It has been a long, but exciting journey for Ground Force Sports. In 2014 the company was founded by Rich Dunno, a tool maker by day and pitching coach by night. Through his years of experience he found himself constantly trying to find new ways to get players to use their legs or engage their lower half and to not only coach with verbal cues, but through feeling so he could help players transfer what they learned in his individual lessons into game settings without consistent reminders of how to improve their performance.
Rich came up with the idea of the King of the Hill while coaching two players, both with amazing work ethic and skill, who were on completely different levels of play. He noticed that each time the younger player threw a pitch, he would actually push the mound while the older player would not. And get this.....the 14 year old was throwing 78-80 mph and the 18 year old 79-81. After getting the 18 yr old to push the mound back for a couple weeks he raised his velocity from 81 mph to 84-86 topping out at 87 MPH! A light bulb went off as Rich instructed the older player to "push back" the mound when he threw a pitch". Immediately, Rich was able to come to the conclusion that the reason the older athlete was throwing at a low velocity was the lack of engagement from the legs.
BOOOM! the King of the Hill was born just days later. As a Toolmaker with a engineering background Rich built the first one out of his garage.
The first one was not so pretty, but it did it's job and help increase the velocity of the older player as he was offered by a NCAA D1 school the following year. (He eventually topped out at 90 during the summer!)
It was evident that the King of the Hill needed to be introduced to the industry, so, there were many weeks spent traveling to spring training and different facilities around the U.S., hanging on fences and meeting coaches and players in parking lots to get 2 minutes to show them the device. Rich knew if he could get them to see the trainer in action, the deal was closed. After gaining some much deserved positive feedback, the word took off and the King of the Hill was used in spring training and in season facilities of MLB teams throughout the league.
Funny....it took over 250 emails to every coordinator in every club to get 1 pitching coach to respond and agree to take a look at the King of the Hill. His email response was "If you quit sending emails I'll meet with you". He met Rich at a Home Depot parking lot.....he wouldn't meet Rich at their MLB facilities or at his home. On a side note....this club ordered 9 KOTH's and 2 more for their Dominican training facility!
Throughout the success, Rich was invited back to Spring training for a number of teams and saw the coaches using the trainers for not only pitchers, but their hitters as well. It was obvious...similar ground force was used in both settings. With a couple of changes to the mound, the King of the Swing hit the market and took over as the best hitting device on the market to get more power out of the hitter.
Along the way, the King of the Hill was being used in facilities that trained both baseball AND softball players, and GFS received feedback from coaches that it was helping the girls train and increase leg drive in their fast-pitch. Needless to say the Queen of the Hill was developed and has since taken over the market in a way one could never imagine.