There are definitely benefits and limitations to mechanical batting cages instead of live pitching.
I like them because you can get a lot of reps in a short period of time. I also think they help develop strength and explosiveness because of the weight of the batting cage balls. I like that you can easily work on specific skills because the ball is typically delivered to the same area consistently. If you want to work on hitting the inside pitch you just stand closer to the area the ball is being delivered to.
Though more expensive, we opt for doing all of our hitting with a live person. My preference is that their hitting is supervised so they don’t repeat mistakes. An instructor can also pace the reps so the player is comfortable. Hitting an actual baseball allows the player to feel what they are doing correctly.
I think the most important thing for high school hitters is to work on timing and picking up the ball out of the pitcher’s hand is an important aspect of that.
While working off of a hitting machine can help you get some good reps, there is no replacing live pitching in developing hitters.
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