploration and a curiosity phase, like a discovery phase, like what can we discover with this information?
And then there’s a. Let me go out and practice for X amount of time and then come back and see what’s changed. What is that? What is the actual process from assessment to I’m going out to work on things and then I return, what? Is there a process for that? Or, once again, is it so individualized for each player there?
There really isn’t a specific process and timeframe for that.
So there is a process, but it’s very individualized. And so it’s, you know, guy comes in, they do their, if it’s their baseline motion to capture assessment and say, do it, we identify, okay, um, based on the data we need to work on, um, X, Y, and Z. And then there’s drill work or just different coaching modalities that help address.
And so they go out and practice and they’re with coaching staff who are also aware of, you know, what their practice plan is and they’re working on these things. Uh, uh, we prescribe like the sets, reps, drills, weights, everything we need to do. And so it’s just plug and play from there. They go out, they do it.
Um, and then they come back. Whether it’s, you know, month later, two months later, Robert made be based from their schedule and we reassess. Did that work? Did that not work? Um, humans are really interesting because I could give you an external cue. And you’re like, yep, got it. And it just clicks. Or I could give you something that’s works for, you know, someone else and you’re just like, I got nothing.
And just keep going through the Rolodex of like, okay, like what can I tell you that’s trying to get you the same outcome that I want you to get, but like, You know, in a way that you understand it, whether it’s external cue or, um, setting yourself up to at the start of a drill, like in a position that allows you to succeed, um, and influences like that proper movement pattern.
It’s just, that’s the kind of fun thing with, with, with hu and just how we learn, is understanding the individual. Okay. If you’re really responsive to this cue, let’s roll with it. But if you’re not, I gotta figure out how you learn really quickly and try to figure out, okay. This is, you know, if you’re more of a, a do-it-yourself guy, like self-exploration or if you just wanna like keep going through queues, how do we get there type of
Wow. Uh, it’s amazing because you’re right how you say things and there’s a psychology component to this. Oh, yeah. Oh yeah. There’s, there are so many. Do I wanna do what you do now? I think, I think I’m gonna, I’m gonna send, uh, give notice to myself that I’m done. I, I want to come work with you, work for you, and, uh, get your knowledge.
It just, it, it’s so, so fascinating. Um, Another place that you’ve inspired me to go, um, have you explored this? That just, this is great, and thanks for coming on. Like I’m, I’m really, really enjoying this. Yeah. Um, so here, so you just brought me down a different road. Now all of a sudden you have an athlete.
Uh, teed up, queued up, taped up, ready to rock Technology’s on. Then instead of you giving him cues, you have the coach come in. Now all of a sudden, what we can start to do is evaluate how are players. Reacting and responding in a physical nature to the commands that you’re giving. You know, Hey Tony, um, I want you to put a little bit more rotation in your hips.
Okay, well, is he rotating his hips? Um, is. Is the command yielding the output or is he not, not really rotating his hips too much, but he’s kind of rotating his shoulders more so, and then his hips are going with it, you know what I mean? Uh, have you experimented with that at all?
So similar to that, and this is kind of just not just with what I do specifically, um, but just from like a, you know, the baseball society holistically is we are trying to understand, um, you know, the drill works they’re prescribing.
Like what exactly are they actually doing, because. Previously, it’s like, okay, well we, we believe these drills work based on just, you know, previous successes where it may be. Now it’s like, okay, we have people in the lab markered up doing these drills because are the, are we actually changing what we wanna change?
Are we seeing something different? And so that’s kind of the big push now is solidifying that these drills are actually here to address with the address and not doing something that we think they’re addressing, but actually doing something else.
Yeah, interesting. Cuz ultimately when it’s all said and done, people hire me in mental performance coaching for a result they hire you and biomechanics to, to get a result.
Right? Like, that’s all anyone wants, you know, nobody wants to lose weight. They even then they don’t even really want to lose weight. They want to feel confident, they want to feel sexy, they want, you know, it’s usually like a feeling based or some sort of specific outcome. Um, yeah. And some, so it’s really interesting.
Um, Would love if you’d be open to it. Since perfect timing for me to ask this question that I had, which is. Maybe gimme a couple, um, case studies that you can share that illustrate maybe some of the outcomes you’ve experienced over the years as a result of the technology. Like in, in, you know, maybe just a general case or is there sort of, uh, maybe even some low hanging fruit that tends to be like the easy wins on this.
Would love to hear like a little bit more of like the results and what they look like and what you find.
Yeah. Um, I give you, um, there’s one, there’s one like specific case study that comes to mind that I’m thinking of. And um, this was a couple years ago. I had a guy come in who came into me. Um, this was when I was at, at U N L pitching lab.
