Pitching machines for commercial use should focus on durability for prolonged daily use and allow for large ball hoppers to increase the number of balls that can be thrown per session (hopper size). The large hopper machines typically have the arm style throwing mechanism that only allows for fastballs to be thrown but the trade off is they are more consistent in pitch placement and can throw large quantities of balls due to the hopper size.
- You will want a machine that has a large hopper or a side containment apparatus that holds a large quantity of balls. The hopper allows balls to be auto-loaded into the throwing mechanism negating the need for the machine to be manually loaded (putting the ball directly into the pitching mechanism).
- Many large hopper machines have the an arm-style throwing mechanism.
- Most machines can be converted for both baseball and softball use.
- MasterPitch is one of the leading commercial use pitching machine manufacturers.
Pitching machines for residential use should focus on mobility and function. Pitch speed requirements will depend on skill and amount of usage. One factor to keep in mind is that you may not have the exact distance required for little league (46′) or high school and above (60’6″) mound distances. There are several resources available in order to calculate the speed adjusted to a custom distance. For example during the Little League World Series, you’ll often see the pitch conversion speed as adjusted to a major league distance. Which means a 70 mph pitch from the little league mound distance of 46′ would feel like a 92 mph pitch from a mound distance of 60’6″. Here are some things to consider for little league or youth pitching machines:
- Pitch speed
- Distance that the machine will be setup from the hitter
- The skill level or age of the hitter
- How easy will the machine be to move
- What types of balls will the pitching machine throw (e.g. real baseballs, poly balls, dimpled balls, etc.)
The types of pitches thrown will depend on the age of players. Younger players may only need to see fastballs to work on their contact skills while it would be highly recommended for older players to use machines that can throw breaking balls (curveballs, sliders, etc.). For older players it is also important to be able to see those different pitches so the hitting session doesn’t become too easy or basically allow the hitter to “just go through the motions.”
There are tons of differenct choices in machines available and the purchase is a long term investment. We’re always here to answer any questions you have on any machine.