Kyle Schmidt playing catcher at UR

MLB alum’s device helps players one pitch at a time

September 12, 2023


2019 grad Kyle Schmidt

Kyle Schmidt loves being behind the plate. “There’s a grittiness to it — a grind,” he said. “But there’s also nuance.”

As a catcher for the Minnesota Twins, Schmidt is comfortable playing a supportive role. “You have a lot of influence over the game,” he said. “You are involved in every play and decision so building relationships and establishing trust with your fellow players is vital.”

He also assumes this role off the field, always striving to become better at the sport and help fellow players do the same. One day, while walking around the training facility before a practice session, Schmidt took notice of all the equipment he was carrying. “The catching position focuses a lot on receiving work, and resistance bands have become a part of training that skill set,” he said. “I struggled to find the space to train like I wanted with the equipment I had.”

Unable to find a product that met his needs, Schmidt began developing a prototype for his own solution. He spent a year developing and testing the CRT Belt using his knowledge of the sport.

Schmidt, a 2018 graduate of the Robins School, applied for a provisional patent and began commercializing the product in the summer of 2021. “The CRT Belt isn’t fancy or technical. The motto for my company is ‘Keep the Game Simple,’” he said. “I wanted to focus on building other catchers’ fundamentals while also improving their receiving skill with something applicable to an everyday training environment.”

The Twins use the CRT Belt, as do players and coaches of 14 other major league clubs. “Being a part of that many major league organizations is really special to me,” Schmidt said. “It’s application at the highest level of the game.”

The tool can also be found among members of the Richmond Spider baseball team. “Our guys love the CRT Belt — it's resistance and strength training for the art of catching," said Nate Mulberg, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

Richmond Spider Zach Lass tries out the catching device.

Mulberg remembers Schmidt's time with the Spiders fondly.

"As his catching coach, I'd strive to teach him as much as I could, but I often found myself learning much more from him," he said. "Kyle was the absolute epitome of what a Richmond student-athlete should be. He is so diligent and dedicated to his craft. It's no surprise to me that he has found success on and off the field because of the way his mind works.”

Schmidt reached another major milestone when he was contacted by national sporting goods chains Scheels and Dick’s for purchase orders. He plans to visit those retailers to see his products on shelves soon. 

“Everything has come together,” he said. “There is no guaranteed lifespan on this career. Each day I get to play has been a bonus. I want to continue to be someone who is getting better and helping others get better, too.”