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56 West Main St.
Norwich, NY 13815

Quarterly Strike Newsletter Volume 17

ACTUAL E-Mail...
I thought might be good to start off this newsletter

Subject: Wow
Sent: 02/23 9:35 PM
Received: 02/23 10:00 PM
To: mody,

Hi Tom,

i can't believe the response I have gotten. Have heard from 4 more tourneys today and a couple of small events yesterday. i am telling people I am getting a huge response and they are all going to get back to me within the week. I also have gotten two board members to verify that i am a good guy. One is from a huge league in Philly and one is from a league here in NJ.

By the way the guy down in Philly has told me he wants me for their two big tourneys one at Labor Day about 180-200 teams and there really big one over Thanksgiving 250-300 teams.

Oh ya one other thing, I talked to my college soccer coach and wants me to go to South Dakota and maybe do this in the fall. Thats where I went to college and was a pretty good soccer player (all conference 2 years) Jeez i just might do it.



Contemplation or Procrastination

Too Much Thought... Not Enough Action!

This years group of new owners seem to be as enthusiastic as ever in getting their business plans and ideas together to run their speed pitching business as professional as possible.

Great.... but when does all that thought become procrastination. Many of of my phone conversations with prospective owners end with me telling them to take their time, be sure they have exhausted all their questions on me because I want them to be comfortable with their final decision. However, I would like to take this written opportunity to make a general refocus of where comforts and discomforts should be directed.

There seems to be some concern about getting together the proper written promotional materials before you make contact with events. Of course, put together the best presentation you can and in fact, I offer some services in helping you do that but you should never hold off generating business because you don't have these items. I would say that 80% of my events I set up strictly by phone only. If your phone conversations conclude by offering to send info for review rather than booking the date you're relying too much on promo materials. If you send promo materials to make initial contact then you may actually be making booking the event harder than it needs to be. I hate to say it but I didn't build my business on planning, I just did it.

I'm not being hypocritical either because I've done a few articles on proper planning. There's only one thing that makes the business work, It's not business cards or letter head or yellow page listings. It's going to good events.

Which brings me to pre- purchase event prospecting. And I highly recommend this to help ease your comfort in buying. It only makes sense to try and set up events in advance of making a decision to own a system. However, the longer you plan the more you miss. I may have mentioned in previous articles that I waited 6 months to decide to start this business. At the time the only application I considered was mall sports card shows. I had one promoter who did maybe 12 a year and that's all I expected to get out of this so I held off until I absolutely had to make a decision that I would attend the shows. After it went well the first few shows I began to see a bigger circuit of potential events but I also would hear from other dealers about how great shows from the past year had been. Since this was at the peak of the sports card show phenomenon, I really did lose a ton of money.

And I can't tell you how many phone calls I've had with prospects that started with "I wish I knew about this 6 months ago". Well let me tell you, until you get out and start doing events, you really don't know what you're missing because the other vendors will be glad to tell you what you've missed.

Positions Please.

Just Some Quick Outlines On Proper Set-Up & Placements.

Radar Gun Alignment:
I got a call from an owner (sorry to pick on you Lloyd!) that he was getting complaints from customers who felt the speeds were slow. Classic case of off angle timing here. The gun must always be positioned directly behind the thrower aimed directly at the target. If you are sitting off to either side of the cage or like some carnival set-ups, have your gun mounted to the side posts, speeds will be slowly inaccurate. The ball must travel in line with the beam of the gun. Now I do make minor adjustments at times depending on the throwing hand of a customer. I may move a foot to the right or left to align myself with their throwing hand. With lefties in particular, you'll notice when you make this adjustment they tend to pick up a few more MPH on their speed. Makes them happy and makes you look like you know what you are doing.

