Pocket Radar Review: Smart Coach

Two significant changes in the newest Pocket Radar, called the Smart Coach Radar are:

  1. You can now power it with a 5 volt USB battery pack or plug it into an A/C wall outlet with a USB cube.
  2. It hooks up to an app, which records video and ties the video to the speed of pitch or exit velocity of a softball off a bat!

Having used the original red button Pocket Radar for years and frequently getting frustrated with trying to catch in one hand and time holding the red button down (while timing when the pitcher’s arm was in the 12 o’clock position) in the other it will come as no shock that I was ready to try something new. The red button Pocket Radar, for your information, turns out was never designed for tracking softball pitch or bat speed. It was designed for use by law enforcement to give a pocket-size device for use to check traffic speeds.

I put some time into a Smart Coach Pocket Radar review because I’ve spent a few months testing it out directly in my softball pitching and hitting lessons. There’s a lot of information and tips on different ways to use the device out there, but that is not the intent of this post. The intent of this post is to give a broad overview and to evaluate the product’s worthiness priced at  $399, and base any recommendation off of my testing.

Smart Coach Pocket Radar on tripod with iPhone
Smart Coach Pocket Radar on tripod with iPhone using the tripod accessory sold separately.

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3 things that can make a great pitcher look, well… not so great

From my experience as a head softball coach, a pitch caller, and from giving instruction to catchers over the years, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on a few things in the game of fastpitch softball that I’ve noticed can make a great pitcher—one that has worked hard over many years to become great—look not so great, even just plain bad at times. And on the other hand, when these 3 ‘planets’ align with the great pitcher, championships are coming!

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Queen of the Hill: Softball Leg Drive Product Review

Increase pitching velocity, reduce arm stress, shorten the hitter’s reaction time… all by more effectively using leg drive!

But how?

When I give pitching lessons to young pitchers including 8-year-olds or 10-year-olds or even some 12-year-olds it is not always easy to simplify certain parts of the explosive pitching motion into words that young pitchers easily grasp, and I would say that one of the concepts that is the hardest to translate for students is the idea that a lot of pitching speed comes from using their lower half, their legs.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said the phrase “drive out, don’t step out”, but when I look down at their young faces, I can tell in their eyes that they don’t fully understand what I’m saying. And I know for sure as with most other technical learning opportunities for athletes that when they feel it,  they understand it. What I mean is: I can say to a youth pitcher, again and again, to “use your legs”, “use your legs”, “use your legs”, but until they feel what I’m trying to communicate they usually don’t actually understand how to do it correctly. Continue reading “Queen of the Hill: Softball Leg Drive Product Review”