Ten-year-old Brady Miller couldn't hit the ball right.
So his dad, Rick Miller, made a training tool that gave him clues about how to swing the bat.
Two years later, the RBI Pro Swing is manufactured in Irving, packaged in Fort Worth and sold in sports stores across the country. It has become the full-time job of the 49-year-old Colleyville resident and the inspiration for his Fort Worth-based company, MSportsLLC. The company hopes to sell 1 million Pro Swings by 2013.
The Pro Swing looks like a long plastic cuff and slides onto the top half of a bat. If the player swings correctly, the tiny steel beads in the weighted plastic cuff make a quick "swish" noise.
"We had a great product, but we didn't have Nike on it or Rawlings on it," Miller said.
"But we've gotten to the point where we go out to the field, and people say 'Yeah, we saw that on a player's bat; we saw that on the Internet.' We are seeing the momentum build."
Miller is an avid Texas Rangers fan and coached both his sons in baseball. He previously worked for a manufacturing company but took a risk after inventing the Pro Swing and spent about $400,000 up front to make product molds, design a website, create promotional videos and hire the first few staff members.
He showed off his product to former Texas Ranger Rusty Greer and Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long, asking them whether they saw value in the product and would recommend it to others. The Pro Swing was a hit.
The company began selling the training tool in June 2008, along with distributing other sports products. He expects the company to double in size from six employees to 12 in the next 18 months.
RBI Pro Swing is sold by about 400 dealers – stores like a Southlake Sports and website stores. About 25 stores sell them in Dallas-Fort Worth.
"I stay away from a lot of the training stuff and leave it to coaches, but the RBI Pro Swing, it stands by itself," said Southlake Sports store owner Robbi Vincent. "You can give this to a kid or a high school player or a college player, and they can work with it."
The company has sold more than 18,000 RBI Pro Swings so far. The product's suggested retail price is $29.95.
Now Miller is thinking about creating a product for his other favorite sport: golf.
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[Via - DallasNews.Com]
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