Baseball Pitching Machines
There are many essential pieces of equipment used in baseball. Baseball pitching machines are a great way to practice batting and fielding skills outside of in-game action. Read on to learn about the benefits, types, brands, and important considerations of baseball pitching machines.
Benefits of Baseball Pitching Machines
Baseball pitching machines are one of the most common pieces of advanced equipment used in baseball practices. They are great for sharpening both batting and fielding skills during practice drills. Pitching machines allow players to practice their hitting skills without having to find someone to pitch to them.
Since pitching machines do not require a human pitcher, batting exercises can operate faster and more smoothly. Pitching machines can usually throw a variety of different pitches so that batters can practice hitting the variety of pitches they're likely to see during a game.
Pitching machines can also help players build their defensive skills as both an infielder and outfielder, mechanics, and confidence. The machines not only deliver pitches, as some models are also designed to simulate fly balls, pop-ups, and ground balls for both infielders and outfielders.
Things To Consider
When looking for a pitching machine, you'll want to consider the following:
- How much space do you have where you will be using the pitching machine?
- How much do you want to spend on a pitching machine?
- Do you want the pitching machine to be able to throw multiple types of pitches?
- How fast do you want the pitching machine to throw?
What are you looking for in a pitching machine?
- High-speed pitches
- Different types of pitches
- Easy storage
- Designed for youth players
- Designed for adult players
Baseball pitching machines can come in a variety of forms, but the most common types are pitching guns, hand-fed, and automatically-fed machines.
Baseball pitching guns are one of the more common types of pitching machines. These machines are safe, simple, affordable, and stand on a tripod. They can throw up to speeds of 70 mph and are great for batting, pop-fly, and grounding practice drills. The pitching machines are hand-fed and can only store one ball at a time.
- Portable and easy to use
- Great for practice drills
- Safe equipment with no moving parts
- Holds only one ball at a time
- Not practical for older players
- Requires someone to feed the balls by hand
Hand-fed baseball pitching machines are the most popular option for pitching machines. These machines can come in different forms and variations, but they all require somebody to feed balls into the machine's throwing head. The throwing head is where the player or coach can pivot the head in any direction and adjust the pitch selection, speed, and height.
- Most common pitching machine
- Adjustable throwing head
- Can throw different pitches, speeds, and heights
- Only fits one ball at a time
- Generally expensive
- Requires somebody to feed the machine
Automatically-fed baseball pitching machines are another common type of pitching machine. These pitching machines differ from others because they come with an automatic ball feeder that inserts a new ball after another ball is fired. This machine works with a variety of exercises, including ground balls, fly balls, and pop-ups. The automatically-fed machines use a remote controller to adjust the speed of the pitch.
- Automatic ball feeder
- Uses a controller operating system
- Can be used in multiple drills
- Not portable
- Requires electricity to power
- Can have a higher price range
There are many baseball pitching machine brands to choose from. The most common brands are Hack Attack, Heater, and Rawlings.
Hack Attack is the baseball pitching machine line from Sports Attack, which is one of the most prominent sports accessory manufacturers in the industry. The Hack Attack pitching machine uses an open 3-wheel machine design that can emulate live pitchers. The machine gives the batters a stronger sense of the ball's speed and location. It comes with an adjustable throwing head that can throw fastballs, curveballs, sliders, and breaking balls at more than 100 mph. Hack Attack machines are fairly heavy and expensive, weighing around 145-160 lbs and costing more than $3,000.
Heater is a major baseball practice equipment manufacturer. Heater offers several different designs of pitching machines that come in hand-fed and automatically-fed models. Their machines have adjustable pitch heights and speed mechanisms while pitching up to 80-105 mph speeds. Their products cost as low as $120 and can be sold for up to $1,000 for varying models of baseball pitching machines.
Rawlings is one of the premier baseball equipment manufacturers. Their baseball pitching machines come in both 2-wheeled and 3-wheeled models. These machines can simulate any pitch from any angle with excellent speed and curve controls. The machines are controlled by a control panel that can adjust the machine's pitch speeds, curve mechanics, and spin dynamics.
How much does a pitching machine cost?
Baseball pitching machines have a wide-ranging price range. The highest quality wheeled pitching machines cost anywhere from $1,000-$2,000 and last anywhere from 5-10 years. There are cheaper pitching machine alternatives that cost in the $100-$500 range, but they are designed for a younger audience and are not as durable. Some pitching machines use wiffle balls and are designed for kids. These wiffle ball machines typically cost about $20-$50.
What are the best kinds of pitching machines for beginners?
The best type of pitching machine for beginners is the hand-fed pitching machine. These machines are great for youth leagues because they can throw low-speed pitches and rotate 360 degrees. These machines allow coaches to control the speed, direction, and pacing of the machine. They can also help develop the batting and hand-eye coordination skills of youth league players. These pitching machines come at a reasonable price of about $200.
What types of pitches can a pitching machine throw?
Most baseball pitching machines can only throw fastballs at speeds up to 100 mph. However, some pitching machines have the capability to throw other pitches like sliders and curveballs. Outside of actual pitches, other machines can also simulate fly balls, ground balls, and pop-ups to players positioned in the infield and outfield. You should invest in a pitching machine that can best prepare you for in-game action, based on your skill level and the parts of your skillset you're looking to improve.