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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 20, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Sports

Bombers employ film study to strengthen game

Sophomore outfielder Jen Biondi stares at the projector screen, watching herself slowly build a lead from first base in the first inning of  Saturday’s game at Alfred University.

softball film study
From left, freshman outfielder Rachel Dell’Orto watches herself on film with junior catcher Erin Jacobi and sophomore infielder Molly O’Donnell during practice yesterday in Ben Light Gymnasium. RACHEL ORLOW/THE ITHACAN

As the ball leaves the hand of the Alfred pitcher and spins toward home plate, Biondi makes her break for second base. But the catcher’s throw to the moving shortstop reaches the bag before Biondi can slide in— she’s called out following a quick tag on the leg.

The Bombers dissect plays such as these, using film study as a teaching tool. They also look at recordings of practices that focus on fundamentals of the game.

The elite motion control system is property of the school’s athletic department, and has been used to record athletic events such as men’s and women’s lacrosse games and baseball games, but Head Coach Deb Pallozzi put it in place this season for both practices and games.

It consists of two cameras — each set up on top of a touch screen — which record every play from varying angles. One camera is set up for the defense behind the
outfield wall in center field while the other is installed behind the plate to record pitchers and hitters.

The team films all games and practices and brings the filming equipment with them on the road.

The system is also equipped with a telestrator, allowing players to draw on the screen to emphasize aspects of technique.

Pallozzi said the raw footage helps players recognize negative trends, so they can focus more on what they need to do to get better day by day.

“It gives us instant feedback so I can see what fools them and come up with a plan to improve our skills all over the field,” she said.

Biondi said stolen bases were one of the things the team needed to work on after analyzing the film.

“From watching film from our recent conference road games and the ones in Florida, I could see that I needed to break from the base sooner so I’m not just starting to run while the ball is already on its way to the plate,” she said.

Freshman designated player Jackie Branco, who has also seen playing time out in left field, said the video has helped her become a more situational hitter.

“In the beginning of the season I was just going up looking to knock the ball into the outfield, but now I realize that I don’t have to do that all the time to get a hit,” she said.

Some of the injured players, such as sophomore outfielder and second baseman Meghan Kissinger, help set up and operate the cameras.

Kissinger said she noticed the different shifts by the infielders with each offensive player when she set it up for the home opener April 3 against the University of Rochester.

“Once I was behind home I got a better view of how everyone shifted for each batter,” she said.

Biondi said she hoped studying  film would strengthen the team’s approach to every opponent.

“We want to be consistent enough to dominate both games of a doubleheader,” she said. “The film is the most telling evidence we have of each of our performances.”