Changing the Way You Practice

September 13, 2017

(The Evolution of the Baseball Pitching Machine)

“There have been a lot of changes over the course of the years, but none greater than the introduction of the third wheel to the traditional pitching machine, finally achieving the unobstructed vision and the resulting timing so critical to hitting.”

The first baseball pitching machines were arm machines that were unguarded, leading to some very tragic accidents. Arm machines then needed to be heavily guarded, limiting the vision advantage. Due to the enormous recoil generated by the arm, the machines had to be bolted to concrete pads, making them stationery and not available for field or fungo work. The strength of this design was some level of vision and timing. The weaknesses were that it was limited to only fastballs, completely immobile and still carried a concern for safety. Even today arm machines remain bulky and massive.

The innovation of the wheel machine saw the ability to throw curve balls as the ultimate feature in pitching machines. While the initial wheel machines threw curve balls, they ignored the need for portability and for guarding throwing wheels. Slowly improvements were made to introduce some portability and fungo capabilities, but essentially the basic design has stayed the same. The strength of these units was certainly the curve ball, but they required awkward and time consuming adjustments in order to change the type of pitch. One of the major deficiencies was the lack of the all important vision and timing feature. This meant that wheel-driven pitching machines at the higher levels of play were frequently considered just off-season tools, avoided during the season because it was felt they affected a hitter’s sense of timing.

And then Sports Attack introduced the Hack Attack….

Having concluded that the ultimate pitching machine should be accurate, have adequate velocity, throw breaking pitches, have fungo capabilities, be portable and above all, provide the all important vision and timing, the design team at Sports Attack went to work.

They began by identifying wheels as the most efficient ball throwing mechanism. Wheels can throw breaking pitches, provide accuracy, and deliver the much needed speed. But what made the Hack Attack unique was the use of a third wheel. The location of the three wheels visually opened the ball chute, allowing the hitter to see the ball through acceleration and release, providing complete vision and timing.

The third wheel eliminated the need to pivot the throwing head when changing pitches, allowing any breaking pitch to be instantly dialed in by simply changing wheel speed. Accuracy and ball control was also increased due to the increased amount of ball surface being captured. Additional benefits of the third wheel were a reduction of throwing wheel and ball wear.

The innovative design of the Hack Attack incorporated safety features that kept the operator protected from moving parts. Ease of vertical and horizontal controls became key for pitch location and fungo work. In addition, portability was improved, providing much needed mobility on and off the field and for storage.

With the validity of the timing element, even many coaches who avoided pitching machines all together in the past, now include them as an important tool in their daily practice…

Because of the features of the Hack Attack, major league coaches are now using a pitching machine not only all season in practices, but also prior to games in warm-ups. They are frequently setting the machine to simulate the pitches their hitters will be facing that night. Even pinch hitters are hitting off of the machine just prior to being called up. Taking notice, teams at all levels are replacing existing machines with the new Hack Attack.

Sports Attack
P.O. Box 1529 • Verdi, NV 89439 • 800-717-4251 • Fax: 775-345-2883

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