A fantastic tool for improvement as a hitter is a pitching machine. There are multiple kinds of pitching machines, each with a different emphasis.
One kind of machine throws a special type of machine-specific ball that allows the delivery of a near-perfect pitch, at the same speed, to the same spot, every time. Sounds ideal, yes? Well, if you want to groove your swing and increase your confidence, this type of machine is a wonderful tool, on occasion. In actuality, using a machine like this many times creates a false sense of confidence because in real-life, it is rare that a pitch arrives at the same speed in the same spot on 2 consecutive pitches, let alone dozens in a row. Often times, on this type of machine, a batter sees the ball all the way from pick-up to delivery and never has to estimate where the ball is being released. In addition, the special type of ball is harder and heavier in order to spin and move less, but this is a dangerous combination for a bat and you should never use your game bat on this type of machine because it is susceptible to dents. Bottom line - this type of machine is analogous to putting a ball on a tee, because you never have to adjust your swing in order to hit it. Sure, it's relatively easy to hit on this type of machine. But success on this type of machine does not necessarily equate to success in a real game versus a live pitcher.
Another type of machine delivers a real baseball. Because a real baseball has seams, a pitch from this machine will move up, down, and all around within the strike zone depending on how the swing-arm picks up the ball. Depending on the spin, the speed of each pitch has a slight variation. On occasion, a pitch will be out of the strike zone, and the batter has to decide whether to swing, or take. Just like a real game! In addition, this type of machine forces the batter to react quickly, due to the fact that the batter catches only a brief glimpse of the ball before it is delivered, much like when a pitcher performs a slide step and throws the ball without pause. In addition, it is safe to use a game bat with this type of machine. This type of machine, once you adapt to its variability, enhances the same skills you need to succeed in a game. Bottom line - this type of machine, while more difficult, is much more conducive to improving your tangible, real ability to track and hit a pitch.
Easy, or difficult? False results, or real results? False sense of confidence. or a legitimate belief in your ability to be great in a game? The choice is yours. The results of your choice will be revealed on the field of competition so choose with wisdom.
Note: Raising A Hitter uses the second, more difficult yet more realistic type of pitching machine. Realistic = real results. Try a real pitching machine today!