I've been thinking of setting up a new station in my cage rotations. We have pitching machines that we rarely use. What I'm thinking of doing is keeping the same stations just adding one with the pitching machine set at a high velocity. The 1st round would be tracking the ball, next 2 rounds would be calling out the color of the dots on the ball, and the final round would actually be swinging at the pitch. I've used the color dots during other stations before and liked it but I feel like at higher speeds it could be more beneficial. What do you guys think?
I would say a little above the expected game velocity of the better pitchers they face. If it is 190 plus Mph faster than game pitching it isn't good either but a little faster is good for practice.
Thanks for the reply. That's what I was thinking of doing. We face a couple guys that can hit 90. So I was thinking put around 95 or 100. So they could get used to seeing it, rather than doing it that week and never really getting used to it
Are you talking about a HS team? 95-100 mph won't be real beneficial. You'll likely only have a couple kids who can touch it. Most of the kids will be so scared of the ball coming that fast that trying to figure out the dots and colors will be pointless. If you want to work with them to hit it....that's fine....but set it at 86-88. That will be the equivalent of 90+. Keep in mind, a pitching machine is much tougher to hit at 90mph than hitting a pitcher at 90mph because you don't get to see a windup or any arm motion. Also, the fact that you're likely talking about being indoors in artificial light is another detrement
Once again, I agree with others.. the equivalent effect of "just above top speed you will see" has benefit but there is a huge difference between 90 and 95+. Too much difference is counter-productive.
Some other considerations...
...the colored dot drill may be tough since most pitching machines don't throw regular seamed baseballs very accurately. You could put the colored dots on the machine balls I guess.
...we use the machine primarily for bunt practice. Hitters can take reps at their own pace and, while supervision and instruction is almost always preferred, this is a station that can run itself with some general direction.
What type of pitching machine do you use? Is it an "Iron Mike"? Edgar Martinez Mariners DH in Spring Training would move the Iron Mike to 100 mph. For tracking purpose only.
I watched Ichiro actual swing at the pitch. He had exceptional "eye to hand" coordination.
You can do more harm than good with your HS players. You would be wise to "slow the ball down" in the hitters eyes to develop situational hitters.
We have recently completed our 33rd International Goodwill Series journey and one weakness was "slowing the ball" in the hitters mind.
Don't set the machine at 92 if it's only 40 feet away. Adjust the speed for the distance (ex. 40/60x92=machine speed). You're trying to get them used to the quicker reaction time.
So, do the math and double check with a radar gun. Then, also make sure they stride on every pitch. Otherwise, it's a waste of time, or worse.
BTW I would think that realistic upper end makes sense. so if you Play HS and you face 2 guys going 93, 7 in the upper 80s and and mostly mid and low 80s, the upper end plus a Little would be 90 and not 95 (you are not going to hit those two guys anyway and those two games won't break the season).
so basically take the 75th percentile of Velo you face and add a Little more, I would ignore both the top outliers but also the bottom outliers (when you have an opposing Team throwing a junkballer in the upper 60s - yes that guy might cause you Trouble but it is just one game and it doesn't make sense to get away too much from what you face every day).