Um, he was, he just finished his last game of his junior year. And so he calls me up and says, Hey, like, I have one more year to essentially make it happen. Um, like, you know, what do I do? And I said, well, like if you want, let’s spend the summer. Cause he called me. Probably like late May. Um, let’s spend the summer getting better instead of going out and just playing more innings.
Um, and he said, yeah, let’s do it. And so he ended up, that call was on a Friday, came to me on a Monday. Um, we got him in the motion capture lab, figured out what the problem was, and then we spent the summer addressing that. Um, essentially mapped out every throw he made from that summer on. Um, and, you know, he needed to work on, um, if I remember correctly, um, getting his backside more so as a pitcher essentially that.
Coiler hinge like you would like as a deadlift and kind of load your glu instead of your quad. Um, and then he had to work on, um, his hips were too close when he landed. Um, uh, I think his arm was other things. And so, um, we spent the summer adjusting these things. Um, then he came back and I believe just before the season started in late winter, we reassessed said, okay, here’s who you are.
I think you look fantastic. Um, you know, let’s, you know, rock and roll this spring. During the spring season. He has a spring season. Um, does great. His velocity jumped about five miles per hour. He went from about high eights low, low nineties guy to now he, at about mid nineties ish, um, he ended up getting, um, picked up into the independent ball league, which is just a little bit, it’s professional ball but’s, you know, it’s flow, um, like the MLB in a sense.
Um, and he’s still continuing to do fantastic there. And he is reported for spring training with them. And so that’s been a really fun story because, you know, he’s a relationship I’ve really come to, to love over this time because, um, we’ve in constant contact and try to do that with a lot of my athletes is, you know, checking with him how, how was the season or if, um, you know, if I, if I caught them after a certain game, like, you know, what do you think of this game?
How did you do, um, gimme your thoughts on this. Just checking in because. I don’t ever want guys just to come in see me and then say, okay, like good luck. Audio’s like, I wanna be there for people. I wanna have an open door. If they have questions, I wanna make sure that if they need a life wrap, I’m the guy do.
I love it. Yeah. So, so much Jim packed so far. I love it. Um, let’s shift gears a little bit. I want to, I want to get to know a little bit more of, of the man behind the fascinating. Technology. Like what, so when you hop in your car and then you, you jet home, I mean, how do you, are you turning off baseball and becoming a dad?
Are you, what, what’s your, what’s your day-to-day outside life look like? Because I find that a lot of times people that are as driven and motivated and achievers such as yourself, uh, sometimes, you know, we forget where the light switch is to, uh, to turn things off.
Which is me. Yeah. Um, so when I get home I have, I have a two year old daughter and a brand new baby boy.
And, you know, it’s, you’re being a dad has a full-time job in and of itself, so I pretty much go from one full-time job to the next. Um, and you know, while it’s at, while I’m doing so, it’s. I’ve got, you know, movies on whether it’s like a Disney movie on, on the TV for my daughter who needs just like a second to chill out and watch it, and I’ve got the mess on an iPad.
And so being able just to watch that, whether it’s the mess or different affiliates, I’ve always got an eye on something. Um, just kind of, you know, being involved, um, being aware of who’s doing what from a competition standpoint. Um, looking at stats, looking at different, like looking at my Twitter, which is essentially just another means I used to educate myself following coaches different.
Research avenues, um, podcasts. Um, I do that a lot. And then, you know, in between obviously being the best dad I can, obviously I’m not sitting there on my iPad all the time, but I’ve at least got some sort of baseball on the background while also playing, you know, Barbies with my daughter or, um, you know, I might have a, a phone, a game on my phone with me as I’m going for a walk with my family and dogs, things like that.
Do you have
one of those pink co vets for Ken Barbie, or have you not gotten, uh, to the level of the pink Corvette yet?
So we just, we have so frozen’s big in my house, and so we had a Jeep. Um, which my, my wife wanted to, uh, replace with a, a Bronco, cuz she thrives a Bronco. So she wanted our daughter to match her.
So don’t tell my daughter, but I think she’s getting those little, that little motorized bronco for Christmas.
Love it. Oh my God, that is so good. So I, I would love to hear kind of your thoughts on this. You know, as a mental performance coach, I’m always looking for ways to, uh, improve the. The emotional management, uh, the mental, uh, the self-awareness and the mental toughness and resilience of my athletes.
Um, what have you, you know, let’s, let’s, let’s take, take you kind of outside of the, uh, The studio and the mechanics of of it all. What have you noticed personally, cuz you’ve been around athletes since you were one and now you’re around professional athletes on a regular basis and you’ve been around top level athletes for a while now.
What do you feel is the difference between the really good athletes and like the great, like the ones that just are elite? What do you think are the differences from a mental performance standpoint? Yeah.
Um, honestly, it’s just attention to detail is a big thing that comes to mind. It’s just, I feel like the greats are really privy to the small things and doing the small things right.
Whether that is, um, you know, uh, making sure they, they drink their water, um, if they, if they need it meditating, like that mental health aspect. Like if they are aware that they need. Assistance or help in some area, addressing that area, giving themselves time instead of someone who’s just kind of just showing up and going through the motions.
You feel, I feel that a lot of the times our best are doing the small things routinely. It’s a part of who they are, it’s a part of their day. And so that’s something I admire and also try to essentially, uh, emulate in my everyday life.
I love it. And it, and it really is, you know, I think sometimes we even complicate it.
You know, I find myself the better I am at doing what I do. Um, the less I guide my athletes, the more I ask questions, and the more, like you said, it’s the reps. You know, with self-awareness, it’s very easy for me to say. Hey, Tyler. You know, uh, let’s talk about self-awareness. You know, be self-aware today.
Here are the ways that you can do it. Here are the actions you can take. Here’s what it looks like. Uh, you know, let’s, let’s touch base later today. But the reality is, is doing it once, you know, I mean, I could tell you right now, I can go down the street to the local high school and throw one pitch on the mound.
I could tell you it’s not gonna be pretty. And even the second one, even with your guidance, and even if you. Strap, the, uh, you know, all the devices on me. It, it’s still a matter of repetition is the key because that’s where you turn things from the conscious to the subconscious, the unconscious, and that’s where habits and automation exists.
That’s where the actual system is. And I think a lot of times that’s a mistake that we make, is we all think that knowledge is power, but knowledge is. Maybe it’s like the beginning of awareness, if anything, you know, but it’s not really power, right? Because we power is, you know, it’s almost like having a, a battery.
Well, it’s not really powerful if I’m not hooking it up to anything. It, it has potential power. But, um, yeah, it’s interesting. Yeah, I, I love how you, how you highlighted that. So, um, As we wrap things up, any things that you think the future is going to bring that could. Increase the level of excitement that already exists for those people that are listening in right now for how they can use this technology.
In other words, is there an improvement in technology? Are we starting to see it maybe reduce in price in the future so it can have more applications? Um, is there a new group that’s used it in a unique way that you’ve been fascinated by? What does the future look like in your field? Yeah, I think
the future looks like, um, I think biomechanics motion capture is going to be more accessible and it’s gonna get into more hands.
Um, that being, it’s gonna be cheaper. And so I think that, um, yeah, we do have the gold standard, but I think there’s a big push of just trying to get it out there for people to use themselves, whether it’s a, a father just doing motion capture on his son, um, things like that. Getting the education out there.
What is biomechanics? What are we looking at? And like, why do we care about it? There’s basic education about that because the field. Is essentially kind of a, a lesser known field. And so I think that, um, you know, what’s in store for us, like I said, like, um, getting it out in more hands and getting it more usable, and also just being more aware of what it is.
I love it. Yeah. Wow. So much amazing information. Jam packed into less than an hour. Um, if anyone wants to interact with you, talk to you, try to offer you an extra $150,000 to leave the Mets and come work for them, how can they make that offer? Where would they go to find you?
Yeah. So, uh, I feel like my emails about to change.
Probably give you my Twitter handle. Uh, my Twitter handle is h a m e r, my last name Hamer, and then time t i m e 15. Twitter. I also have LinkedIn. Um, uh, search me with my, my name, right as shown there.
Guys, this has been an amazing interview with Dr. Tyler Hamer. I am blown away. I want 500 grand. I have got new goals.
I’m gonna write down new smart goals. I do think I’m gonna have to increase my prices, unfortunately, uh, to get to that 500,000 mark, but I can’t thank you enough. And you know what? I love to give you a compliment. I love how you took something that is, Very technical and you broke it down. So it was simple and easy to understand, and you also did it in a very time efficient and effective manner.
So I have a feeling that your future is, uh, is gonna be extremely bright with Mets because, um, that efficiency, that accuracy, the background that you have both in sports and in in biomechanics, you know, I just think that you’re a, a, a, a very unique gem that, uh, People are gonna appreciate the heck of, uh, from a value standpoint.
So really excited to witness, uh, what your future looks like.
Thanks, Jay. I appreciate it. I really
do. All right, well, take care, Tyler. Thanks, Jay.