Unique Perspective: First Pitch Pitching Machines
At a price tag of $399 this machine is ideal for little kids. It will throw top speeds of 45 MPH, which at regulation distances will be good for kids up to 9 years old. That sounds like a big investment for only getting use until the age of 9, however I think this machine can be adapted to use all the way up to high school.
As I have been coaching longer I have adapted and started using pitching machines for my defensive drills. I am of the opinion that repetition is the key to developing skills. When I see a weakness in a player I like to work on that weakness with repetition. I found the accuracy of a pitching machine is a key in working on weaknesses. For example if an outfielder has a weakness on coming in on the ball it is very easy to set the Relief Pitcher to shoot fly balls in a spot that will consistently work on this. If a catcher has a weakness of blocking pitches this machine can be set to throw the ball in the dirt consistently for the catcher to work on blocking. As much practice as I have hade hitting fly balls and throwing the ball in the dirt I just can’t be as accurate as a machine! Catchers blocking the ball, pop ups for catchers, pop ups communication for infielders/outfielders, outfielders catching fly balls in the alley, backhand for infielders are all drills that benefit greatly with the accuracy of a pitching machine. The First Pitch Relief Pitcher is machine enough for all of these drills.
Now 45 MPH is not enough for batting practice for older kids, however when I throw batting practice at my advanced age I am throwing it from around 45 feet. If you move this machine up to around 40 feet it will simulate speeds up to 70 MPH. This is not even the speed of an average high school fastball, however it is a good speed to work on hitting mechanics. This machine can be a great compliment to tee work, soft toss, and live hitting in scrimmages. It is a great machine to get the kids ready for a game and when used right is a great investment!
- Matt Kiley