One Sarasota entrepreneur hopes professional athletes can't resist his workout tool called the ExcelCord.
"We want to create a core-strengthening product that's not only going to help you get better at your sport, but it's going to strengthen the muscles directly involved with what you do," ExcelCord inventor Matt Zoltak tells Patch.
Zoltak, 24, says it's all in the heel. The former college and minor league pitcher created a special harness that stabilizes the foot and connects to a cord at the heel of the shoe providing resistance training and freedom of motion.
He says it's to designed to help a pitcher's back drive leg through strengthening the abs, glutes and legs. Getting started is relatively easy.
"Always start with the cord taught for a nice balance start," Zoltak says. "And then just a nice and easy step and throw to make sure you're staying balanced on your follow through."
Zoltak played college baseball at Clemson University and Florida Southern College in Lakeland. Injuries cut the pitcher's career short while playing Independent League ball, but it didn't deter his dream to stay in the game.
While coaching, he became more interested in improving the mechanics of pitchers without restricting their leg movement because similar contraptions anchor on the calves, creating poor balance.
At first he designed a duct-taped contraption that would screw into the shoe.
"We weren't going to manufacture shoes," Zoltak says.
He settled on a nylon webbing design, hoping to use a military-grade material from the U.S., but demands here and slow production forced him to visit China where he received an in-depth tour of factories and the assembly of raw materials.
Zoltak was sold on the speed and quality of the workers there and how each person had a role in a particular component. The language barrier didn't deter him—mainly because it just so happens his mother took Mandarin classes in school. So she helped translating some of his vital businesses calls.
Zoltak's Plymouth Whitemarsh High school teammate from Philadelphia Joe Fasy, 25, joined him in helping to market and showcase how to use the product. Fasy says moving to Florida was easy given the access to major leaguers working out for Spring Training.
"Right now this is the place to be," Fasy says. "Athletes come down here year-round to train and that's what we're all about—training all year around—indoor, outdoor, it doesn't really matter."
Now time for Zoltak and Fasy to start pitching the product to any athlete or trainer who will listen. They've put in their time at coaches conventions, helping convince Little Leaguers to Major Leaguers to try the ExcelCord.
The patented-pending Excel Cord also has endorsements from the Philadelphia Flyers' athletic trainer and Dr. William Meyers, who specializes in treating sports hernia.
The Sarasota residents say their biggest highlight so far is seeing former Major Leaguer Manny Ramirez have his kid use the ExcelCord at Bradenton's IMG Academies. Now the two are putting together a workout DVD to complement the contraption and to make sure it's in the hands and on the feet of every baseball player in America.
"We also want to have athletic trainers all over the country, eventually the world, to run classes on ExcelCord and have people use it to feel the difference," Fasy said.
Though Zoltak says the Flyers' athletic trainer Jim McCrossin sees the benefits for hockey players to use during dryland training, the professional trainer advised them to focus on baseball for now and don't get sidetracked chasing every sport, but the thoughts of seeing soccer players, swimmers, tennis players races through Zoltak's mind every day.
"We know there are a lot of benefits for baseball, but we want to take it to soccer, to swimming, to really, all the different competitive sports, that way everybody out there can be using one product instead of going out and specializing in different things," Zoltak says.
To purchase the ExcelCord, a pro package costs $99 and a team package can be had for $149 through ExcelCord.com. Appointments and consultations are also available by calling 1-855-267-CORD.
If all goes right, for Zoltak and Fasy, success for the ExcelCord should be a snap.