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Friday, February 20, 2009

Two Myths Concerning Baseball Batting Cages

Two Batting Cage Myths that are simply not true are (1) A Batting Cage must be long for it to be usable for all ages and (2) A batter must see 75 miles per hour pitches to receive maximum benefit from cage work. Coach Dixon discusses how many batting cage buyers are mistaken or misled in buying or building a new baseball batting cage. Two Batting Cage Myths that are simply not true:

1. Batting Cage Myth Number One - A Batting Cage must be long for it to be usable for all ages.

This is simply not true. Players of all ages, even the high school and collegiate levels can benefit from batting practice in batting cages that are 35 to 50 feet in length. A batting cage does not have to be 70 feet long for it to beneficial to advanced players. The reason for this is that long-toss, front-toss and various other batting practice drills can be performed at distances under the regular pitching distances. When batters take swings at pitches thrown at 35 feet, the batter is seeing and reacting to pitches that simulate higher speeds at the normal pitching distance. The player must perform the swing with the proper trigger, separate, and load actions. All of these elements of the swing must be done at the same speed, rhythm, and timing as under normal game hitting.

2. Batting Cage Myth Number Two - A batter must see 75 miles per hour pitches to receive maximum benefit from batting cage batting practice.

Most hitters at all levels of play including high school, college, and pros would rather see and hit live arm pitches at 45 miles per hour at 30 feet than pitches thrown by a machine at 75 miles per hour. Live-arm batting practice is batting practice thrown by a person not a machine. We must remember that advanced batters benefit most from seeing pitches thrown by a person. The batter must pick-up the pitcher arm-slot, the pitcher release point and time the speed of the pitch thrown. When a person is throwing batting practice the speed and location of every pitch can be changed. It is also a fact that many people are not adept at throwing strikes at longer distances. However, most people can throw an accurate pitch for a strike from 30and 40 feet distances. The batter gets more work in because more pitches are hittable. Not as much time and effort is wasted by with bad pitches out of the strike zone. The shorter distance makes the workout more efficient.

What does this all mean to you as a batting cage buyer?

You do not have to buy a 70 feet long cage with an expensive pitching machine to get incredible benefits from owning a batting cage. The 70 foot long batting cage is great for team or institutions because it can be divided into two 35 feet mini batting cages that allow two batters to work at a time. So there is a benefit to owning a longer cage if you are buying it for a school or team use. But, for the average home user, a 45 to 55 feet cage is suitable for all drills, batting practice, and applications that you will need for your player to be successful through the high school level. In my opinion, many people become discouraged from buying a batting cage because they feel they must buy a 70 feet cage with a $2000 pitching machine. They feel they must spend $3000 to $5000. This is not true. You can get all the practice they need by buying a batting cage and frame with an investment under $800. If at some time later you decide to purchase a machine, you can always do so. I think it is important to realize that the batting cage you buy will be used for a variety of batting drills. The function of the batting cage is safety, ball containment, and practice efficiency. The batting cage is no better than the parent or coach that dedicates time for its use. If you use it, you will experience incredible results. It will be a wise investment. Kids can not use the batting cage without parental or adult supervision and participation. If you do not have the time to spend with your player in the cage, you would be better advised to buy a self-contained solo-practice device such as the BatAction Seft-Trainer Hitting Machine.

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Hello Baseball Friend,
I welcome any comments or suggestions. If you have a question or a topic that you would like to read about, please leave a comment and I will try to address that topic as soon as I can. Good luck in the coming season!
Have a great day, Nick