ODESSA – Bryan LeBlanc is a natural inventor with a love for baseball.
As a pitcher, he wondered why he would walk through sporting good stores and see plenty of batting tees and batting instructional tools – almost all the baseball supplies were about hitting.
So LeBlanc’s creative mind started working – If there are batting tees, he thought, why not pitching tees?
Thus was born the Pitcher’s Tee. It’s a simple way of teaching proper pitching mechanics, everything from balance to developing a consistent pitching delivery. He’s surprised no one came up with the idea before, but he has a patent pending on his new product and is excited about the future.
The idea is simple. He has a baseball attached to a small rope. The pitcher fires the ball toward a small table device where the top looks like a xylophone. There are five high-density foam strips and the one that drops when hit by the rope trailing the ball shows how accurate the actual pitch would be. It is simple, folds up for easy portability, and gets the word across as well as any expensive personal pitch coach.
LeBlanc created his invention in December and was demonstrating it at the recent Keystone Little League opening night ceremony. His son, Carter, 8, is a pitcher in the league and works with the tee regularly.
“The rope makes a snapping sound,” LeBlanc said. “It leads the ball to a target and the kids seem to enjoy it. They love the snapping sound. They are learning things they usually wouldn’t learn until they are 15 or so.”
LeBlanc said he’s gotten a lot of positive feedback from parents and coaches. With a degree in mechanical engineering, LeBlanc said he grew up wanting to change the world. He’s always been a person with plenty of ideas, but pitching was a passion. His pitching career ended in college, but he’s a fixture at Radice Park where the Keystone teams practice and he said he wants to make this work.
Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Kevin Mulholland was the first person to buy the Pitcher’s Tee and several minor league ballplayers have worked with it. For now, LeBlanc is just trying to teach the fastball and the change-up although two kids asked him at the Opening Night festival if they could learn the slider.
“Maybe just a little too young,” LeBlanc said.
The key to pitching is balance and stride, LeBlanc said. If the ball doesn’t hit its Pitcher’s Tee target the right way, the pitcher has to adjust and find a way to make sure the delivery is consistent.
For now, LeBlanc is relying on Twitter and Facebook, as well as word of mouth, to get the word out, but he’s convinced that the Pitcher’s Tee is only the first step. He is looking at ways to help in other sports.
For more on The Pitcher’s Tee, check www.pitcherstee.com or call (813) 920-2432.