Which softball training equipment is best?
There are three bat and ball games played in the USA: hardball, fast-pitch softball and slow-pitch softball. All three games require players to have throwing, catching and batting skills. The players with the best skills in all three of these areas are the toughest competitors.
Practice is the best way to develop all three of these essential softball skills, and well-designed training equipment is the fastest way to improve strength, coordination and hand-eye dexterity. If you’re looking for training equipment that improves your throwing and fielding skills at the same time, take a look at the Franklin Sports Pitch Back Target and Rebounder.
What to know before you buy softball training equipment
Practice makes perfect
For many, practice can be a dreary activity. The best softball training equipment adds a fun dimension to the work, turning practice into active play.
Every softball player needs to have throwing skills. Outfielders need to be able to make long throws back to the infield. Infielders need to be able to make accurate throws to all four of the bases and pitchers need to be able to throw to small, precise targets in their efforts to throw the ball past the batter. All three of these positions benefit from developing stronger arms for increased strength and faster arm speeds.
Catching a thrown or batted ball in your mitt requires a great deal of hand-eye coordination. Skilled players learn to watch the ball very closely, “seeing” the ball into their glove. Catching skills are improved by drills, but also by softball training equipment that improves their coordination and their ability to see the thrown or batted ball in great detail. Softball training equipment should train the eyes and the brain as well as the hands.
Scoring runs is how games are won, and runs are produced by hits. Batting requires even greater eye-hand coordination than the other two core skills. Weighted bats develop stronger arms, hands and wrists that result in higher swing speeds and balls that are hit harder and farther. PVC plastic balls filled with sand provide instant feedback on players’ ability to consistently hit the ball on the sweet spot of the bat.
What to look for in quality softball training equipment
Wear and tear
Sports equipment gets a lot of wear and tear through heavy use. Look for softball training equipment that’s well-crafted out of quality materials for better performance and longer life.
Mental and physical training
When these two types of training are combined, softball players get more bang for their buck. Look for softball training equipment that improves not only hand-eye coordination and reaction time but instant recognition and rapid decision-making, too.
The ability to practice alone
Athletes aren’t always on the field with their teammates. They’re also in the gym, developing their coordination and getting stronger. Dedicated players want to be able to practice on their own, so look for softball training equipment that’s designed to be used by an athlete practicing alone. Look for devices like throwing nets that return your throws to you so you can field them when you have no one around to play pitch and catch with.
How much you can expect to spend on softball training equipment
Large throwing and hitting cages cost as much as $500. Multi-item training kits cost in the hundreds of dollars and simple one-piece training devices cost as little as $10.
Softball training equipment FAQ
Is there one piece of equipment that helps softball players improve their throwing, catching and hitting skills?
A. Catching and throwing are fielding activities that can be learned at the same time. Hitting is an altogether different activity. All three skill areas can be improved through equipment that teaches hand-eye coordination skills.
How long does softball training equipment last?
A. The answer depends on the quality of the equipment and how often and hard you use it.
What’s the best softball training equipment to buy?
Top softball training equipment
What you need to know: Improve your throwing and fielding skills at the same time with this two-in-one training system.
What you’ll love: Practice your pitching or throwing with this net that sends your throws right back to you so you can practice your catching skills, too. This 61-inch tall and 44-inch wide device is big enough to capture wayward throws. The lifelike and life-size catcher target is made of heavy-duty nylon that lasts for years. The rebound side is made of sturdy polyethylene and reinforced with a bungee netting system.
What you should consider: The rebounding speed poses few challenges to better players.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top softball training equipment for the money
What you need to know: Combine mental and physical training with play with this cleverly designed piece of training apparatus.
What you’ll love: This odd-looking piece of equipment is designed with three spokes attached to a center hub like a three-pointed star with rounded ends. Each of the spokes is a different color: red, yellow and black. Play catch with a friend by tossing the trainer in the air and calling out a color. Although the player on the receiving end can catch this training device by any of the three spokes, the goal is to catch it by the color the tosser called out. This focuses your attention and improves your hand-eye coordination.
What you should consider: This training device is too difficult for young kids.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Improve your batting skills by developing more consistent contact at higher speeds.
What you’ll love: The pitch speed of the high-visibility balls on this trainer can be adjusted by adding or removing the four power bands, making it a great training device for both slow-pitch and fast-pitch softball players. The steel frame is sturdy and durable, and the four legs with secure ground stakes provide great stability. This training device adjusts to virtually any player or ball position and is easy to set up, take down and store in the included carry bag.
What you should consider: To be completely stable, this training device must be staked into the ground, meaning it can only be used outdoors.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.