Measuring approximately 4x2x1 inches with a weight of 4.5 ounces, the Ball Coach radar from Pocket Radar Inc. is a simple, lightweight and efficient tool that can be used to record velocities during practice, camps, games and more:
OPERATION: The Ball Coach radar has a very simple layout, with two buttons on the whole interface. The larger blue button turns it on and engages the radar, and the smaller black button recalls previously recorded speeds and can toggle between standard and “Constant On” mode.
Usage is simple- just point the Ball Coach radar in line with what you want to record and hold down the blue button before the pitch is thrown or the ball is batted.
The speed of the ball in flight will register even if you don’t release the button, so there is no need to worry about timing anything perfectly.
Releasing the blue button will display the speed of the pitch for up to 30 seconds, and you can recall the last 25 recordings by pressing the black button.
BATTERY LIFE: The battery icon features four bars to indicate power level. It seems to go from all four bars down to (three, two and then) one bar pretty quickly, but lasts a long time with one bar left.
Two fresh AAA batteries worked for seven DI games, recording velocity for nearly every pitch, approximately 1,500 (on the conservative side) and 2,000+ (if you factor in exit speed velocities, which may be recorded just after pitching velocity when the ball was put in play) readings.
While it does not have an off switch, the Ball Coach radar will automatically shut itself off after 30 seconds.
You can activate Constant On by pressing the black button until “Con” appears on the screen. This mode is ideal if you are by yourself or in a camp setting where you need a standalone radar and your hands to write with, for example. This would obviously drain the batteries much quicker; the Quick Start Guide notes that a brand new pair of AAA batteries can last over an hour in Constant On mode, or over 2 hours with the rechargeable batteries.
In Constant On mode, velocities are displayed for three seconds before clearing themselves. You can get out of Constant On mode by pressing the black button again.
RANGE/ACCURACY: The Ball Coach radar Quick Start Guide notes that if you want to get the top speed right at the release point, you need to be within up to 120 feet away, but it will work from much farther away than that as long as you are in line with what you’re attempting to measure.
As with any radar gun, it is also very important to hold the Ball Coach radar straight up and down when measuring; a slight angle can disrupt the accuracy of the reading.
The Ball Coach radar is just as accurate as higher-priced radar guns (Stalker Pro II and Stalker Sport Solo II) on the market.
It is also very comparable to its aforementioned competition at a slight angle off center from the pitch. While it’s not an ideal way to record velocity regardless of the radar you’re using, coaches know this is sometimes a necessary evil due to bleachers full of parents or an inconveniently placed press box.
PRICE: Retails for $299.99, compared to Stalker Solo Sport II ($499), which uses 6 AA batteries, and Stalker Pro II ($1,199), which comes with a Li-Ion rechargeable battery.
For more information visit pocketradar.com
All three of the radar guns mentioned in this article were tested alongside one another for multiple games
Tested in cold and rainy conditions
Pocket Radar recommends that “low cost rechargeable NiMH AAA batteries will last twice as long as the Alkaline batteries”