Pitching Machine Versatility
While pitching machines are most often thought of as tools to aid in batting practice, there are other situations in which the right pitching machine can be an invaluable tool for the results-oriented coach or manager. Many modern pitching machines can be set to throw groundballs and fly balls which can be a great help in many situations ó two of which we discuss below.
As any coach who has tried to hit hundreds of fly balls or grounders with a fungo can tell you, consistency is not something easily achieved by a person. Thatís where a pitching machine like the Jugs Lite-Flite or Jugs Combo Machine comes in. By setting up a pitching machine like these two at each of our hypothetical testing stages, each individual can be consistently judged by the same set of criteria as everyone else. Letís take the groundball stage as an example. By setting the Jugs Combo Machine to throw grounders instead of pitches (a snap given its 360 degree swivel design), each player can be sent the exact same grounder. This allows for quick and accurate evaluation where it is easy to judge a playerís speed, reflexes, and mastery of baseball fundamentals. How is this playerís hand speed versus that playerís? Does this player properly set his feet and position himself well to take the grounder? With the right pitching machine, these questions become simple to answer with some basic observation and your draft picks will become obvious.
And the same technique can be used at all of our tryout stages. Throwing the same fly ball repeatedly quickly reveals which players can properly read the ballís flight path and who has the best foot speed. And a pitching machineís presence in the batting stage goes without saying. Do you want to throw 2,000 pitches in a tryout to evaluate bat speed, rate of contact, and power? We didnít think so. A pitching machine in a tryout is a tremendous asset in determining who is a natural outfielder or infielder, a power hitter or an Ichiro because of their consistency and versatility.
This article is just an overview of how a versatile pitching machine can help a team go from pretender to contender. We will discuss drills and more specific techniques in forthcoming articles, but if youíve just been thinking as a pitching machine as a tool in batting practice, we hope that this article has given you some ideas as to the many applications of a great machine like the Jugs Combo Machine for any municipal league, team, or individual player.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Carl Fogle is a longtime baseball coach at the high school and community college level. He is also the webmaster of http://pitching-machines.us and a leading expert in the use of pitching machines in the development of young baseball players.