Pocket Radar Ball Coach vs Smart Coach – A Comparison
Improving pitching skills is hardly possible without a continuous and precise insight into throwing performance.
Of course, experienced coaches and scouts can get a pretty good feel for how hard someone is throwing just by watching a pitcher during warmups or games.
Still, eyes, as we all know, can be very deceiving and even the minor differences in ball speed matter a great deal.
Understandably, pitching velocity is probably the single-most monitored element of a pitcher’s performance.
No matter the age, it’s the one skill that most often increases the odds of success. However, accurately judging the ball speed is practically impossible without the help of technology.
For years, radar guns have been an invaluable instrument in every coach’s arsenal. Especially with the development of smaller, portable devices.
Below, I’ll look at two of the most popular instruments of this kind and compare Pocket Radar Ball Coach vs Smart Coach.Table could not be displayed.
Table of Contents
Pocket Radar – Ball Coach Review
Ball Coach is the basic and the most affordable model from one of the most reputable manufacturers in the industry,
Pocket Radar, Inc. Still, in a small package, it delivers more than enough to make itself an indispensable training tool for smart player development even at a pro level.
Although mainly intended for baseball and softball, it’s versatile enough to be used for ball speed tracking in a number of other sports, including tennis, lacrosse, volleyball, hockey, and cricket.
Not much bigger than a mobile phone, the No products found. weighs only 4.5 ounces with batteries and its dimensions are 2.3 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches.
So, more than small enough to fit in your pocket. It can measure ball speeds going from 25 mph all the way to 130 mph.
Precise speed detection and measurement are possible within a range of up to 120 feet, which is more than enough for normal practice or game conditions.
For larger objects, such as volleyball, the range is even greater, increasing to 150 feet.
With one set of two AAA alkaline batteries, the Ball Coach can provide over 2,000-speed readings if using the user-triggered mode, or a bit over 1 hour in the Constant-On mode.
If you use AAA NiMH batteries, the battery life doubles.
The Ball Coach makes the most of its hands-free ability.
Easily fitted into any classic mobile phone tripod, so you can just set it up, press the button, and focus on the coaching when in the Constant-On mode.
In triggering mode, you have to hold the button and release it once you get the speed result on display.
To save battery, the device turns off after 30 seconds after manually triggering it, or after 5 idle minutes in Constant-On mode.
The speed readings are accurate and consistent, with a +/-1 mph margin of error.
Nevertheless, you may struggle to get the correct speed measurement if standing at an angle, to the left or the right of the direct ball path.
Another handy feature is storing and recalling the previous 25 recordings.
However, the device is not compatible with the smartphone app, so you’ll have limited analysis capability.
Pros and Cons of Pocket Radar Ball Coach Radar Gun
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- Stores last 25 readings
- Portable and hands-free
- Fits into a smartphone tripod
- Accurate and consistent speed detection
- Versatile can be used in sports other than baseball
- Doesn’t work very well at an angle
- No connectivity to an external display
- Not compatible with the Pocket Radar app
Pocket Radar – Smart Coach Review
Smart Coach is the updated and improved version of Pocket Radar’s Ball Coach radar gun, and, as such, it brings some advanced features not available with the previous model.
Of course, less tech-savvy coaches can still use it as a stand-alone device, just like its predecessor.
But, it would be a shame not to use all the extra stuff offered by this version of Pocket Radar’s flagship model.
While advanced functions are what sets Smart Coach apart from the Ball Coach, the basic features are rather similar.
The size and the weight are the same, as are the 120-feet range and +/1 mph accuracy. The range of speed it’s able to measure also doesn’t differ from the earlier mode, 25 to 130 mph.
On the other hand, battery life is somewhat shorter than with Ball Coach.
The main advantage of the No products found. is its Bluetooth connectivity which makes it compatible with the Pocket Radar app and opens the door to numerous possibilities for recording and analyzing pitches.
First of all, the app connectivity allows you to capture the video of every pitch, with the speed of the ball embedded.
This allows coaches to, besides speed also analyze hand motion and pitching technique.
Each video is added to the history from where it can be easily accessed. Plus, you can share the videos on social media,
In addition, Smart Coach brings the possibility to export data to .csv files for further analysis.
Blue tooth connectivity also allows you to remotely control the radar gun.
You can also connect the radar gun to Pocket Radar’s Smart Display, which provides read-out in large numbers, visible from 100 feet away.
Pros and Cons of Pocket Radar Smart Coach Radar Gun
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- Captures video
- Remote control via app
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Connects to the external Smart Display
- Compatible with the Pocket Radar app
- More expensive than the Ball Coach radar gun
- Requires some tech competence to make the most of the extra features
Pocket Radar Ball Coach vs Smart Coach – Comparison
As they’re a part of the same product line, comparing Pocket Radar Ball Coach vs Smart Coach reveals that they are in many ways similar and based on the same speed speed-measuring philosophy.
They’re of the same size (2.3 x 4.7 x 0.8 inches) and weight (4.5 ounces) and feature the same compact design.
Also, both models are able to measure speeds between 25 and 130 miles per hour at a range of up to 120 feet.
The memory storage on the device itself is also the same, and it can store the previous 25 recordings.
The two models also share some downsides. Each lacks the typical barrel of some of the more expensive devices.
This affects the distance, meaning that with the 120-feet range, you’ll hardly be able to record ball speed while sitting in the stands.
Perhaps more importantly, this impacts the ability to properly measure ball velocity at an angle.
Most of the differences between the two devices stem from the fact that Smart Coach, unlike Ball Coach, features Bluetooth connectivity.
This means that Smart Coach can be connected to the Pocket Radar app which unlocks a series of additional features.
These include video capturing with embedded speeds, remote control via app, advanced analysis tools, and sharing the results.
The app also allows coaches working with Smart Coach to store unlimited recordings on the cloud. Also, Smart Coach can be connected to the Smart Display.
Another significant difference is the battery life, which is somewhat longer with Ball Coach.
When using Alkaline batteries, the Smart Coach radar gun will provide around 1,500 readings, while with NiMH rechargeable batteries the number increases to about 3,000. Ball Coach offers around 30% longer battery life.
Finally, extra features also mean that the Smart Coach is around $100 more expensive.Table could not be displayed.
Small, incremental improvements in the throwing velocity of a certain pitcher are very important when it comes to evaluating the development of pitching skills.
Based on those small improvements (or regression), coaches can adjust their training regimes to suit particular pitchers and help them maximize their talent and produce optimal performances.
So, accurate information on ball speed is invaluable in player development.
While there are several gun radars on the market offering that kind of accuracy, hardly any of them can match Pocket Radar’s Ball Coach and Smart Coach when it comes to convenience and ease of use.
Each of them delivers state-of-the-art speed-measuring tech packed in small, handheld devices.
Which one of these two may be right for you will mainly depend on your training requirements and conditions, budget, and, ultimately, personal preference.