The 5 Best Softball Pitching Machines

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BEST SOFTBALL PITCHING MACHINES

Your child has just come to you with his or her interest in softball. You know you want to do everything you can to help, and support their sudden interest. You search for the perfect team, you get all the necessary uniforms and equipment, but now you have to make time for practice.

You inspect the local batting cages, and then think about how you will set aside the time to travel to the cages. You know that with your work schedule and school, you won’t have much time, and then what if it rains on your only day off? There has to be an easy solution to this problem, because after all, you don’t want to miss the opportunity of seeing your child run through those bases on the field.

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Your friend at works suggests that you buy a softball pitching machine to make it easier for practice. The idea is great, but now you have to figure out which one to buy.

There are many things you will want to consider before making the big purchase. Where will the machine be used? Is there room in the back yard? If so, how much room will be needed. Perhaps there is a gymnasium you want to use, in that case you will need one that will work indoors. Is this machine one that will be transported often? With all these things in mind you will want to compare thoroughly.

THE FOLLOWING IS A LIST OF THE 5 BEST PITCHING MACHINES YOU MAY WANT TO CONSIDER:

JUGS Lite- Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball

JUGS Lite-Flite Machine for Baseball and Softball
  • Lightweight pitching machine for honing swings of up-and-coming hitters.
  • Throws 11 inch or 12 inch Lite-Flite softballs, Lite-Flite baseballs and the JUGS Bulldog polyballs
  • Simulates speeds up to 85 mph at 25 feet. Recommended Age- 8- Adult

This lightweight pitching machine is built for ages 5 to adult, and with its versatility, this machine is easy to use for practice in the backyard or on the field.

With the clever quick change design, it makes switching from softball to baseball a breeze, and the swivel base allows for hitting ground balls, pop ups, and fly balls.

This machine is used with softer type balls that won’t sting, making it one of the best choices for younger children who fear getting hit from a pitch.

With the competitive price, two nylon carrying bags that are included, and the 110-volt AC, this machine is a favorite amongst youth leagues, high schools, and college teams.

PROS

  • Lightweight for easy travel
  • Throws fastballs, fly balls, ground balls and pop-ups
  • Comes with two nylon carrying bags and a 2-year warranty

CONS

  • Throws only Lite- Flite and Bulldog baseballs and softballs
  • Balls are not included
  • Throwing real balls is not recommended

Heater Sports Combo Baseball / Softball Pitching Machine

Heater Sports Combo Baseball / Softball Pitching Machine with BONUS...
  • Converts easily from baseballs to softballs
  • Pitches slow or fast pitch softballs up to 56 MPH and baseballs up to 60 MPH
  • Variable speed control

If you have kids who enjoy playing both softball and baseball, this pitching machine from Heater Sports makes for a great investment. 

The product comes with variable speed control and is adjustable for pitch height, grounders, and pop-flys. It can be tricky to switch between softballs and baseballs, but once you get the hang of it the machine is fairly intuitive and easy to use.

Additionally, the machine includes a bonus ball feeder and works with 11 and 12 inch softballs, regulation baseballs, and lite-balls.

As for speed, it pitches slow or fast pitch softballs up to 56 MPH and baseballs up to 60 MPH. All in all, it’s a versatile and practical pitching machine your little ones will surely appreciate.

PROS

  • Bonus ball feeder
  • Converts from baseball to slow or fast pitch softball
  • Adjustable speed control for a variety of pitches
  • Durable, with great stability

CONS

  • Can be hard to switch from baseball to softball at first

Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine

Louisville Slugger UPM 45 Blue Flame Pitching Machine
  • Throws any type of ball, hard balls, fast pitch softballs, dimple balls, light flight, plastic and even soccer and...
  • Throws hard balls from 18 to 45 mph with easy to adjust speed controls. And throws light flight and plastic balls up to...
  • Throws a level pitch to help teach proper swing mechanics. Extremely accurate for throwing strikes, fly balls and even...

This lightweight machine is convenient enough for travel from place to place, and the ability to use without electricity or batteries makes it possible to use almost anyplace.

With the strong capability of throwing almost any type of ball imaginable, this machine can handle speeds from 18 to 45 mph when throwing out regulation sized hard balls, and an even faster speed of up to 60 mph when throwing out light flight and plastic balls.

The Louisville Slugger will assist with training proper swinging techniques and practice hitting perfect strikes, grounders, and fly balls.

At a fair price and high quality, coaches love this training machine and so will the kids.

