Pitching machines are an invaluable tool available to coaches and players for developing a high skill set in hitting. The sport’s best hitters, on all levels, have reached their maximum potential from practicing with baseball pitching machines. Having a focus for your practice will insure that you or your player’s skills improve significantly.
While it can be therapeutic going into the batting cages to focus on hitting without over-thinking, it is recommended that you map out what you’d like to accomplish as a player or an observing coach from your hitting session. Going into the cages to blow off steam is a fun thing to do, but it won’t do much good if you are aiming to become more competitive. So, have a plan of action before starting practice. Are you going to focus on improving speed? Or would you like to build hitting skills against difficult pitches, like sliders or curve balls? Commercial pitching machines have the ability to throw many different types of pitches, accurately and without getting tired…so use your practice time wisely and take advantage of this!
Focus on the fundamentals of the swing when you have time in the batting cage. You don’t have to worry about being in a pressurized game situation or having people fielding or chasing after foul balls during practice. Take the time to break down your swing and reactions to different pitches. Once you or your players have mastered this, then taking some time to simulate game hitting situations with the baseball pitching machines can be useful, too.
Another tip for powerhouse batting cage practice is to have coaches or swing consultants watching players and prepared to give feedback. Having an observer behind the batting cage nets, at all times, will cut down on bad habits being formed.
Using just some of these techniques will push the efficiency and effectiveness of your batting cage practice time to a whole new level. Practicing on pitching machines provide the opportunity to work on weaknesses, beyond just changing speed. Having strategies to get the most out of your time is integral. What are some of your best tips for effective practice with pitching machines?