Baseball is one of the most popular sports in America. It is so popular that it is considered a national pastime. In spite of this, the USA is not the only country in the world where baseball is played, in fact, the sport is increasingly popular across the world. Regardless of your location in the world, you can still learn the skills you need to have to enjoy and participate in the sport. To learn how to pitch a ball, you need to be dedicated, understand how the game works and love the game enough to bother to learn in the first place.
There are two ways to learn how to hit the ball, by human pitching or using a pitching machine. When human pitches, a person (usually a coach or a fellow player) pitches the ball for you to hit. A pitching machine, on the other hand, is a machine designed to automatically pitch a baseball to a batter at varying styles and speeds. The vast majority of pitching machines have to be fed the ball by hand, although there are those that are automatically fed. Pitching machined come in different types; from softball to baseball to youth to adult or even a combination of softball and baseball.
Learning to hit using a pitching machine is considered highly beneficial by most people. However, there are a few very notable disadvantages. Perhaps the biggest and most prominent (and the most controversial for that matter) is the consistency. The pitching machine will pretty much throw all its balls consistently. No human pitcher, no matter how good or talented, will ever throw pitches that are consistent. So if a batter learns to hit only by using a pitching machine, the batter’s ability to accurately and speedily react to different pitches will be affected. That being said, using a pitching machine to learn how to hit will give you significant advantages as a player; from learning to hit a ball to improve your position, swing, and stance while playing the sport.
To learn how to hit using a pitching machine, you’ll need to be equipped with the following (in addition to the machine of course):
- Baseball bat. You can’t learn to play baseball without a bat. The bat is what you will use to hit the ball.
- This is a very important part of any diamond or baseball field or even the back of your house where you’re practicing your baseball waiting for the day you get a chance to shine in MLB.
- For safety purposes, it is not advisable to practice or play baseball without a helmet. It’s for your good so do not skimp out on this safety tool.
Learn how to hit using a pitching machine
The first thing to do is to set the machine’s accuracy. You want to make sure that the accuracy of the machine is set to pitch directly into the middle of the plate. The batter, of course, will remain in the batter’s box but setting the accuracy in the middle of the plate should make sure that you have the best chance of hitting the ball. Also, when you play against others, the middle of the plate is where the ball is most likely to hit, so you’re set either way.
The pitch from the machine is consistent and flawless. While this is the reason most people don’t like using the machines, it gives you a chance to work on your timing. If you’re just learning how to pitch, this is an invaluable benefit to you, and if you’ve been playing for a while, it’ll ground you in the mechanics of the sport. The timing here refers not just to the timing of the swing – although that is certainly important. By using the pitching machine, you learn when to move the weight of your body from the back foot to the front. You also learn how to rotate the core of your body and when and how to move your hips to hit the ball. Hitting the ball is a full body activity in baseball.
You can also use the machine to practice your swing. Have whoever is helping you feed the machine switch up speeds on you without informing you. This will help you get better at swinging and lets you learn how to naturally compensate for the differences that you will face in an actual game. Use the opportunity to learn proper swing and posture. It is vital to follow through on all your movements, which is the only way to truly learn how to hit.
After you’ve gotten comfortable hitting the pitches that land in the middle of the plate, you might want to try repositioning the machine’s accuracy so that the ball lands somewhere around the corner of the plate instead. Not every pitch that gets thrown your way during a game will be perfect, not every pitch will land exactly where you want it to. Use the machine to learn how to deal with these not-so-perfect pitches. You might also try tweaking the height a little so that the pitch lands near the edge of the strike zone.
One of the most important skills you will need to play baseball is discipline and consistency. These positive habits are critical and need to be focused on as much as learning the physical skills. The very consistent, highly dependable pitching machine is perfect for learning this set of competencies. Use it to learn your rhythm and learn how to hit pitches consistently.
If you can learn to break up the rigidity of the machine towards the end of your practice. Have someone pitch you the ball. It doesn’t have to be exceptionally done, but it will help you learn how to adapt to the different situations that will happen on the field. It will also help you learn how to recognize different strikes and balls. A pitching machine can be all you need to learn how to hit properly, but whatever you do, don’t forget to have fun.
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