Radar Gun Height:
Obviously the release point of a baseball and soccer ball are radically different... unless you have one leg and one arm at each extremity. Timing can be affected since the object must travel up or down to reach target center. By keeping the legs of the tripod unextended you can quickly raise or lower the tripod by extending or lowering the neck pole. Of course adjusted high for baseball and low for soccer. If you are dealing with a similar age group of kids I try to find a median height at about waist level. This should give a fair reading for both sports.

Radar Gun & Thrower Place Distance:
How far back from the front of the cage should the thrower and timer be placed. Well, placing the gun first can sometimes create the boundaries for which the thrower can stand. Accurate releases must always be in front of the gun. Anywhere from 5 to 10 feet from the front of the cage is good for placing the gun. Soccer always requires extra running room for the kicker so it's more likely to need the 10 feet. Ball placement for soccer should be just a few feet from the cage front since shanks are much more possible. The kicker may stand as far as 15 feet back but the ball contact point would be up close as specified. Baseball throwers with good coordination can probably have a release point of up to 5 feet behind cage front although any distance back from the cage front increases the chances of a bad release missing the cage. Throwers, although less common, will take a running start and you must be very direct in telling them where to release the ball. Little children, hyper teens and many girls tend to have a jerky motion and release the ball without proper follow through. Many times the ball is released while at the top of their motion and the ball goes into the upper section of the cage. If they are standing too far back the ball can go over the entire cage...Ouch! That's not good!!!

You can tend to spot these characteristics in any person and you will learn by simple body language which players are coordinated and which are not. If anyone looks suspiciously uncoordinated, get them up front on first pitch then give them some breathing room there after. In fact, that's a good policy for all first time throwers.

Displays & Signage:
Large readout displays are tricky. They come with 20 foot cables so unless you order other lengths you have only 20 feet to work with. The length isn't usually a problem to have the display placed off to the side of the cage but there may not be enough slack to prevent an accident if someone trips on the cable. Thus, you may want to keep the display on a stand within 10 feet of you. With the proper length, some people mount them on the side of the cage but be sure it's on the outside not inside of the cage to prevent it from being struck by a ball. Common placement would be on any display rack you have for prizes or speed list boards. These racks I usually place on the right side of the cage since most players throw right handed coming in from the left side of the cage. Place at about 5 feet forward and 3 feet to the right of the right front pole. This allows you to create a bit of a barrier in keeping people from walking in front of the cage.

Getting Goofy With James T. Kirk

...and other odd ways to draw attention to your booth

Throughout my first dozen shows I had a large full size stand-up of Captain Kirk right next to my booth with a sign that said "Captain Kirk Wants to See How Fast You Can Pitch". Now-a-days a large read out display will create the same interest but it's surprising how many people keep asking me where he is. Some times little odd things can give you a sense of identity and even make things more fun. here are a few suggestions to liven things up.

Sound Effects: This could be as simple as a Jam box playing music or atmospheric recordings of player, fan and umpire chatter. Or how about tuning in a game on the radio. More advanced ideas could be interactive. Sony makes a mini disc recorder which allows you to record music or any audio blurbs to a small disc. A TV type remote lets you call up and play selections you want at any moment. There are also some devices called samplers which store digital sounds on keypads. Once a key is pressed they play back instantly. These items could hook up to some speakers and the booth could be interactive. They cost around $350. Imagine the speakers yelling out "strike" or "correct guess" or even being a bit obnoxious like "Try Again Wimp" They could also be programmed to help solicit passing event-goers

Video Effects: TV and VCR combo players could be set up on a stand to play any selection of baseball related themes. Anytime you get someone to stop at your booth for any reason you have a good chance of getting them to try it. Of course you could also custom make tapes with booth presentation or solicitation info. I also use to have an electronic scrolling sign that I could program to give my booths general information. This also worked well in attracting people.

News & Notes

Recreational Resources also gave us a nice large press release so thanks to them for that.

There's a new radar gun in town called the Solo Plus. It's a mid priced gun that will work with the golf distance option. Now owners that want this feature can save some bucks by not having to purchase system 3 components.