Pocket Radar Review
One of the things I’ve recently wanted to have in my equipment bag as a baseball coach was a radar gun. This desire grew bigger as my oldest son started high school ball. I began to wonder if he had the velocity to be a respectable pitcher.
Last year one of my younger pitchers recalled a funny moment when he came in to pitch in relief. As he began his warmups on the mound, the opposing coach yelled to his players, “That pitcher is just fooling you! There’s no way he throws that slow! He’s trying to lull you into a false sense of confidence! Be ready when you step in the box!”
- Automatically finds the fastest speed of a ball or puck for baseball, softball, tennis, volleyball, lacrosse, hockey and cricket
- Powerful features include automatic hands-free Constant-On Mode (not the radar gun), easy automatic triggering (simply hold button down and release) and built-in memory with the previous 25 speeds (keep track and review)
- Increase hitting power to turn singles into extra-base hits and dial-in pitch speeds to disrupt timing and keep hitters off balance
- Visible progress builds trust and confidence in training programs, which leads to higher motivation
- Specifically designed to measure the fastest speed of a ball in flight
Of course, my pitcher wasn’t pitching slow on purpose; that’s how he normally pitches.
He got the opposing team out—not because he blew pitches past the opposing batters but probably because the other side wasn’t used to facing such slow pitching. Lol.
So now I was curious: just how slow is he? While I’m wondering, how fast/slow do my other boys’ pitch? How fast is the fastest pitcher on my boys’ teams? And how fast is the fastest pitcheron the opposing teams?
Radar Gun Shopping
I started watching Stalker Sports II radar guns on eBay because the new ones were too pricey at $500. I was hoping to find someone trying to unload their gun used for maybe $300. On occasion, there would indeed be an auction at that price, but then other bidders would come in and inevitably drive the price up to $450.
So I thought I would never get a gun at the price point I was going to feel comfortable.
Then along comes the Pocket Radar, Ball Coach model.
To clarify: “Pocket Radar” is the company and “Ball Coach” is the model…kinda like “Toyota” is the company/make and “Sienna” is the model. Pocket Radar makes other radar guns, but the Ball Coach has a design specifically for sports use. But if you want to call the Ball Coach “Pocket Radar,” the Name Police aren’t going to come after you. Call it whatever you like. In this article, I’ll use both “Pocket Radar” and “Ball Coach” to mean the same thing too.
Pocket Radar Pros
1) Size convenience
The Ball Coach is not the shape like a traditional radar gun. It has a shape like a smartphone (circa iPhone 3, not iPhone X).
That may turn off purists who want the thing to look like a traditional radar gun. But once you start using the Ball Coach, you’ll never want to go back to the bulk of a traditional radar gun.
The small size makes it easy to fit in your pocket so you can take it anywhere. And at only 4.5 ounces (~the weight of a quarter pound burger), you could keep it in its protective case, throw it in your equipment bag and not feel any weight difference.
2) Genuine accuracy
Ball Coach in practice doesn’t let the convenient size fool you into thinking the Ball Coach is a toy. It is just as accurate as those more expensive Stalker guns.
I tried a smartphone app that relied on math calculations to estimate speeds based on when you tap start & stop—now THAT was a toy. The Pocket Radar uses actual radar technology just like $1500 Stalker guns. The Pocket Radar is no toy.
3) Continuous on feature
You can get hands-free readings by mounting the Ball Coach on a flexible tripod like this, mount the tripod onto a backstop or fence and turning on the “Continuous On” feature.
Using this feature does drain the batteries (2 AAA) a little faster than not using the “Continuous On” feature, but it can be a helpful feature when you need it. For example, you may want to take notes while recording readings onto a notebook and this feature can let you focus on writing instead of holding the Ball Coach to take the reading, then putting the Ball Coach down to write down notes and repeating over and over.
4) Memory feature
It stores the last 25 readings in its memory for you to scroll through. Pretty convenient if you want, say, your kid to throw five pitches uninterrupted, where you can read the readings afterward.
At 60% of the cost of the cheapest Stalker gun, the $300 price point makes the Pocket Radar more accessible to the casual coach. You don’t have to be a college coach or scout anymore to have a radar gun. I’m not saying all casual coaches can afford $300, but it’s sure more palatable to spend $300 than $500 on a gun.
Pocket Radar Cons
Honestly, I can’t think of a single one. I wish it were cheaper even than $300, but that’s kind of like saying “I wish Nike shoes were only ten bucks!”
Pocket Radar Most Common Uses:
- know what your kid’s pitching velocity is right now, even when there’s snow on the ground
- know what your kid’s batting exit velocity is right now
- objectively determine if your own kid’s training/drills are working right now is s/he pitching and hitting faster, or the same (or…gasp…slower) if you make a specific tweak right there on the field
- objectively determine if your own kid’s training/drills are working overtime is s/he pitching and hitting faster, or the same (or…gasp…slower) after x number of weeks
- know what your team’s pitching velocities are right now
- know what your team’s batting exit velocities are right now
- use that knowledge as motivation for your kid or team to beat their previous fastest speed
- objectively determine (and chart) if your team’s players are improving or not—at an individual level!—after each pitch or swing
- objectively determine (and chart) if your team’s players are improving or not—at an individual level!—after x number of weeks
- know what your opposing team’s pitching velocities are right now
- Find out what your opposing team’s batting exit velocities are right now
- know what your team’s pitching velocities are right now
- get objective data to help decide what the best bat for your player(s) is
Pocket Radar Ball Coach – Conclusion
Deciding to buy the pocket radar ball coach is a no-brainer. If you can afford $300, I think this is one of the most useful tools you will use, whether as a baseball parent or as a team coach (or both). Not only is it useful but I think you will be using it at every practice, so you’ll get a lot of use out of it, unlike a lot of other coaching tools on the market.
Also, if you purchase through the Baseball Training Supplies affiliate link, at no extra cost to you, BTS will get a small amount from Pocket Radar that I use towards paying the expenses of this site. Buying through the affiliate link is like your way of saying ‘Thank you, for your unbiased recommendation of this product.