LINCOLN SQUARE — Baseball season may be months away, but players young and old can work on their swing in the meantime with a new indoor “hitting lab” in Lincoln Square.
Swing Science Hitting Lab uses pitching simulators, 3D body movement analysis, bat sensors, high-speed cameras and other high-tech tools for a data-driven approach to help players of all skill levels step up their game, owner Mark McCall said.
Swing Science, 2425 W. Lawrence Ave., opened earlier this month. It’s sessions range from $30 to $60 per half hour depending on the type of training.
McCall has a background in information technology, operating an IT consulting and recruiting business out of the Lawrence Avenue address before the pandemic.
“I still have that as a business but when COVID hit everybody went remote. And since then everyone really likes being remote. I had this big space I’ve owned for the past 10 years that I considered selling but I really like the neighborhood,” he said.
McCall is a big fan of baseball and has coached his sons, ages 10 and 7, and about a dozen baseball teams over the years.
He’s already installed an interactive HitTrax batting cage in his home’s basement for his kids and saw how much they enjoyed using it with their friends.
He realized he could probably install a few more systems at the Lawrence Avenue address if he converted the office into a hitting lab.
“The HitTrax systems turn baseball essentially into a video game. You can play in any major league park out there and it shows you all the data you need to know,” McCall said. “I always had a strong background and like analytics and data, and HitTrax is just one of the systems we have at the lab.”
Other systems McCall installed at the Lawrence Avenue lab include high speed video cameras and a special vest to create a 3D analysis of a batter’s body mechanics when swinging.
“The ball shoots out of a little hole in the screen and can throw anywhere from 40 to 100 miles an hour, pretty much any pitch, and you can pick the location in the strike zone that you want to work on,” McCall said.
McCall hired Jason Williams — a former Division One baseball player at Indiana University who earned the team MVP, multiple awards and the highest batting average on his team — as Swing Science’s in-house trainer.
“I’ve known him for 20 years and he’s worked with my boys. He’s just a great hitting guy,” McCall said.
Swing Science had a soft opening this month. McCall has been getting interest from not just neighborhood baseball fans who want to have fun but suburban and neighborhood players and teams who want to come and get data on their swings to improve their performance.
“A lot of batting cage facilities run their own teams, and anytime you go train they’re also kind of recruiting youth for their team,” McCall said.
“I want to stay as far away from that as possible. They’re not going to get recruited there. This is truly here just for the players and has something for everybody. Even people who aren’t baseball players. It’s fun sometimes to just to come in and hit.”
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