Summer twirling practice is in full swing as twirlers everywhere prepare for their national competitions. As twirlers keep practicing and competing to perform no drop routines, others are out there creating advancements in twirling devices.
After years of dreaming, researching and planning, Susan Orr introduces her new professional twirling apparatus, the Heart Baton. Just recently released, this baton has been wildly successful and sought after.
Orr says, the baton enhances a twirlers performance in three distinctive ways as represented by the three hearts on the ends of every Heart Baton. One, the baton will not roll so far away from you if dropped. Second, the unique rubber compound in each heart will not allow the baton to bounce so far away from you if dropped. And lastly, the "Gorilla Grip" in the center of the shaft will not allow the baton to slip, even when you perspire.
TwirlZone interviewed Susan Orr for more insight on this product and how it can enhance your performance:
TwirlZone: What inspired you to begin developing the Heart Baton with Gorilla Grip Technology? Susan: I've dreamed about this really special baton since I was a twirler. Running across the floor to retrieve a dropped baton was so embarrassing! And for some reason, I always had lots of perspiration when I twirled, so I tried everything to dry out my hands. Some things worked for a little bit, but I knew there had to be a better way.
When I grew up and became a coach and judge, I saw that the girls were still worrying with the same problems. I thought it was time to do something about it. We all practice so hard and we all want a great performance. Isn't it time we have a baton that really helps us?! Twirlers deserve a truly "state of the art" baton! And I still can't believe that the "Gorilla Grip" works as well as it does. Yesterday, I actually twirled out in the rain!!!
TwirlZone: Who has been involved in the design and development of the Heart Baton? Susan: The design and the development of the HEART BATON has been influenced by every twirler, parent and coach over the last fifteen years. Their desire for something better really inspired me. The problem was -- how do you translate the problems of a twirler to engineers and chemists who don't know twirling? Answer -- you show them the problems and then you keep talking!!
About 2 years ago, we began in earnest to tackle the problems. At first, they seemed almost insurmountable. But our team just never gave up! I remember one day when John called me into the shop and showed me row after row of equations on the computer.....I really didn't understand. Then he explained all the math was necessary to tell the machine how to make parts for the baton. Amazing! After that, I watched as the team showed me the new rubber compounds, the molds, the shafts and how the baton would be assembled. It sure took a lot more work than I ever could have imagined. But they did it!!!
Many, many thanks go to John Spees, Max Orr, Frank Dailey, SCORE and all the others!
TwirlZone: What part of the twirling market do you believe this baton will best be suited for? Susan: When I started seriously planning to produce the HEART BATON, I first thought of the competitive twirlers. Every time they have a slip or drop, it costs them points. Running across the floor to retrieve a baton, costs them time & more points. This will definitely be an advantage for them!
But then, a strange thing happened. I started a brand new beginner class. Girls who had never twirled a baton before were offered a choice. They all went for the HEART BATON! They didn't know anything about slips, drops or sweaty hands. They just loved the hearts on the ends!!
The next thing I knew, I was getting calls from high school band directors. They don't like twirlers dropping at Football games and Football games often involve rain. Now, there are no more problems with that.
And of course, team directors just love the HEART BATON because they truly can't afford slips, drops, or batons being caught up in other team members' feet. So I guess, the HEART BATON satisfies the needs of most all twirlers!
TwirlZone: Have any twirlers yet performed with this baton? If so, how did it enhance their performances? Susan: The HEART BATON has been used by quite a few twirlers in these first few weeks of its existence and with amazing results. The first time I actually saw a group of twirlers, some with and some without the HEART BATON was my own Recital.
The twirlers were on stage and unfortunately as some had drops, problems began. This is not a time anyone wants to drop. But the girls who had the HEART BATON just reached down at their feet, picked up their baton, and caught back up with the routine. Those without the HEART BATON had to chase their baton and one girl even had hers go off the stage and down into the audience. My heart just broke for her. It brought back memories from years ago. I don't want any twirler to feel so disappointed again.
About a week ago, I answered my telephone and a coach from Ohio was on the line. I could hardly understand her because her voice was so excited! Her twirlers had just performed with the HEART BATONS and they were ecstatic! She'll need HEART BATONS for all her girls before Nationals. I invite all HEART BATON twirlers to send in your own stories to our website! How does the HEART BATON help you?
TwirlZone: From the website, it appears that the baton is available in 19” – 30” is that correct? Susan: The HEART BATON is available in lengths from 19" - 30". We're just gearing up our production and these seem to be the usual sizes. Although, if a twirler needs a special size, we will try to accommodate. But please give us plenty of lead time this summer; the demand tends to exceed the supply as we're just starting up.
TwirlZone: We assume this product along with your twirling DVD series will be available at many of the national competitions coming up. Along with ordering on the website, where else can TZ readers find the Heart Baton? Susan: The HEART BATON and the DVD series, BATON TWIRLING UNLIMITED will be available on our website: www.BatonTwirlingUnlimited.com and on our sister website: www.HEARTBATON.com.
You can also phone me at 317-592-1971 to place an order. In addition, I will be traveling extensively to talk with parents, coaches and twirlers this summer. And of course, I'll bring along some batons and DVDs!
Plan to visit with me in Boston from July 4-9 at the Park Plaza Hotel. Then I'll be at the Canton Convention Center with the TU Nationals from July 15-17. Next I'll head over to AYOP from July 18-22 and will be at the Days Inn on Dixie Highway when I'm not judging. After that, I'll head to the DMA Nationals in North Carolina from July 24-28. Next is the AAU Jr. Olympics in New Orleans from August 2-4. And finally, I'll enjoy visiting the USTA World Championships in St Paul on August 6 & 7.
TwirlZone: Susan, is there any additional information you would like to share with the TwirlZone readers? Susan: The Heart Baton weight varies due to length, but is considered a "medium weight" baton. The heart baton is excellent for all twirls, including rolls and spins. The Heart Baton is weighted and balanced to center. The diameter of the Heart Baton shaft is 3/8". Baton cost is $45 US.