There was a time when newfangled high tech devices for sports training were exclusively for teams and organizations with large budgets.
Nowadays, in an age where everyone seems to have a smartphone, these sports devices are much more accessible, and they’re quite portable like smartphones too.
So it’s not a surprise that more and more coaches and players are using a softball radar gun for practice and training.
If you’re in a rush…
Read below about how to pick the right softball radar gun. Which radar guns will work best for you? Here are our top candidates:
Pocket Radar Ball Coach / Pro-Level Speed Training Tool and Radar Gun
This is the more advanced version of the Pocket Radar Ball Coach, in case the “Pro Level” term in the name didn’t clue you in.
It has a midlevel price, as it costs about three times as much as the more economical models.
On the other hand, the really premium models cost 3 times as much as this one.
Pros of the Pocket Radar
- This looks like some sort of smartphone with a large digital display. So it’s easy to carry around and you can just put them in your pocket when you’re not using it. It only weighs around 4.5 ounces, and that’s with the batteries included.
- It’s accurate enough that it will give you a speed reading within 1 mph of the real speed. The speed range is from 215 to 130 mph.
- It’s also quite consistent. On tests with police radar guns and expensive professional models, it gives the same reading about 90% of the time.
- The range for detecting the speed of the ball is about 120 feet.
- It can record up to 25 of the last speeds measured. So you don’t have to jot things down. You can clear the memory at any time.
- This can work with a tripod, so that your hands are free. With a tripod you can use the Constant-On mode, though of course there’s also the option to trigger its use.
- You can change the units from mph to kph.
- With AAA alkaline batteries which are also included with the purchase, you can last for 1 hour of constant-on mode or 2,000 readings in trigger mode. With rechargeable NiMH batteries, this goes to 2 hours or 4,000 readings.
- You can just push a button to shut it down immediately to conserve the batteries. It also shuts down automatically after 30 seconds of non-use in trigger mode, and after 5 minutes of no readings in constant-on mode.
- The purchase also comes with a wrist strap and a belt holster case.
While it’s not exactly prohibitively expensive, it isn’t cheap either.
Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun
Now this is much more affordable since the price is in the 2-digit range.
This is what you can get if you don’t need advanced features.
Pros of the Bushnell
- It’s designed like the prototypical radar gun. You just aim it, pull the trigger, and read the speed on the display.
- It only measures 19 ounces.
- The range is about from 10 feet to 90 feet for softballs (along with baseballs and tennis balls) with speeds ranging from 10 to 110 mph. But you can use this on a motor racetrack as it can monitor cars from up to 1,500 feet away with speeds ranging from 10 to 200 mph.
- The accuracy is within 1 mph. You just need to make sure you’re at the centerline.
- You only need 2 C batteries, and these will give you about 700 readings.
- It’s very affordable.
- There’s no easy way to carry this on you when you’re not using it.
- You don’t get the advanced features like tripod use and constant on, auto shutdown, and memory readings.
The Jugs Gun
What if you have a really large budget for your fastball softball team?
If that’s the case, then you may be able to afford this extremely advanced radar gun.
The price goes into the 4-digit territory, but then the quality of the data and the ease of use you’ll get will be outstanding.
Pros of the Jugs Gun
- This is designed like a standard radar gun but the handle has a flat bottom so you can stand it on its own. So you don’t need a tripod if you have a place to put it for hands-free use.
- This comes with a trigger mode and a continuous mode.
- When you’re tracking pitching speeds, you can get a reading at the release point and another reading when the ball hits the plate.
- The accuracy is within 0.5 mph.
- The range is up to 300 feet, and it can track speeds from 5 to 140 mph. the readings can be in both mph and kph.
- The pitch recall allows you to save and view the last 5 readings.
- It has a data port so you can transmit the data to a PC.
- This uses 6 rechargeable NiMH batteries. That’s enough to last an entire week of normal daily use. Recharging these batteries also only takes 2 hours.
