About the Tracer Radar Gun
Sometimes "entry level" means inexpensive and sometimes it means cheap. The Rookie Tracer is the best I have seen of the entry level radar gun models (and believe me, there's some real junk out there).
The Tracer has a lightweight & durable case with easy to read numbers & many features of higher priced models.
I particularly like the continuous mode setting (it must be tripod mounted - we offer tripods if you need one) where it will store the last 10 pitches without my needing to pull the trigger each time. This eliminates the occasional operator-error and allows me to watch my pitcher from anywhere on the field.
The Rookie Tracer will also average the last 10 pitches. This gives coaches a real idea of a pitcher's efficiency and actis as a first clue when they are getting tired or changing their delivery.
Weighing just 0.8 pounds, the Tracer is easy to hold all game long. The battery life is the best in its class, and a low battery indicator means you won't lose power at the wrong time.
What the Tracer lacks are some bells and whistles of guns costing from $795 and up.but that is to be expected. For youth applications it's absolutely perfect. especially for the modest investment!
Distance and Range
Typically this radar gun will give you a 40-60 foot distance in which you can track the speed of softball. This refers to the distance between anywhere that the ball will travel between the pitcher and catcher. So, unless you are in a larger college or minor league ballpark, you will get consistent, accurate readings. Obviously, this is a non-issue for practice sessions, where I think the greater benefit and reason to own a radar gun is!
(If the Tracer does not fill your needs...please check out our pro line of Stalker Radar Guns!)
Catchers and Position Players
Arm strength is one of the 5 tools that scouts use to judge prospects. Shouldn't youth coaches want to know and track arm strength too? I recommend that you use your radar gun along with keeping a simple log book of your own player(s) and update it a few times each season. It is a great judge of growth and improved mechanics and lets a player know that good practice methods do pay off!