PROS

  • Lightweight and easy for travel
  • Can throw any type of ball including soccer and volleyballs
  • Completely manual, does not require electricity or battery

CONS

  • This machine can be a little more difficult for younger children to operate
  • Not one of the better machines for operating indoors

First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine

First Pitch Baseline Pitching Machine
  • The baseline Baseball/softball pitching machine is a great choice
  • The baseline features a swivel base, reversible legs
  • Up to 70 MPH

Although this pitching machine is the highest in price of all, it still rates below average in cost.

With its small size and easy- to- transport package, this machine is versatile enough to use at home or on the field. Set it up inside a gymnasium for year round practice.

Use regular sized softballs or baseballs to practice hitting fly balls, or perfect your home run hit at speeds of up to 70 mph.

The high quality, performance, and cost of this machine, makes it the one of the best choices on the list.

PROS

  • Faster speed than the others
  • Swivel base with reversible legs
  • Can be used with real softballs and baseballs

CONS

  • The highest priced on the list

BSN Bulldog Baseball/ Softball Pitching Machine

BSN Bulldog Baseball/Softball Pitching Machine
  • Speed: 30-60 mph. Lightweight design lets you move the pitching machine around with ease. Power Source- Electric
  • Throws baseballs, 11'' and 12'' softballs
  • Runs on 110 volt AC or generator 1/4 HP D.C. motor

Another great choice to consider is the BSN Bulldog Pitching Machine. With this machine, you have the option of using real 12 inch softballs or 11 inch baseballs, or choose to use rubber balls while practicing.

The capability of throwing out balls from speeds from 30 to 60 mph, and the ability to practice hitting fly balls, makes this an all-around must have for the backyard or field practice.

The legs are built and designed for the easy transformation from baseball to softball, and the durability of the urethane wheel helps to rid air pressure problems.

This pitching machine runs on 110-volt AC or a generator with ¼ HP D.C. motor.

This BSN pitching machine will pay for itself when your child hits the winning ball at every

game.

PROS

  • Can be used with real 12” softballs and 11” baseballs
  • Throws fly balls
  • Heavy duty legs that are easily adjusted to baseball or softball

CONS

  • Higher in price than some of the others

There you have it, 5 of the best softball pitching machines. Make sure you check out the best slowpitch softball bats as well.

Featured image by Pexels

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The Absolute Best Softball Bats Buyer’s Guide: Read Before You Buy

Best Softball Bats Reviews

Softball is a wonderful sport, one that is all about fun and fitness.

However, you can’t play softball without the proper equipment. And, one of the most important pieces of equipment that you will need is a good softball bat.

Many people wonder how to find the best softball bats. Fortunately, it isn’t all that hard. By reading some reviews online, doing a little research, and shopping around, you should have no problem narrowing down the best softball bats and, from there, picking the right one for your needs, especially not if you know what to look for.

Remember, Color is Not Important

One of the big mistakes that people make when choosing a softball bat is caring only about how the bat looks.

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However, what a bat looks like really isn’t important. Sure, it’s okay to want a bat that is decently attractive, but things like color, design, and stickers really are not important.

DeMarini Vendetta WTDXVCF 1830-17 -12 Softball Bat, 30'/18 oz

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So, don’t be tricked into buying a “bad bat” because it looks pretty on the outside. Pay more attention to things like quality, durability, and being made by a brand that you can trust. These are the kinds of things that are going to get you a good bat, not just one that looks good.

Consider Height and Weight as You Buy

Many people, especially those new to softball, are not aware that buying the best softball bats involves knowing your measurements.

What size bat you will need will depend greatly on your height and weight. By taking these measurements into account, you can ensure your bat isn’t too heavy or too light, that it sits comfortably when you hold it, and that it will always be at the height that you need.

EASTON Pink Sapphire -10 Girls / Youth Fastpitch Softball Bat 26 inch...

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There are many charts available that show what players of different heights and weights need in terms of a bat, so use a chart and your measurements to choose the right bat every time.

Get a Bat That’s Long Enough

As mentioned above, your height and weight both play a role in determining what size bat you will need.

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However, in addition to these factors, you want to make sure that the bat is long enough to fit you comfortably. You can figure out if it is by placing the bat’s knob at your chest and extending the barrel outward.

If you find that you can touch the bat’s end with your fingertips, then your bat is the right size. If you can’t or if you do so too easily, i.e. without a stretch, your bat is either too long or too short.Right sizing is important, so, when possible, try this little trick before you buy.

Remember to Do What’s Right for You

A lot of the time, coaches will have a particular bat that they strongly recommend or even push on their players. And, even when the pressure to buy a particular bat doesn’t come from the coach, you might get it from your teammates or the sales clerk at the local sporting goods store.

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However, bear in mind that which bat you should use is a highly personal thing. A bat that works great for someone else may not work for you. So, with that said, don’t give in to pressure.