That price—it may seem like only pros or teams for rich neighborhoods can afford this radar gun.
Net Playz Personal Sports Radar
Now this is for a pitcher who wants to use a really affordable radar gun to see how fast they’re pitching.
This is the cheapest radar gun on this list, though it offers a lot of benefits.
Pros of the Playz
- It’s large enough so that you can read the readings at a distance.
- It also has voice notifications.
- It comes with its own stand, and it can function automatically.
- Since it’s for personal use, the 29.5-foot range is adequate.
- It’s very durable with its rubber construction.
- It’s not always accurate.
- It uses 5 AAA batteries, and you have to buy them separately.
Pocket Radar Classic Model / All Purpose Pocket Radar Gun
Now if the more advanced Pocket Radar model is too rich for you, you can save an extra hundred bucks with this one.
It does offer several nice features even with the lower price.
Pros of the Classic
- It’s the size of a small smartphone, so it’s very portable. It only weighs 4.5 ounces.
- This can be used to track the speeds of a car or of a person with speeds ranging from 7 to 375 mph. The speed can be in mph, kph, feet per second, or meters per second.
- The range is 200 feet if you’re tracking a person. If you’re tracking a car, it’s half a mile.
- It’s quite accurate to within 1 mph.
- It uses 2 AA batteries, and this set can last for up to 10,000 readings.
- It can save 10 previous readings.
- It automatically shuts down after 30 seconds of inactivity.
It doesn’t track sports balls! This rather limits its use for softball pitching and hitting.
Video: How can radar be used as a valuable tool for training and monitoring fatigue?
Why Use a Softball Radar Gun?
For youth softball leagues, player development encompasses many facets. Players need to practice team work and disciple, while they also need to improve their strength and mechanics.
Even for pitchers, it’s not all about pitching speed either. Pitchers need to learn about proper control and location.
They also have to deal with the mental aspects of the game, including dealing with anxiety and frustration.
However, it is also a fact that pitching speed in softball isn’t irrelevant especially when it comes to the higher levels of fastpitch softball.
Knowing the speed of the pitch isn’t just for bragging rights either.
A coach can then have a pitcher do drills and practice to improve, and this radar gun can show for a fact if these drills are actually working in helping the pitcher throw harder and faster.
However, a radar gun for softball isn’t just for the exclusive use of pitchers. These devices can also be used to evaluate and help improve the performance of hitters as well.
The radar gun can measure the exit velocity of the batted ball, and this can indicate just how well a batter is making good contact with the ball.
A coach can help a player develop better hitting mechanics and weight distribution, and improvements in the exit ball velocity can tell if the drills are effective.
A radar gun is so versatile that it can even help with improving base stealing.
How to Pick a Radar Gun for Softball
Here are some factors that should be considered before you make your purchase:
Portability and ease of use. Most of the time if you’re the coach, you’re going to have to hold the radar gun to use it.
So it should be easy to carry around and the controls shouldn’t be all that complicated.
However, some models may be used with a tripod though you may have to buy the tripod separately.
Distance. Some advanced models are able to measure speeds even when the user is far away from the action.
But most of the time, this is only for scouts and tennis coaches who are watching from a great distance away.
For softball when you’re a coach, you’re probably going to stand right behind home plate during practice and in the dugout during a game.
Accuracy. Usually the rule is that the more expensive devices will be more accurate. You’ll want something that’s reasonably accurate, or else the radar gun isn’t really of much use.
Battery usage. Hopefully it doesn’t require hard-to-find batteries that need replacement too frequently. That can drain your budget.
Cost. Price always matter, especially for training equipment for softball. Not everyone can afford expensive high tech equipment.
You should pay attention to these factors when you read softball radar gun reviews.
Conclusion Based on These Softball radar gun reviews
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of options if you’re looking for a softball radar gun.
Find the device that matches your needs and budget, and discover how such a small thing can result in huge improvements in player softball performance!