Below is our Pocket Radar Ball Coach review which discusses many features and benefits as well as our comparison with the Stalker Sports 2 gun. We can claim, after 30 hours of use with the Pocket Radar Ball Coach on our hip and the Stalker Sports 2 gun in our hand, the Pocket Radar Ball Coach (Amazon Price Check) filled nearly every need we had, and for the majority of coaches, parents and players, this little gadget will serve their purposes with added ease and without the added bulk and batteries.
There are at least three features we appreciate from the Ball Coach Pocket Radar Gun.
First, and most noticeable if you’ve lugged around something like the Stalker Sports radar gun, the size of the Pocket Radar is fantastic. It fits easily into the belt holster case included with the device. It weighs only a few ounces—so light, in fact, we wondered if it would work at all—and can be easily carried to and from any sports park in the country without much notice. This is the complete opposite experience of dealing with any standard sized Radar gun from Stalker or Juggs or the like.
We have owned a Stalker Sports 2 gun for nearly three years now and no longer take it to many practices and games simply because it is so bulky to carry around. As a coach and parent whose hands are always full to and from the field, the Pocket Radar is the perfect size. It seriously fits in your pocket or with the case, clips on to your pants easily.
Second, it’s accurate when you stand directly in line with the ball flight. This means, if you have access directly behind the net or back stop, then you’ll get accurate readings—at least as accurate as the Stalker Sports 2 Gun is in that same direction. You can also get accurate readings, as we compared the Stalker Sports side by side to the Pocket Radar, by standing behind the thrower. We found these readings to be accurate up to at least 100 feet behind the ball flight. it could be even further, but we didn’t measure that distance as we’d never need it.
Third, the Pocket Radar uses two double A Batteries that, after a good 4 weeks of use on our end, are still going strong. The Stalker Sports 2 Gun uses 6 AA batteries that need replacing every few weeks (and sometimes sooner with heavy use).
During our robust testing, there were four deficiencies in the Pocket Radar, some of which could be deal breakers, though probably not for the average buyer looking at the device.
First, the Pocket Radar, unlike the Stalker Sports 2 Gun we used, does not work at angles (often referred to cosigns in the radar gun business). If your location is more than a few feet to the left or right of the direct ball path then it’s likely you’ll get lower speed readings. Mind you, you’ll still get reading, just lower and consistent readings than what is actually happening. Other more robust radar guns can be used at angles, but you must set your given angle to the ball flight in the settings.
If, for example, you are sitting in the dugout at a 15 degree angle on the line between the mound and plate, then the Stalker Sports gun could give you accurate absolute numbers as to the speed by simply changing the settings. If all you have is a Pocket Radar, then your readings will be lower than what is actually happening in absolute terms. However, it should be noted, in relative terms the Pocket Radar is accurate by way of comparison to other pitches from that same angle—but you can expect your number to be less than the absolute, or actual, speed. In other words, the claim the Pocket Radar is useless at angles isn’t accurate. It may not be able to give you an exact speed, but it can tell you if a pitcher has lost steam or how his speed compares to the next guy.
Second, the Pocket Radar doesn’t work at considerable distances. The Stalker Sports gun is rated up to a few hundred feet—which may be helpful if you’re in the stands or are scouting a player from distance. With our Stalker Sports gun we’ve even received some readings from dead center outfield over a pitcher’s shoulder to home plate. Any attempt with the Pocket Radar at these distances wouldn’t work at all as it isn’t rated to go much more than 100 feet from the ball path.
Third, the Pocket Radar struggled to pick up speeds at very short distances. We tested batted ball speeds off of a tee and into a net. We stood both behind the tee and behind the net. We found the Pocket Radar, in the couple of feet the ball traveled, struggled to give consistent readings on ball exit speed. The Stalker Sports 2, on the other hand, picked it up with a pretty good amount of accuracy—although it wasn’t perfect either.
Fourth, the Stalker Sports 2, as well as other classic styled radar guns, come with ports to output speed to a display. You cannot use the Pocket Radar for this purpose as there would be no way to port the data.
Simply put, if you are a scout or a coach who needs to track speeds at considerable distances under a number of different circumstances (hitting, pitching, base running, etc.) or need a radar gun which can use an external display, then the Pocket Radar will not be for you. Radar guns like the Stalker Sports or Juggs Gun may be for you. Those guns are robust with several options and accuracy you can count on.
If, on the other hand, you are a coach, player or parent who has access to an angle in the direct path of the ball during a game or practice—within about 100 feet—and you are looking for a way to gather speed tests on a number of different player attributes, then the Pocket Radar is a no brainier. It’s less expensive, less bulky and will be useful for you not only because you’ll be in a position to record speeds, but also because you won’t leave it in the truck deciding it’s too cumbersome to deal with.
For the right person, the Pocket Radar will be the best toy they ever bought.