“I can’t hit off pitching machines!” If you’re involved in the softball world you have probably heard those words put together in a sentence from a frustrated player before. In the younger age groups, pitching machines are used to evaluate the hitting portion of tryouts. Until someone figures out something else, it’s the most “fair” way to evaluate the younger kids. Club ball tryouts are a little different, where hitters get live at-bats off pitchers in scrimmages. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be a very productive try out for the younger kids.
More times than not, as players get older, coaches and instructors will recommend front toss and live at-bats over the use of pitching machines as a form of hitting practice. Pitching machines just can’t simulate a live at-bat and those who only practice hitting off machines tend to struggle when they step in the box for a live at-bat. Here are three reasons why pitching machines aren’t a reliable practice tool in softball: