Since 1986, I have instructed over 8000 different students in clinics, camps, and classes. You might ask what credentials I posses to support this effort. First, I have pitched competitive men's fastpitch softball for over 15 years. Second, my work world includes both instructing at the college level and senior executive management. Both disciplines depend on breaking down the problem and reassembling it so that it can be taught in a consistent, understandable manner.
It wasn't long after I started coaching pitchers that I began to develop training aids. In 1996, "Pitching in the Fast Lane" was copyrighted. It was a training video dedicated to fundamentals of pitching. In 2002, "Pitching in the Fast Lane 2" was copyrighted. This second video was dedicated to drills, training devices and coaching techniques. The longer I teach the more convinced I am that training aids greatly improve the students ability to consistently employ correct movements. Ultimately, the students learn faster and tend to stay with their training better because they can more readily see improvement.
It has always been difficult to develop a linear pitching plane (line of force), and it is difficult to obtain a good balanced pitching platform. I have built carpeted walls, ramps, and even stand-in machines to help obtain consistent repetitive motions. The problem with all of these training tools is that they are expensive and not portable.
In 2003, a student brought in a towel with a hackee sack inside it. They had seen someone spinning it to warm up for pitching and possibly help with their pitching training. My passion for training aids took over and I created a design which I visually conveyed to my student's parent. I asked if he could build a few prototypes within my detailed specifications. He brought back five prototypes, from which I chose the one that matched my request. From that original design we created maybe ten additional prototypes which addressed two issues: end weight and construction integrity. My students and I tested each unit with thousands of spins and arrived at the 10 inch long and approximately 20oz model with a rope safety strap. This represented the lightest and most responsive of the lineage.
My business partner and I then went our separate ways with him choosing to go on with the original model and me choosing to upgrade to a lighter, more responsive model called the Second Generation. The new Second Generation weighs approximately twelve ounces and is 8 inches long. The safety harness is now a light weight, flexible strap that is responsive enough for both the user and coach to determine where flaws exist in the spinning motion. For further discussion, please visit our Why Lighter is Better page.
Softball Oregon is now in the process of adding several new training aids to help further our young people in both softball and baseball. See What's New!