Coach Crates CEO and Founder David Wodzisz's experience in baseball has been both on and off the plate. When he started coaching travel ball after college, he noticed that, as was the case during his playing days, a lot of practices were the same, "day in and day out,” he told PYMNTS in an interview. Wodzisz wanted to “help provide resources and tools to coaches" to make practices more challenging for players.
During his college career, he used various tools to challenge him during individual training outside of practice. Today, through his company, Wodzisz offers these tools – and more – through his subscription offering. Coaches start by selecting what level they train: youth, high school or collegiate. That information helps Coach Crates determine what resources to offer.
The goal, Wodzisz said, is to “have a good mix of tools, resources and game supplies and gear.” Each month’s box includes three unique training tools: a book on baseball, leadership or coaching and two pieces of equipment or game supplies. To help with curation, the company consults a tight-knit group of founding subscribers.
Coach Crates has teamed with nearly 30 brands. Some of its big product partners include Rawlings, Black Mountain Products and Franklin. In other cases, the company will reach out to individual owners who offer specialized products and try to get more unique products into its boxes. Over the past year, Coach Crates has been focusing on adding more digital resources to its coaching hub, such as “downloadables and printables” that coaches can use in the field or with the players, Wodzisz said.
The company’s market includes a mix of experienced and non-experienced coaches. Wodzisz noted that many coaches are seeking new practice activities to “change the game a little bit” with new, unique tools. As analytics and technology have gotten more involved, Wodzis noted, so has training. The company's subscription box, in essence, combines a wide range of products to provide value for coaches. Some of its coaches, who are later in their careers and trying to “spread their wings a little bit and catch up with how the game is changing," are interested in new, unique tools, Wodzisz said. The demographic spans from 25 years old to 55 or 60 years old.
When it comes to getting the word out about the box, the company turns to networking and referrals. It also offers The Diamond Club, a rewards program that allows consumers to earn points for creating an account, making a purchase or leaving a review.
In the future, Coach Crates aims to make its platform more social. As consumers subscribe, for instance, the company is eyeing the ability for them to build out a coaching profile and connect with other mentors. A digital library could also be added in the future.
Beyond Coach Crates, other subscription innovators are aiming to curate selections of equipment for all sorts of sports. Tennis Trunk, for instance, offers gear for tennis players. Consumers choose their gender to determine a selection of products and shirt sizes, and also request the type of tennis ball they would like to receive. In addition to tennis balls, the boxes typically include items like apparel, socks, sports towels, wristbands, overgrips, protein bars and energy gels.
Whether consumers want equipment to help themselves (or others) perform better on the diamond or the court, innovators are curating gear to help them step up their game.