Pitching machines and batting cages are popular tools for baseball players of all levels to practice hitting. The machines can simulate different types of pitches and come in various styles, including arm action and circular wheel machines. Using these tools allows players to practice on their own and achieve a high number of reps. Prices vary, with the JUGS model being popular among colleges and pros and Atec models being more affordable for families.
A pitcher throws baseballs to a hitter so he can work on becoming a better hitter. Baseball players from the high school ranks all the way up to the pros use pitching machines for batting practice. Batting cages are also available in many recreational facilities across the United States. Here, players aged 5 and over can use the launchers. After a batter has deposited a coin or chip, the machine will throw a toss approximately every 10 seconds. These cages are designated with speeds outfitted for everyone from slow, medium, fast, to major league, where the pitcher throws a ball about 90 miles per hour (40 meters per second).
In live batting practice, a pitcher or coach will throw baseballs to hitters who swing their bats at the pitched balls. Live hitter practice is used to supplement the use of the pitching machine and give hitters the feel of live pitching. Throwing machines have advanced to the point where they can throw not only fastballs, but curveballs, sliders, and screwballs as well.
Pitching machines come in a variety of styles. However, the two most popular machines are an arm machine and a circular wheel machine. The arm action machine simulates throwing a pitcher and carries a ball to the end of a hanger, just like a hand would. The arm action machine then delivers the ball in a prone motion. The circular wheel machine contains one or two wheels that spin much like a bicycle tire. The wheels on these machines are usually set horizontally or vertically. With a round machine, a ball shoots towards the hitter after being driven into the wheel or wheels.
The use of pitching machines allows baseball players to practice batting on their own. Most batting machines are set up in a batting cage, a wire-fenced area that will hold the balls after they’ve been hit. By using a pitcher and batting cage, hitters can achieve massive numbers of reps without having to drag other players around a baseball field or wear out the arms of pitchers or team coaches. The cost of pitching machines varies widely. At the high end, the popular two-wheeler JUGS model is a versatile and durable machine used by colleges and pros. The low-cost Atec models are durable and more affordable for families.