You’ve seen them in back yards and driveways across America… the pitching target that looks like you’re throwing to a cartoon character. Most of them are equipped with a thin vinyl tarp hanging off a pole with a cut out strike zone and a right-handed batter painted on. A pitching target is a great idea if you want to work on pitching accuracy, consistency, and overall skill, but there’s something else out there that is nine times as durable, nine times as effective, and nine times the fun. It’s called the 9 Hole Pitcher’s Pocket.
Designed and manufactured at Better Baseball in Marietta, GA is what some will say is the greatest pitching training aid ever made. The 9 Hole Pitcher’s Pocket was first created in 2000. Over the last 15 years, 6 prototypes have gotten this product to where it needs to be: a useful, durable, exciting pitching aid that’s fun and effective for both little leaguers and major leaguers. Ever since the Pitcher’s Pocket caught the attention of players, parents, and coaches, it’s proven to be an extremely popular training aid for baseball and softball players worldwide.
So why get a Pitcher’s Pocket when there are cheaper alternatives? A big chunk of that answer is durability. Any time you’re putting a vinyl tarp under the constant stress of baseballs hitting it, it’s going to split at the seams and tear into pieces sooner than you may think. The same goes for mass-produced pitching targets with an aluminum frame and a cheaper quality (polypropylene) netting. The Better Baseball 9 Hole Pitcher’s Pocket comes fully equipped with nine separate #60 grade nylon-netted holes, or pockets, divided by bungee cords that attach to a UV coated vinyl padding-incased galvanized steel frame. The detachable/height-adjustable legs, also made of galvanized steel with rubber end caps, guarantees a sturdy base and easy storage. These pitching targets are built to last a long time. Period.
Another reason to consider the Pitcher’s Pocket over a different training aid is its versatility. The 9 Hole Pitcher’s Pocket is an ideal backstop for live batting practice, a good stand-in first baseman for infield ground ball practice. Catchers can use it too, as a target for their throw-downs at second and third base. The Pitcher's Pocket is a perfectly sized strike zone for wiffle ball, and a means to play competitive games between players of all ages. A fan favorite, “Tic-Tac-Throw,” is a game using the Pitcher’s Pocket as a tic-tac-toe board. Be the first to get three of your pitches in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal line to win. You can also play a full game in "9 Innings”. Each inning, you get four chances to hit a designated hole. For each hole hit, you earn one run. Start the first inning in the top left hole and work your way down and over to the bottom right hole for the ninth inning. Whoever has the most runs at the end is more accurate and has earned bragging rights… until next time. These are some great games to keep practice fun and engaging.
Want a Pitcher’s Pocket that’s a different size than the 9 Hole? No problem. They also come in a Quad Pocket, 12 hole and 16 hole. Want to attach a larger back-stop behind it to catch the missed pitches? No problem there either. Better Baseball is flexible with the dimensions, number of holes, and any extra attachments you might want added. The Pitcher’s Pocket is available in a wide array of colors including black, red, navy, royal, green, purple, orange, yellow, and many more.
The Better Baseball Pitcher’s Pocket is the best tool possible for assessing and increasing pitchers’ accuracy. It is highly recommended for baseball and softball players (especially pitchers) of all ages who are serious about improving their game.
Hitting fungo to your fielders is not the easiest thing to do… even for the seasoned coaches. Throwing a ball up to yourself and hitting it with a long, skinny fungo bat makes it very tough to accurately place fly balls, line drives, and ground balls where you intend. There’s almost an art to hitting fungo accurately. And we’re not all Picasso’s. So ask yourself this: When you hit balls to the kids at practice, do they spend more time catching the ball or running to balls that are out of reach? If you answered with the latter, consider making it a little easier on yourself and your players by getting an Accubat.
The AME Innovations Accubat comes in two models: the Coaches Helper Model and the Pro Model. Both models are constructed with the same materials – a cushioned, non-slip, foam handle, a hard plastic outer racquet, and a polypropylene net bound by 30 rubber torsion bands. The netted hitting surface is relatively the same area on both models (90 in2). The only difference is that the Pro Model is 6 ounces heavier than the Coaches Helper (26 oz. vs 20 oz.). The advantage of the Pro Model is that it allows you to hit the ball harder and further than the Coaches Helper.
