Homemade Baseball Training Equipment
Homemade Baseball Training Equipment
OK, so most people do not have a backyard batting cage but other baseball training equipment can do the job. Many ways exist to help your young ballplayers improve their baseball play. For a lot less money than most store-bought gear, you can make workable sports equipment for baseball that will show up in game results.
It is the indoor season for many baseball players around the country, who live in cold weather areas. Even for those who can play ball outside year-round, having some homemade baseball training equipment can make the offseason worthwhile and easier on the pocketbook.
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Simple to make baseball training equipment can make a big difference with player development. Coaches and parents often implore kids to practice more. What adults do not realize is that often kids do not know what to practice. This situation can be solved by using baseball training equipment that automatically gives them ways of practicing. Numerous training aids in the marketplace help develop baseball skills. The problem is that many of them are costly and often do not last very long. The good news is that many of these baseball-training equipment aids, made at home at little cost, work just as well.
This baseball training equipment is for use inside or outside, and for in and out of season. In other words, there is no reason to go out and spend a lot of money on baseball training equipment that you can make on your own for little cost. Additionally, with a little ingenuity, this homemade baseball training equipment will last as long as the store-bought stuff or until your child no longer wants to practice at home anymore, which may come first.
The important baseball skills of hitting, fielding, throwing, and pitching need only a small area and with a few homemade baseball-training aids, this practice can show great results. Of course, it is important to make sure the practice area is safe.
Inexpensive Baseball Training Equipment
Homemade backstop – inserting a few grommets (bought from the hardware store) into an old sheet or blanket will suffice as a backstop for hitting and throwing needs. These homemade backstops can be hung from a couple nails or with a little twine from an above, steady structure. For a few dollars more, people can buy vinyl car tarp at a hardware store, which is still much cheaper than buying baseball netting.
Substitute for batting tee – homemade baseball aid
Batting aid – There is no better hitting-training aid than a baseball-batting tee. The problem is that those can be expensive and often break easily. Picking up a plastic cone at the local department store can serve the same purpose as a batting tee and players can use an empty bucket or pail to set the cone on for higher pitches, along with the above-made backstop for hitting balls into.
Drilling a hole through any type of ball and running a strong rope through it, is like many store-bought hitting devices, is also a possibility. But, it is worth noting that any ball that you cannot see the flight of it, is not as good as using the self-made batting tee. Careful attachment of the ball is necessary, so the ball cannot fly off the rope. As long as there is enough room to swing, this device is nice as you do not have to worry about batters missing the backstop. You must be mindful of any at-home hitting where hard balls are in use because they can cause serious damage when players miss the backstop.
Homemade balls – When you are worried about nearby objects being broke when players hit hard baseballs, have them use a sock ball instead of a real baseball for all hitting, throwing, and fielding drills. The softer balls add extra safety at little cost. An old sock or rolled up newspaper covered with some duct tape can suffice as a ball. These are safe enough to do any short flip work too when there is room as well as for outside.
Homemade bat – Ball players, who grew up in many years ago, often played neighborhood baseball with a stick bat. Finding an old broomstick around the house and cutting it to a size of a bat or smaller works. Adding a little athletic tape on the grip side of the stick will prevent a slippery bat. This lightweight stick is also great for performing one arm drills and help hand-eye coordination, too, as contact is more difficult with the thinner batting device. This lightweight bat is also good for over-under hitting drills, where players swing the light stick, their regular bat and a heavy bat. This over-under training can add bat speed when used over a long period. For a weighted bat, you can wrap some pliers around the bat barrel as long as it is securely taped to the bat.
Homemade throwing aid – A dish towel can take the place of a ball for throwing arm actions, where players practice throwing by slapping the towel on a placed object in the direction of the target. Towel throwing drills for pitchers can be found online too and help for throwing mechanics and loosening of the arm. Wetting the towel, before squeezing the water out, is a good way to strengthen the hands. A wet towel also adds weight to the towel for over under throwing drills, which work similar to the bat speed drills mentioned above. Of course, one can use the homemade baseball backstop to throw baseballs into also.
Homemade fielding aid – Taking an old baseball glove and taking the leather lacing out of it will provide a “flat glove” which is great for fielding drills. This transforms the glove into one of those “mitts” from the early days of baseball, and one that really helps players learn to have soft hands when catching a ball. Using the basement or garage wall to flip balls off for practicing with this self-made glove works great.
Homemade footwork aid – A two by four or four by four piece of wood, approximately 5 feet long, can suffice as balance beam to work on the correct balance and footwork when throwing and hitting. This device is great for developing balance and direction when hitting and throwing. Used like a gymnastics balance beam for hitting and throwing, repetitions on this self-made wooden beam shows immediate hitting and throwing improvement.
Most logical baseball training aid
Of course, this is not something one has to make at home because everyone has one readily available nowadays. Using one’s cell phone to video player’s baseball moves is useful. You can video their swings, throws and fielding actions to review from time to time. Additionally, you can use the cell phone to look up videos on YouTube to compare your son or daughter’s actions too. This is a great way to help players improve and they may enjoy seeing how their swing compares to one of the great hitters like Mike Trout.
Other at-home baseball training aids
As with the cell phone talked about above, other sports equipment found in the home can be used for at-home baseball training without having to go out and buy new expensive equipment. Any softer type balls, even nerf balls, are great for developing hand-eye coordination. Flipping these balls to kids and having them catch them with their glove hand and fingers up is great for development and learning to catch the ball correctly. Likewise, doing the same with rolled balls can help them learn to field grounders. The softer balls are terrific for teaching young players how to get under and catch flyballs because they will not hurt them if they miss the ball. A room with a tall ceiling can work for this drill or outside, of course.
A good size mirror is great for teaching kids the game as well as for allowing them to see their actions as they do them. Swinging an imaginary bat, throwing a make-believe ball and setting up in fielding position can help players see and feel their movements.
One of my favorite indoor baseball drills is having players lie on their back and flip balls in the air. Their goal is to get as much backspin on the ball as possible and practice flipping balls higher and higher without having to move to catch the ball. This drill can be done standing up or on one’s knee when more above-space is available. Few drills are better for creating the correct backspin and control of the ball for young players whose hands are still quite small. The ability to keep the middle finger through the center of the ball is valuable as they learn the right throwing fundamentals.
Finally, little space is needed to have players get on their knees as you roll groundballs to them. This indoor drill will help them get their hands out front and see the ball all the way into their glove. The next step is having them stand in regular fielding position as you roll them groundballs. When there is room to move you can have them work on when to get in front of balls and when to reach for them on the back or forehand side.
As you can see, at little cost and in a little time, people can devise homemade baseball training equipment and that works as well as similar, expensive baseball aids and use any available space to practice their baseball skills. For the serious players, having little room is no excuse for practicing the game.
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years. His playing, coaching and parenting stories create better experiences for athletes and parents. Jack has written over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth sports. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” and “Raising an Athlete.” His third book “Creating a Season to Remember” is now available. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. You can also find Jack Perconte on YouTube with over 120 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos.