Will a pitching machine and a cage in my backyard really help develop my young hitter?
The fundamentals of baseball start with techniques for throwing, fielding, pitching and hitting. As a player’s game matures, fundamentals involved in team play become a big part of playing to your potential and being a winning player. Learning the fundamentals takes time and a lot of focus.
That focus, even with the youngest players, is where the mental and physical fundamentals begin. Fundamentals should never be taken for granted; winners continually refine all fundamentals, physical and mental. This is why proper training equipment is so valuable. A large percentage of Hack Attack machines are purchased for home use.
Even many major leaguers have machines and cages at home where they continue to develop their hitting skills during the off-season, as do many college and high school players. However, the majority of our backyard sales are for youth league players, often as young as eight years old.
How much room is required?
Most home situations do not allow for a full 70 foot cage. Effective hitting distance, that is a distance between the machine and home plate, can be as short as 45 feet.
As you shorten the distance, reaction time is shortened proportionately and you must decrease the speed of the ball delivery to compensate. It is interesting to note that much professional, college, and high school batting practice is taken at significantly shorter distances. We have been told that some exceptional coaches believe that even a cage the size of 35′ L x 14′ W x 12′ H, using either the Hack Attack or the Junior Hack Attack with either the regular size ball and the 7.5 small ball will give the hitter the same feeling as a 55′ -70′ cage.
The pitching machine can even be place outside of the cage. However, in general terms, Sports Attack recommends any distance between 48 feet and 60 feet.
What equipment do I need and what is the average cost?
You will need a pitching machine. We, of course, recommend either the Hack Attack or the Junior Hack Attack. See our baseball web page to help make that decision.
While a ball feeder is optional, most hitter want to practice alone. Both Sports Attack machines have ball feeders available in two sizes. (See baseball accessories page for details.)
You will need a protective screen to ensure safety for the machine operator, those are fairly easy to find and quality is comparable.
You will need a cage frame and netting. With netting, quality varies greatly; Sports Attack recommends a net weight of 36#. You can save a considerable amount of money if you build your own frame, but be sure to consider weather and soil conditions if you intend to keep the cage up over the course of several years. Some folks need to consider flooring alternatives. Sports Attack will not recommend one company over the other, but can suggest that a company based in New York called Just Baseball offers an exceptional backyard batting cage frame for permanent or portable uses. They would be a great place to start your research.
Then of course the obvious items include a home plate, balls and a bat. All of these items can be purchased through online catalogs or from your local sporting goods dealer.
What can I do myself?
You can easily prepare the ground surface. If you have a lawn as your base surface, the cage can be lifted in place to facilitate any necessary mowing. The batting area can be dirt, decomposed granite, or astro-turf. You can also dig holes for the frame posts and in preparation for concrete.
While you might not want to purchase all of the frame parts yourself, that is certainly an option. At the least you could purchase a kit that will allow you to construct the frame yourself.
Why are Sports Attack machines better?
Vision and timing is certainly the number one point of difference between our baseball and softball machines and our competitors. The second most important feature is that our units can throw any pitch in the game; in particular both the Hack Attack and the Junior will deliver a true breaking pitch, with realistic ball rotation/spin.
Then of course our machines are extremely accurate pitch after pitch, with enough mass to eliminate machine movement after pitch delivery, but compact enough to make both units exceptionally portable. The quality of our equipment, for every sport, is what our company has built our reputation on, everything made right here in the U.S. insuring complete quality control. (see our About Us web page) We have been around awhile and our machines are in most leading high school, universities and professional teams across the country, check out the bottom of the baseball web page for a map detailing our customers across the country.
Which machine should I order?
In general terms the Junior Hack Attack is for younger players but will work well for high school and college players if used at 50 feet or less. Also this unit can quickly be adjusted to throw a 7.5” ball for vision training. The Hack Attack can be used by all ages, including professionals, and at all distances. For a complete comparative chart of both units, please go to the Hack Attack/Junior Hack Attack baseball page.
Can I leave the machine outside?
Yes, if completely covered. Sports Attack sells a machine cover for some protection. Most large do-it-yourself hardware stores carry canvas or vinyl tarps. Recommended size is 7′ x 7′ tarp and two large 18” bungee cords to anchor tarp to machine.
How can I order?
While we have many support staff in the field, we do not sell through dealers or distributors. Just call Sports Attack or complete and submit an order form. You can pay using cash, check, Visa, Mastercard, or school purchase order.