The Accubat is recommended for coaches and parents of baseball and softball players at all ages. It’s scientifically designed to give you placement and distance control unparalleled by any other fungo hitting device. The Coaches Helper Model is recommended for players under the age of 12. However, ball players over the age of 12 may need that extra oomph. The Pro Model is recommended for the older players who can handle the faster pace.
As a highly competitive high school, travel ball, and college pitcher, I understood the importance of giving my fielders as many reps as I could. I was never the pitcher whose sole focus was striking people out. I pitched to contact and let the fielders behind me do their job. That said, I always did what I could to improve my defense’s fielding skills. Any chance I got to give my fielders some fungo work, I took advantage of. All serious pitchers (and ball players in general) should have that same mindset because there’s no worse feeling than being stranded in the field error after error when you should be in the dugout getting ready to hit.
Baseball is a repetition sport. Infield and outfield fungo reps are crucial to building and maintaining defensive skills. The Accubat has truly revolutionized the manner in which baseball and softball fungo can be done. Coaches who want to make their practices more efficient and parents who want to give their kids some extra reps in the back yard should seriously consider purchasing an Accubat.
Pros: Very accurate, Easy and fun to use, Offers more control than a fungo bat, Very durable.
Cons: Can be considered a rookie tool to high level competitors because of some notion that it steers away from how fungo has traditionally been and should be done. But c’mon… really? Form < Function.
If there is one thing baseball and softball hitters want more of from their swing, it’s more power. There are tons of training aids out there that aim to increase power, but do they really work? One product that has exploded in popularity in recent years is the Total Control Ball… and it works!
Total Control Balls are designed to strengthen slow and fast twitch muscles as well as develop proper extension through the hitting zone. Hitting these balls can entirely change the way players think about making contact with an incoming pitch. Instead of focusing on making solid contact with the ball, this training aid forces hitters to make solid contact through the ball.
Long gone are the days of hitting basketballs to develop power through the hitting zone. Yes, basketballs work, but only until they pop. Plus, who wants to haul around all of that bulkiness to their practices? Total Control Balls give you that same resistance at contact, but they are roughly the same size as a baseball/softball so you won’t have to worry about getting lazy with your hand eye coordination. And don’t worry about them popping. These things hold up for a long time.
Total Control Balls are great for all ages and you don’t need access to a hitting facility or a baseball/softball field to use them. On average, a solid hit should travel between 10 and 30 feet. The most rewarding feature of this product is that it provides instant feedback. If hit properly through the center of the ball, there’s no other way to describe it other than “it just feels right.” However, if you top the ball or hit underneath it, you’ll find that it will drop to the ground right in front of your feet. That said, it’s a great training tool to encourage line-drive hits as opposed to ground balls and pop flies.
All Total Control Balls are made with a high energy-absorbing PVC/non-phthalate outer material designed to last in hot and cold conditions without bursting. The inner filler material is composed of sand and is what gives it its weight. Let’s break down the specs on the variety of Total Control Ball options.
TCB 74- 2.9” diameter, 14.9 oz. Used for both softball and baseball. Optimum use is for front toss side toss, and tee work.
TCB 82- 3.2” diameter, 14.9 oz. Used for both softball and baseball. Optimum use is for front toss, side toss, and tee work.
TCB ATOMIC- 4.7” diameter, 31.7 oz. Used for both softball and baseball. Optimum use is for side toss and tee work only. Not recommended for players under the age of 12.
YH50- Less than 1 oz. Golf ball sized. Recommended for front toss. Best option for working on hand eye coordination. No sand filler.
YH80- 3.2” diameter, 2.8 oz. Only softball sized wiffle ball designed to last. Replaces plastic wiffle balls that dent, crack, and break. No sand filler.
Pros: Increases power, good for all ages, long lasting durability, won’t damage bats, instant feedback. Improves follow through, and bat control.
Cons: Not good for overhand batting practice; more expensive alternative to batting practice with regular baseballs/softballs