There are many things that come to mind when we think of college. Many think of its original purpose, which is learning. There are still others who use it for social causes, like joining a sorority or a fraternity. Of course, another big thing that comes to mind is college sports, and baseball season is currently underway at universities across the nation. But as universities change their core practices and teaching methods, so too are sports teams changing their practices. While traditional practice methods still exist on those campuses, many are opting for mechanized practice alternatives. Especially when it comes to batting practice, more and more college campus teams are adding pitching machines to their workouts and mandatory practices. With this practice becoming more common, it is important to look at both the pros and the cons.
- Pitching machines allow more non-practice time to be devoted to the development of skills. If team members are spending time on their own practicing their hitting, that means less time spent on skill development during actual practices.
- They are a relatively low-cost alternative to human pitchers.
- Sometimes, pitchers at practices are not throwing at game speed. While all practice is better than no practice, it is best if the hitter can work with conditions that are comparable to a game, which pitching machines can do.
- Pitching machines are consistent. That means that batters can work on their swing rather than the mechanics of pitching.
- It can dredge up old bad habits or create new ones. When working with a batting cage, the consistency can cause batters to find workarounds to the machine’s pitching methods. The unpredictability of a human pitcher causes batters to not only have to work on their batting mechanics, but also have to learn to work with human error.
- Softball pitching machines do not teach the mechanics of the game like a coach or team practice can.
- All in all, more time at the batting cages means less time spent with teammates. Because baseball and softball are team sports, learning how to play it with the team and building team morale is essential.
Will college sports teams use of pitching machines help or hurt teams? There are pros and cons to using pitching machines, so it is hard to say one way or the other. Only time will be able to tell how this incorporation will impact teams in the future.