Buy the bat that you truly want and need to help you excel at the sport. Nothing else and nobody else matters.

Easton Topaz -10 Fastpitch Softball Bat | 33 inch / 23 oz | 2019 | 1...

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Don’t Allow Your Bat to Weigh You Down

Another tip to keep in mind as you shop for the right softball bat is to avoid going for a bat that is too heavy.

This is something that happens to people all the time. They buy a bat with a little extra “heft” and then find that they have trouble lifting it, let alone swinging it.

Softball Player

Some people even do this on purpose in an effort to get stronger, but it’s not a smart move. A too-heavy bat will be a literal drag, not just on the field but every time you have to carry it to a game too.

You don’t want your bat to be so light that it has no real weight and strength to it, but being too heavy is even worse, so be honest with yourself as you assess what size bat you need.

If You Struggle with Shaking, Go With a Composite Bat

Shaking hands are never a good thing for a softball player. When the hands shake or vibrate, so does the bat those hands are holding, and this can negatively affect your game.

Composite Bat

If you are someone who struggles with shaking and not being able to hold a bat securely, give a composite softball bat a try. These are known for being firmer and less shaky than their aluminum counterparts.

As you can see, a lot of thought needs to go into selecting the right bat. However, as long as you put that thought and care in, you can easily find the right bat to meet your needs.

How To Pitch A Softball For Beginners

There are two types of softball games. There’s the classic weekend slow pitch beer league that you may participate in with friends or co-workers. Then there’s the fast pitch softball where the speed of the pitching will make your head spin. Both look very different and there is a time and place for each type of pitching style. However, there are a lot of similarities between fast and slow pitch. Just like learning to walk before you can run; it’s often helpful to learn how to slow pitch before you move onto fast pitch.

Slow Pitching a Softball

a girl wearing a softball gloves and preparing to throw the softball

If you have dreams of winning your beer league championship and you want to be your team’s MVP then you will want to learn how to pitch a softball like a true champion. Good slow pitch players can make the game look easy but throwing a strike on a consistent basis is much easier said than done. Standing on the mound and staring down the batter is enough to make many people nervous.

First, you should make sure you have a good understanding of your local rules. In most slow pitch leagues you are aiming to hit the home plate mat below the batter. In addition, there are typically rules that dictate how high you can throw the ball. Before you learn how to pitch a softball you need to make sure you know the rules you’re working with.

In slow pitch leagues you are not allowed to wind up before throwing. This means that you cannot generate the same kind of speed you see in fast pitch. In order to get the ball to the mat and earn a strike you must throw the ball in an arc.

The best way to make an accurate throw is to ensure your momentum is always moving forward. Holding the ball, bring your throwing hand back just above waist height. Now, as you begin to move your hand forward, be sure to step into the throw to generate momentum. Release the ball on the upswing of your pitching motion to get that nice arc shape.

When you begin, you will find you lack accuracy. There is no way to understand the power needed without practice time. The amount of power you need to put into your pitch will also change based on conditions like wind.

Fast Pitching a Softball

a woman about to throw the softball

Some of the basic motions from slow pitch apply to fast pitch but there are a lot of differences between the two styles. In fast pitch you are aiming for a strike much like in baseball. Instead of attempting to hit the mat like in slow pitch you want to send the ball over the home plate between the batter’s knees and shoulders. This is called the strike zone.

Generating the power to drive the ball through the strike zone while maintaining accuracy is a difficult task. Much like in slow pitch, you want to ensure that your momentum is moving forward. In addition, you need to have a strong grip on the ball so that you don’t release the ball too early before you have completed the motions.

If you are pitching with your right hand then your left leg will be your “kick” leg. Line up with your right foot on the front of the rubber and your left foot on the back. As you begin your motion you will pull your pitching hand back to waist height. Now, you use forward momentum to generate power. Bring your arm forward to waist height and kick your left foot forward along the ground while pushing off using your right foot.

Turn your body so that your hips are facing your target as you continue the throwing motion. Your arm will make a full circle through the air to generate as much pitching power as possible. Once your throwing hand reaches your hip you want to snap your wrist forward and stabilize your body. Be sure to follow through even after releasing the ball to help keep your throwing motion on target.

Much like with slow pitch, your first fast pitch attempt may not be a clean strike. Learning the motions and the power needed to hit the strike zone is an essential part of learning how to throw a softball.

Practice Makes Perfect

photo focused on the softball thrown

Learning how to pitch a softball is not an overnight task. There is a lot of practice required to learn the motions and the power needed to throw a strike every time you face down a batter. Want to get better? Get out there with a friend and start throwing!