Can A Pitching Machine Improve Your Kid's Game?

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/28/2007 | Sports
If you have a youngster who loves baseball and is anxious to improve, you might consider investing in a pitching machine.

Nowadays machines can be had for as little as 150, and all the way up to several thousand dollars.

But will it improve your child's batting stroke?

A pitching machine can be a fairly large piece of equipment so you will need to supervise its use. It can provide hours of repetitive practice for your budding big leaguer, but it should only be used as a helpful tool, and not as a replacement for hands-on coaching.

One thing that must be considered is, if a kid is having a problem with his/her swing, a pitching machine won't necessarily help the problem, but actually may prolong it by reinforcing bad hitting habits.

On the positive side, being able to repetitively hit a baseball or softball will certainly help develop the proper hand-eye coordination required to successfully hit a ball.

One company that manufacturers its machines so that improving hand-eye coordination is a top priority is Personal Pitcher.

Personal Pitcher designs battery operated machines that use golf ball size whiffle balls. The theory here is that the hitter's goal is to hit the ball in its center, so used as a training aid, it doesn't matter if the size of the ball is a golf ball, baseball, or softball.

By using whiffle balls the machine is of a lighter weight and is supported by a simple camera tripod. Its lighter weight means kids can set it up in their back yard and practice their swing at just about any time.

A pitching machine can also serve a young player well by pitching ground balls for infield practice. Some models will also serve up fly balls so that young players, through repetition, can lose the fear of the ball hitting them as they try to catch popups.

Some resourceful coaches will also use a pitching machine to throw balls to infielders who then practice tagging out runners at their respective bases. The repetition is the key - through it, young players will improve their hand-eye coordination.

A pitching machine can be a great learning tool for aspiring young ballplayers. With the proper adult supervision, the machine can improve both offensive and defensive aspects of the youth player's game, along with increasing the player's enjoyability factor of baseball and softball.