"You can't think and hit at the same time." - Yogi Berra
Hall of Famer Yogi Berra is known for being one of the greatest baseball players of all time - he is also known for his many "Yogism's"; an often paradoxical quip that leaves someone more confused after hearing it. But the Yogism above is one that makes perfect sense to a baseball player.
Batting practice on a pitching machine allows a hitter to become automatic when facing a live pitcher. A great hitter does not step into the batter's box and contemplate the importance of weight distribution or the plane at which their hands need to approach the ball. Instead, they are focused on finding a good pitch to hit, while relying on their muscle memory to take care of the mechanics. A pitching machine is an essential tool for any baseball or softball player who wants to become an automatic hitter; hence Yogi's thought, "You can't think and hit at the same time."
Choosing the right machine is important. So how do you decide which machine is right?
Depending on the size and setup of your yard, the type of machine you want can vary. If you don't have a cage and you have a small or average size suburban yard, you will need a machine that throws soft and light balls. Here are a few you might want to check out:
If you're part of a youth or little league and are looking for a new machine for practice or an on-field "pitcher", you have many options. Most importantly, you want to chose a machine that will throw fastballs, up to at least 50 mph, that can throw consistent strikes. Portability is also a crucial aspect to choosing a youth or little league pitching machine. Because you'll probably be wheeling it on and off the field to games and practices, make sure you go with a machine that is pretty light weight and easily mobile. Here are a few machines to consider:
If you are an Athletic Director or a high school baseball or softball coach, you have a lot of options when it comes to the right machines for your players. And if you're a smaller school, and you're on a tight budget, there are still a lot of options for you in the combo (baseball/softball) market. For a high school baseball team or high school age players, you will want a machine that can throw upwards of 80 mph, and you'll probably want a machine that can throw curveballs. At this level, hitters will start facing really tough pitching, so being able to hit different pitches is important. For a softball team, the same is true. Pitchers are much more developed at this level and it is crucial that hitters are able to get familiar seeing different pitch types. Here are a few machines to check out: