Whether it’s a child or a professional athlete, any softball player will stand to gain a lot from practicing with a pitching machine. A pitching machine will hone the skills of the player by hurling balls at batters at different speeds and styles.
Practicing with these machines helps build the confidence of the players when faced with curveballs, fastballs, and softballs while competing with other teams. The market is full of different brands of pitching machines, all differently styled.
To help you feel less overwhelmed, we’ve put together a list of considerations that you need to factor in so that you buy the best pitching machine as per your abilities.
1. Style of Machine
You’ll find that there’s a white variety of pitching machine styles in the market. However, arm action and circular wheel machines are the most common. Arm action machines imitate the overhand movement of a human arm to throw balls at the batter.
Circular wheel machines function like the wheel of a bike. Once a ball is put into the machine’s wheels, it proceeds to fire the ball out towards the batter.
2. Cost of Machine
The wide variety of machines available means they come with different price points. If you want to get a machine with loads of features, then expect its cost to be on the higher end. However, a highly-priced machine does not necessarily mean that it’s the best pitching machine.
3. How Do You Intend to Use the Machine
You need to assess what value the machine provides as per your requirements. There’s little benefit in getting a machine that costs thousands of dollars just to practice in your backyard when you’re free on Sunday afternoons. You can get much cheaper machines for that.
A lot of modern pitching machines are portable but they differ in the degree of portability largely because of their different weights. You’ll find machines weighing as heavy as 45 lbs with others weighing over 150 lbs. But it’s worth pointing out that most come with either wheels or a transport kit.
5. Age and Skill Level of Players
The age and skill of the people who are going to use the machine matters. Some machines shoot balls at high speeds and if you’re an under-12 coach, you don’t want curveballs or knuckleballs coming at the kids at 90mph.
6. Power Source
You’ll find there are both manual and electric machines in the market. Electric machines are more digitized and offer more in terms of controlling ball speed. Manual machines tend to be more portable as they’re lighter and don’t require a power source.
Spend Your Money Wisely
For most baseball fans, baseball is much more than a pastime activity. It’s a passion that grows from childhood. The experience of practicing with pitching machines plays a significant role in the development of many children; some who grow up to be pro ballplayers.
It’s not exactly a necessity as a bat or glove is, but pitching machines helps players better their game. There are many different types and brands of pitching machines and it’s vital that you understand the factors that will guide you to make the best value buy in the market.