Coaching: ATEC Pitching Machine Defensive Drills
The ATEC line of pitching machines is not for everyone. Known as the “Official pitching machine of Major League Baseball” it truly is an advanced machine. ATEC in my opinion has an “advanced machine” price tag on it as well. However, with that price tag you are getting a lot of machine. ATEC machines come with highly advanced technology and offer many features that can take your ball player or team to the next level.
I have never used the ATEC Rookie Pitching Machine personally, however recently witnessed a practice where one was being used and have to admit I was very impressed. First off, it is lightweight at 56 pounds and was being moved around the field multiple times during the practice with ease. It was moved from home plate, to the edge of the outfield grass, and then finally to the batting cage that sits right off the field. Although I did not help move it myself, it did look easy from where I was sitting. I would definitely classify this machine as portable.
In the practice I watched, the coach spent the first portion of on defensive drills (after the boys warmed up throwing and stretching). He used the ATEC Rookie machine primarily for defensive drills. He did ground balls using the machine around the infield and then did fly balls to the outfield. He made these routine for a few rounds. He then did ground balls focusing all on the backhand and fly balls all going to the outfielder’s right. Then he did ground balls focusing on the forehand and fly balls going to the outfielder’s left. Then it was pop-ups between third/short/left field and pop-ups between second/first/and right field working on pop up communication. All of these defensive drills were done by simply swiveling the head and rotating the machine back for fly balls. He did not physically move the machine. After the defensive work was completed they rolled the ATEC Rookie to the outfield for fly balls with the outfielders and then rolled it into the batting cage for batting practice.
All of these defensive drills took about 15 minutes to complete and the precision he was able to place the ball was pretty impressive. There was a bucket behind first base for the first basemen to drop balls into versus throwing back to the catcher and the coach had a bucket of baseballs with him to feed the machine. This helped to speed up the drills and was a very effective way to do the team defensive drills portion of a practice. This is just a small sample of the various drills this machine can be used for. Considering he was also able to use it for batting practice the remainder of the practice I think this coach is deffinetely getting his moneys worth!
- Ashley Hewitt