Getting a well rounded practice plan together is essential for maximizing your time out on the field. Focusing on one aspect, or failing to mix up your routine will eventually lead to weak spots in your abilities. When trying to build a fun, yet challenging practice guide for yourself, or if you’re a coach trying to create one for your team, get creative! Pitching machine drills are a fantastic way to add something new while helping more timid players build confidence. If you’re seasoned and have years of experience playing baseball, you might think that a pitching machine wouldn’t be helpful but that’s not necessarily true. These tools allow you to change the speed, the arch and the distance of a pitch, allowing you to push yourself when trying to strengthen your batting skills. One way to know for sure is to simply try one, you might be surprised at how beneficial they can be!
This is a major part of being successful and something young players often lack. Being afraid of the ball is normal. It’s fast and can hurt if it hits you but shying away is a habit that needs to be broken. Pitching machines are wonderful for building up confidence as the batter will feel in complete control and wont have to worry about the unknown. Try setting the machine a good distance away and putting it on a slow setting, maybe even try using softer balls if the machine will allow, so if the batter does get hit, it won’t hurt as bad. Once that’s done, let the machine do the rest and have the batter focus on their swing and getting comfortable around the ball. It won’t take long before the fear starts to ebb and they’ll be ready for live throws again. Aside from building confidence, this is a fantastic drill for tweaking swing issues the batter might have.
Make a game of it. Bringing the team together for something different will not only be fun but will keep their attention as they try to learn how to work with the machine. Practice doesn’t have to be complex. Sometimes, simple drills are best. Line up your players to bat and set the machine at a steady pace. Allow each player to hit the ball and it’s pitched and continue to go through the line. Easy, simple, but effective. Whether you’re a player wanting to try a new technique or a coach looking to add diversity to their routine, knowing what type of machine to purchase is the first step. There are many different brands and styles, all meant for different levels of player. Some are easily moved, while others are heavier and more durable. Pitching machines are a fantastic tool and continue to help better the abilities of baseball players around the globe.