Although some hitting instructors sware by wiffle ball pitching machine training, others remain a bit more skeptical. Some folks feel a steady diet of wiffle balls can promote bad habits and swing mechanics. Transferring to a real baseball, an object 10 times heavier, can be a challenge for some little leaguers if practice is too focused on light balls. Sure, these are valid points. But the benefits of supplemental training using a smaller ball far outweigh the costs in our mind. Below we’d like to outline some of those benefits of utilizing a wiffle ball pitching machine over the more traditional (and expensive) softball or baseball machines.
The largest and most obvious advantage concerns hand-eye coordination. Most wiffle balls are the size of a golf ball, making the swing motion in order to hit one much more precise. In order to do so, your focus and hand-eye mechanics need to be incredibly synced the minute that ball emerges. Since these are light balls, you’re proximity to the pitching machine is only 10-15 feet and so quick reactions are a must. A quick snap of the wrist, combined with solid footwork and a keen eye are all things you’ll need to perfect in order to make contact with these smaller balls. Likewise, these basic mechanics naturally carry over into any game setting which make wiffle ball pitching machines a supreme advantage.
Now your typical season for outdoor baseball or softball last only half the year before it becomes too cold to bear or threatens the integrity of your equipment. That means you have to move indoors and we can assure you, your principals and athletic directors won’t let you bring your batting practice into the gym! Nor will you, mom and dad, allow junior to “swing away” in the unfinished basement. The cost of an indoor facility alone makes these pitching machines worth the money. 1-2 months of practice at your local batting cages will essentially cover the cost associated with one of these machines. And the beauty is – you can take it home with you! Which brings me to our last, important advantage of wiffle ball training…
More swings = more money. Ok, so it’s not that cut and dry; we have no specific evidence that an increase in batting practice will elevate your game to an elite, major league status. It will, however, greatly improve your game. A normal pitching machine may hold 10-20 balls at one time, making clean-up a full time job. In contrast, a wiffle ball machine can hold upwards of 150 balls, which makes your per-session swings 100-150% higher. Seeing a much smaller ball over and over again will also make a regulation-sized baseball or softball seem like a watermelon! And ask any pro: if a 90 mph fastball looks like a watermelon being hurled your way, chances are you’ll be more apt to make solid contact.
So in essence, more cuts on a smaller surface will bring you greater success in the batter’s box. Now at Pitching Machines USA, we certainly do not recommend using a wiffle ball pitching machine as your sole means of batting practice. But the advantages and reduced cost associate with one far outweigh the negative characteristics your game will see. And that is some knowledge you can take to the bank.