How To Choose a Baseball or Softball Pitching Machine and a Batting Cage
Before we start, let me just add one thought on how I believe ballplayers are made.
FIRST… you must learn the proper mechanics!
SECOND… you do it over and over and over again!
The player that has the privilege of being able to hit just by walking out his back door is at an unbelievable advantage when compared to the player who can’t. He is as fortunate as a player can ever be for this is the absolute number one tool that a player can have to become the best ballplayer he possibly can become.
I once asked a coach if he ever had a player with a backyard pitching machine setup who didn’t turn into a good hitter. He thought for a minute before he said, “No, I don’t think I ever have.”
If you can hit, a coach will always find a position for you!
So You Want To Buy a Pitching Machine?
For most people buying a pitching machine is a one-time purchase, so you sure want to make the right decision and not have to live with the wrong machine. If you will allow me to help, I may be able to assist you in whittling your selection down to the right choice. Keep in mind that if you simply read the descriptions below, your gut feeling is most likely going to lead you to the right choice. I say this because none of what we sell is junk. So if you are caught between two price levels and both are affordable, know that though I believe that there is quality built into all that we sell, more money does buy more machine. You can’t overpay for quality!
The major considerations are…TYPE OF MACHINES, PRICE, SPACE, PLAYER AGE
Type of Machines:
“Real Ball” Throwing Machines:
The Real Ball category are those machines which throw real balls or machine pitch dimple balls (you’ve seen them in yellow or white at the commercial batting cages). Incidentally, both types of baseballs weigh 5 oz.
These machines come in two major categories plus a new category that we’ll discuss shortly. The categories are:
-Arm Style Machines
-Compressed Air Machines
Generally, all require a batting cage (there are a few exceptions), most can be purchased with auto-feeders and remote controls for one player operation.
Wheel Style Pitching Machines – (One & Two Wheel Models)
These are the most popular types and are seen in backyards, machine-pitch leagues, high schools, colleges and in pro ball. They consist of a rubber wheel(s), a motor to propel the wheel(s), electronics with speed and direction adjustment knobs and a steel frame attached to a tripod. All run on 110v current though many fields without power will use a generator. Most can be purchased for baseball only, softball only or in a combination package for multi sport use.
Single Wheel Machines:
Just what the name implies, these entry-level machines generally throw a straight pitch between approximately 25-70+ MPH.
Cost ranges from just over $900. and up.
Then there are a few single wheel curveball machines which have the added feature of the obvious, it can also throw a curveball. I personally prefer the curveball machines for their versatility in throwing the breaking ball from either “hand”, but budget obviously needs to be added into your choice as well.