How To Buy A Pitching Machine
Pitching machines are powerful and versatile training tools for all ages
levels of play. Experienced baseball and softball players use these machines
to refine their swing technique and to practice hitting high-velocity and trick
pitches. Developing players benefit from the ball's predictable course,
which allows them to work on mechanics under consistent conditions and
alleviates fear of errant balls. Players
also report that pitching machines prevent the development of a loopy, upward
style after years of coaches' lobbed pitches.
Type of Play
- Youth Leagues
- High School/Collegiate/Professional
- Vertical Pivot
Type of Play
You'll find pitching machines everywhere from a neighbor's backyard to
little league practice to the major league fields. Why? These machines come
in an array of shapes and sizes to address all types of training
Different machines are suitable for different types of recreation and home training.
- Tossing machines
- Lightweight and compact
- Tosses balls at regular intervals and a fixed speed
- A consistent, convenient tool to improve hand-eye coordination and practice batting
- Pitching Machines
- Full-sized with a range of pitching options
- A single-motor, one-wheel machine may suffice for new players and
casual home practice.
- If you're a dedicated player, a two-wheel, dual motor machine with
features that match your personal training needs is well worth the
Pitching machines are popular in youth leagues because they deliver safe,
reliable pitches. This helps young players develop skills with consistency and
without fear of being hit by an errant pitch.
- A single-motor machine capable of pitching at 60 mph or more is usually
- Choose a complete machine that is either portable or compatible with a
movable cart for transport.
- Look for a lightweight model that is easy to set up, and offers the
features you will need in a typical practice.
- Many machines work with both RIF and standard balls, so check for this
compatibility before buying.
High School, Collegiate, and Professional
At this level, pitching machines should deliver fast pitches and a variety of pitch types.
- Two-wheel, dual-motor machines are most appropriate.
- Choose a machine with many pitching options (left, right, curve,
fastballs, etc.) and a maximum speed of 90 mph or more.
- Keep portability in mind if you'll need to set it up in a new place for
each practice or training session.
Pitching machines used for softball should come equipped with options
specific to the
sport. It's helpful to acquaint yourself with the pitching machine features
that are intended for softball play.
- A softball pitching machine should be built to release underhand
- Look for a machine that will accommodate fast and slowpitch play, as
well as risers and drops, depending on your skill level.
- Some machines are convertible, using a differently shaped chute for
baseball and softball.
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- Most pitching machines function with one or two spinning wheels that
project the ball upon contact.
- Wheels can be either hard rubber or pneumatic (air filled).
- Pitch speed is determined by revolutions per minute.
- Pitch types, such as curve balls, are affected by variations in wheel
- Handedness (right and left) is determined by spin direction.
- The head turns on a horizontal plane within a specified number of
- Allows you to pitch within a range of space, rather than to a fixed
spot every time
- The pitching machine head rocks front to back, changing the angle of the pitch.
- Simulates fly balls, ground balls, and pop ups.
- Most pitching machines are equipped with 1/4 hp motors.
- One or two motors are standard, and the total horsepower determines
maximum pitch speed.
- A feeder holds a quantity of balls and lets them into the machine one
at a time.
- Feeders are usually purchased separately from the machine.
- Make sure you buy a machine that is feeder-compatible if you plan to
use it without human help.
- Power Source
- Most pitching machines operate on 110vAC/1000 watts.
- This means that you can plug them into a power source if available, or
power them using a generator.
- If you plan to use a generator, find out what kind the manufacturer
recommends before buying.
- In-Line Switch
- An in-line switch is a box on the cord that allows the player to turn
the machine on and off from the batter's box.
- This option is a must if you use the machine alone.
- Most pitching machines are compatible with any type of baseball or
softball, but some are designed to work with specific balls.
- Check that machines intended for youth league use are compatible with
RIF or other training balls.
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