Balance Training Bat transforms hitting home runs into a science

Baseball can be a fun activity for kids that gets them off of their gadgets and out of the house. As a bonus, it provides them with a bit of exercise to help them stay healthy. But it’s frustrating when players seem to strike out more than they actually hit the ball. So Balance Training Bat is designed to help them with their batting skills. There are five different models of the bat, and each model scales up to cater to the player using the bat, from little league to adults. The bat is game-ready, taking the physics of how much weight is needed on the backend of the bat to counter the bat barrel so that batters learn good technique that allows them to hit the ball more consistently.

As any sports training device goes, it’s unclear whether this will really prepare batters for the big game. However, if it really can deliver, baseball players will rejoice at such a training tool that involves more than just hours of hitting balls the same way. Backers looking to improve their swing may also want to check out LoadUp Pro. This campaign seeks to raise $10,000. For $80, backers get one Balance Training Bat with an expected delivery of February 2015.


LoadUp Pro gets physical to produce tight baseball bat swings

All sports demand tight, consistent form, which takes a whole lot of time and practice to properly master. A big problem when learning these techniques is that it’s hard to know when you’re not doing it right. This means leading some down the wrong path and forcing them to correct themselves when someone clues them in on their mistakes.

The folks at LoadUp Pro think that time would be better spent learning correctly from the get go. They’ve built their batting aid to teach players how to correctly load up power and swing while still keeping balance. The Pro does this with two bars that work in tandem to create physical cues to teach, improve, or refine form, eventually leading to improved muscle memory and an overall better swing. The company’s approach is novel as it shies away from a sensor-centric design like the Zepp which forces players to analyze their swing after the fact. In contrast, the LoadUp Pro offers instant feedback the same way the Jump Shot Pro does for basketball — an invaluable trait in the sports world. The LoadUp Pro can be had for $75 with an estimated delivery date of January 2015. The campaign is looking to raise $5,000 for success.


Deftown protective baseball cap protects noggins without nerdiness

7fef7aea27e64c812696c95eeb5cabd2_largeA huge danger for any pitcher is the possibility of being hit with a line drive. Although the chance is low, the possible consequences are dangerous enough that considerations must be made when it comes to protection. The Deftown Baseball Cap by inventor Dennis Kuhnel is filling that gap. It’s slimmer and more effective than current protections, traits the inventor hopes will earn him MLB and NOSCAE certifications. Baseball enthusiasts will love the extra protection without the extra weight. For $35, interested backers get a cap, with the inventor hoping to garner support enough to raise $45,000 by October 20, 2014.


Live Lids caps off your game with a screen to display logos

The Premise. Over the last 100 years, the baseball cap has become an icon. From its humble origins on the diamond to its current place in almost every facet of popular culture, its countless iterations have proven its staying power. Unlike most other classics that eventually adapt to a new era, there aren’t very many examples of a hi-tech baseball cap.

The Product. Live Lids is swinging for a home run with its modern take on the classic cap. Its version flaunts an embedded 2.8 inch LCD screen on the front panel. Although the screen can display any image, the company is banking on the wide variety of athletes and team logos available thanks to deals struck with the MLB, the NBA, and the NFL. These images can be downloaded online from Live Lids’ own Web site for a reasonable 69 cents each and synced to the cap the using CapSync software. The hat holds up to 100 images which can be displayed one at a time or as a slideshow for up to 11 hours on a full charge.

The underside of the brim looks more like the sides of an MP3 player, including a microUSB port for transferring and charging duties sit opposite controls to turn the product on or off, move to the next image, toggle hat modes, or explore files.

The Pitch. Live Lids’ campaign page is chock full of information, high quality photos modeling some of the many cap combinations, and a few videos. Understandably, the videos are all about the fashion appeal and show off the product’s LCD screen in all its slideshow glory. Live Lids is seeking an influx of $50,000 from the Kickstarter community to begin mass production.

The Perks. $75 nabs you a Live Lids cap while $99 gets you one with personalized stitching, which is at most $44 cheaper than the listed price on Live Lids’ Web site. Bigger pledges  offer you the opportunity to buy up to 10 Live Lids caps with a discount.

The Potential. Live Lids injects some modern flair into a sports staple, but perhaps not quite modern enough. Bluetooth support would allow updating the hat on the fly, which could be a great way to honor an athlete who just made a great play — that is, if you can see it. LCDs are notoriously tough to see in the kind of sunshine that ideally accompanies a baseball game. On the other hand, it could be distracting at indoor sports such as baseball and basketball.

While it’s great that Live Lids is seeking officially licensed logos and other graphics, community-generated content could also be fun to display. The product embodies some good ideas, but needs better connectivity and display technology.

Kids/Babies Sports

Lightning Stick on holey quest to quicken batter swings

Lightening Stick cfcf6246370cfbb09182551cda5717a8_large[1]Just in time for the approach of spring training, the Lightning Stick training tool is anticipated to be a home run with little sluggers, sluggettes and their coaches. Brooklyn-rased, LA-based inventor Joe Magno uses seven videos to explain how the lightweight, polycarbonate material and overall design aims to help players with the development of fast twitch muscle fiber within their body. That feature, combined with a knocking knuckle grip and flat surface, all work together to promote palm up/palm down swings and teach the batter to get all the way through the ball quickly and keep their hands inside. For a pledge of $40, backers get one Lightning Stick, which is estimated to run about $59 once it goes mainstream. Expected delivery is April 2014.