Baseball can be exhausting for both the pitcher and the hitter. When it’s time to practice and have no one to pitch the ball, you start to consider getting a pitching machine, but does a pitching machine help your hitting?
The pitching machine dates way back to 1897, when the first one was made for the practice of school baseball players. Pitching for a long time can cause an ache to the arms, and this machine was considered a good replacement.
This article has covered the history of pitching machines, their advantages and disadvantages, and things you need to know when using this equipment.
History of Pitching Machine
The first pitching machine was invented in 1897 by Charles Hinton, a math instructor. It was initially designed for baseball players at Princeton University, and it used gunpowder as a powering mechanism.
It was able to shoot balls at various speeds, but it caused many injuries, which led to the dismissal of Charles Hinton from the university.
Over the years, advanced technology has made pitching machines safer and more reliable, gradually becoming popular.
They evolved with time to become as good as live arms in throwing different pitches like curveballs, fastballs, sliders, etc. This was all made possible by the one-wheel pitching machine.
Does Pitching Machine Help Your Hitting?
For a beginner in baseball, a pitching machine can be extremely helpful for precise hitting and overcoming the fear of balls by hitting at a consistent speed. It also comes in handy when you have no pitcher and practice alone.
With all the technological advancements, a pitching machine is still not as good as a human arm, thus giving a player an incomplete experience. If you are a professional player or aim to be a professional player, a pitching machine is not the best option.
Pros of a Pitching Machine
- A good guide for beginners
- Different speeds can be mastered
- Helps overcome a fear of balls/hitting
Cons of a Pitching Machine
- Not as good as a live arm
Why You Should Get a Pitching Machine
We have said earlier that a pitching machine is great for beginners, especially kids. Kids need to work with a consistent speed during practice to help them accurately hit the ball.
This machine provides consistent speed that can be adjusted to go faster to improve hitting. This is one aspect where a pitching machine gets the upper hand over a live arm.
Even as they throw inconsistent speed, you should increase the speed after the player has mastered the current. This practice will not affect the player’s precision in hitting the ball and will help them get a pattern of how the pitching works. Of course, this is not as effective as training with a live arm, but it is a huge stepping stone.
Tips on Using Pitching Machines
Here are some important pointers to guide you on using this equipment safely.
- Safety comes first, and with this, you should ensure that the hitter wears a safety helmet to prevent any injury from the baseball. These injuries can be fatal and cause permanent damage to the face or brain.
- To help the hitter gain precision when hitting, the distance between the machine and the batter should be measured concerning the original game distance.
- You should have a coach supervise the pitching and check out the batter box to determine if the machine is safe for use in that area.
- The third and first baseline should be indicated with a marker down to observe foul play.
- Changing the machine’s speed helps the hitter adapt to a ball moving at different speeds. This prepares the player for live action on the field. This also helps the player to anticipate a faster ball.
- The right position of a player is to widen their stance; this helps them get a feel of the speed of the ball and how to react the next time the ball is thrown.
- The speed of the pitching machine should be altered after ten to fifteen pitches.
Best Pitching Machines
All pitching machines are expensive and are designed to last you for a long time. The first quality to look for in this equipment is its portability.
For some, the machine may be installed in one fixed position, while others may want to store it when not in use. In this case, a machine that is not very heavy and is portable will be really helpful.
The Louisville Sluggard pitching machine is very good, and the Jugs pitching machine. They can throw different pitches and last for a long time. The pitches vary in different machines, so make some research before purchasing.
Frequently Asked Questions
This section covers additional information concerning pitching machines and how they are properly used.
How Do I Choose a Pitching Machine?
The first and most important thing to consider is what you want. If you want movement while hitting, then a portable machine should do fine.
You can also get some with a higher speed and others with additional features like a feeder that helps insert the ball into the pitching machine. But you should know that these features affect the cost of the equipment.
How Fast Does a Pitching Machine Go?
Regular pitching machine has a speed of 60mph and an exiting speed of 102mph, while more advanced ones can reach up to 90mph with an exiting speed of 106mph.
Can I Use a Softball Pitching Machine For Baseball?
Using a baseball in a pitching machine can cause damage as the equipment is not manufactured to handle a baseball.
If you are the parent of a child or teenager, you probably wonder if a pitching machine is the best option. Well, a pitching machine does have its ups and downs, and while it can be a helpful guide to helping a beginner transition into the world of baseball, it doesn’t give the full experience of a live game.
Adjusting the speed regularly, using the right game distance, and observing some strict rules can improve the hitting with a pitching machine. We have given some helpful tips when using this machine to ensure that safety and game quality are maintained.
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We trust this article helped you understand if pitching machines help your hitting. You may also want to check out How To Pick a Baseball Bat For High School?
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