In 1998 I signed my first professional baseball contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. After pitching for six full seasons and almost 1000 innings with the Cards I threw my first pitch in the Major Leagues with the Kansas City Royals in 2005. I worked as a pitching instructor every off-season while I moved through all levels of the minor leagues. During that time I saw most pitching targets on the market were four sided boxes and the ones that weren’t, didn’t make sense to me.
RECOGNITION OF MARKET OPPORTUNITY
Most of the pitching instructors I came in contact with were catching their lessons or having them throw into a strikezone square. After I caught a few lessons without equipment I realized how difficult it was to give high quality instruction from 46-60 feet away. I heard instructors talking about mechanics and velocity often, but very little was said about pitch command, selection, and sequencing.
PROBLEMS AS A PLAYER
During my off-season workouts before Spring Training it wasn’t easy to find a throwing partner or capable catcher for bullpens and flat-ground work. When a catcher was available it was hard to communicate where the target should be and the sequences I needed to practice. I also wondered whether my command was getting better or worse and which areas of the zone I needed to focus on as Spring Training approached.
PROBLEMS AS AN INSTRUCTOR
As an instructor our facility didn't have a pitcher's target other than two batting tees set up on each corner of the plate with a net behind. I also needed a frame of reference to talk about zones inside and outside of the strike zone so terminology was simple and consistent. There wasn't any hard evidence I could use to show my pitcher's whether they were improving or not. I would encourage them to practice what they learned before the next session but they didn't have a target to practice with either.
PROBLEMS AS A COACH
My first year as the pitching coach of the Indiana University Southeast Grenadiers we rotated three freshman catchers. The kids were hard workers, but they didn't have the knowledge or experience of a veteran catcher when it came to calling pitches and giving a target. As the year began I taught the pitchers and catchers the Lokator® System so when I called pitches from the dugout I knew the target would be in the right place and my pitcher would be on the same page.
CORRECTING THE PROBLEMS
I understood that pitching was much more than mechanics, velocity, and executing a pitch in a strikezone square. So as my professional career began I started to gather and implement my own pitching experiences, instructional philosophies, and observations into a physical pitching target that eventually took shape as the Lokator®. After the Lokator® design had been patented I started work on the Lokator® Bullpen App to give all pitchers the opportunity learn pitch sequences, track results, and compete against other pitchers.
The Lokator® solves multiple problems I had as a player, instructor, and coach. I tested it in the field and it exceeded all of my expectations. After twenty years of research and development I finalized the complete design and materials needed to produce a long lasting durable product. Now I am making it available to you! Players, coaches, scouts, and parents will all be able to use and benefit from the Lokator® System and Bullpen App.