Rob Friedman, better known by his Twitter alias ‘@PitchingNinja,’ has launched a platform to help young pitchers develop and receive exposure for free.
Friedman’s profile, which shows short video clips of pitchers and gives tips, attracted a large following that includes a handful of MLB pitchers who regularly interact with the account.
It even helped two independent league players get signed to contracts with MLB teams.
“I figured if I was going to coach others, and teach my own kid, then I need to find out how to teach things the right way,” Friedman said to Forbes. “I started my quest to learn pitching mechanics … I didn’t want my knowledge to die when my son graduated or when I stopped coaching. So, I started posting on Twitter to share what I learned with as many people as I could.”
Friedman is hoping to use these connections to help developing pitchers on @FlatGroundApp.
“I want to provide a place for ALL pitchers to learn and be seen, regardless of financial ability to pay for lessons, showcases or travel teams,” Friedman said in a statement posted to Twitter, noting that he hopes to help players ranging from high school and amateur to professional.
Today I’m announcing FlatGround, designed to help as many Pitchers as we possibly can to be seen/developed thru Social Media.
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) January 2, 2019
The cost of training and networking is at the center of this.
Clinics, development and simply getting noticed can be an expensive endeavor, as tournaments often require travel.
“I really did this because I felt folks were falling through the cracks,” Friedman wrote in an email to Sport Techie. “There shouldn’t be a need to spend tons of $ for showcases, etc.”
With FlatGround, Friedman hopes to harness the connections he has created to help players develop and get tools for free.
“I don’t think baseball should be just a rich kid sport,” he said to Forbes. “I think that hurts the future of baseball and is fundamentally unfair.”