Coach unveils new invention: Perfect Grip
Update: As of Monday, April 11, Olds’ Kickstarter campaign has netted nearly $10,000.
Anyone with a dream can be an inventor, and Kings longtime football coach Andy Olds has become just that. His new invention – decades in the making and called the Perfect Grip, a slip-on grip intended to help people of all ages hold a baseball or softball bat correctly – is now a reality.
Olds got the idea back in the winter of 1988, when he was coaching baseball at Indiana University.
“It came to me as result of hearing our head coach dwell on wrist and hand placement while guys were hitting in the cages,” Olds said.
When the idea occurred to him, Olds drove to Cincinnati to patent it. Being only a graduate assistant at the time, he simply couldn’t afford to do so. As a result, Olds created a “poor-man’s patent”: he mailed himself all the necessary information about his idea, sealed and postmarked, so that in the future he could present the unopened letter to prove his idea was original.
But now, the patent is real. As of January 2015, Olds is a card-carrying inventor.
After securing a patent, he was able to start producing his product. The grip itself is made of a silicone base that can easily slide over the knob of a bat and can be removed during playing time.
“The Perfect Grip is designed with two lateral walls on each side with dimples on top for added comfort to the hitter. The function of the walls is to make the hitters hold the bat the only comfortable way, which also happens to be the ‘perfect grip’ for hitters,” Olds explained.
A kickstarter campaign went live on April 4 and already has 100 backers. After promoting his idea, Olds hopes to become recognized by retail chains where he’d eventually like to sell his grip.
“Most of our sales will take place online. Our advertising campaign has been through Facebook, Twitter, newspapers, and through countless softball and baseball communities in the U.S. and internationally,” Olds said.
Of course Olds isn’t alone: he has a team that’s played a big part in making this invention come to life. His team consists of a business owner and engineer, Kirk Hiethaus, from Woodlawn Rubber in Blue Ash; a creative design team, Spicefire; a legal team, Thompson-Hine; a publicist, Kathleen Lee; and a webpage and Kickstarter administrator, Matthew Dooley of Dooley Media.
Olds predicts a success from the grip due to its ease of use and low costs.
“It teaches the very core skill of gripping a softball and baseball bat perfectly every time you use! The average boy or girl involved in baseball or softball spends on average $835. Our retail price for the Perfect Grip is $35 which is likely to be the cheapest thing a parent or coach could purchase,” says Olds.
The Perfect Grip brand doesn’t end there. Olds plans on having three other spinoffs of the product as well. These are due to come out in approximately two years.
By Maddie DePaoli