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Pitching Machines ~ Hack Attack vs. ATEC / JUGS Machines ...worth the MONEY?

As we all know -  investing our resources into the purchasing of a new pitching machine is a big decision.  With the advent of the 3 wheel pitching machine (Sports Attack)  ... they have advertised as being superior to a 2 wheel machine (Atec, Jugs ..etc).  Being in the position of needing a portable machine -  Can anyone offer, experienced feedback of having used both the Sports Attack 3 wheel machine and how it compares to the conventional 2 wheel machine ...


Need - comments referring to the break of the curve ball, control / consistency of fastball locations ..and the type of ball used ... I have always had difficulty with using REAL baseballs, unless they were "LOW" seamed baseballs.. Example -  MLB baseballs, Minor League baseballs , or JUGS "pearl" baseballs ... 


thank you for feedback..

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consistency on any machine is all in the balls you are using. Don't purchase different balls. If you purchase balls do it all at once. One purchase. Different type and hardness balls will come out of the machine different. Dimple balls are the best. We have a casey pro two wheel for four years now. It works great and you get allot of machine for a small amount of money.
I'm not that familiar with the Sports Attack machine, but Sports Tutor also makes a very accurate 3 wheel machine called the Triple Play. You can check it out on our website.

As far as balls go, we always recommend either the Baden Ballistic or Pro Nine LPM9 - both are leather balls made specifically with low seams for pitching machines. They both seem to work very well with most machines and last much longer than regular baseballs.

thank you Bryan - I'll check out those baseballs

I run the Pro Ball Baseball Clinic, a 4-day instructional clinic for adults staffed by MLB coaches. I have used the Hack Attack Jr. for several years now, using AZ Fall League baseballs (low seam). The machine is fantastic! VERY easy to transport and use. Changing pitches is a breeze. I have not tried either ball feeder, because of high cost. So, I cannot comment on how well they work. I know many of the MLB hitting coaches who teach at the clinic have been so impressed with the machine, that they suggested it to their teams. I highly recommend the Hack Attack (I have not tried the Hack Attack Pro- much bigger, heavier machine). John Rubinow, M.D.
John - thank U for the comments - it helps a lot ...But here is where I'm at - I already have the Iron Mikes - as one other coach suggests I get ... I need a Portable machine - that throws "good curve balls" -- I agree with your comment about the low seam ball - hard ball to find - and basically on a 'real' pro ball is low seam .. (expensive) ... I recently had visited one of my players I coach - in the minor leagues ... I asked Minor League instructor how he liked the Big Hack Attack - because they had one .... He told me - NO,.. he didn't like it.. is was too bulky .. and did NOT throw curves any better than a two wheel machine .. I was floored ... the Minor League Coach was in a hurry ..and could not expound more about his comments...So I thought I would ask around - before making this $3,000 commitment ! John - you say you have the Jr. model .. are you any more happy with the curveball results you can from the Hack Jr.. than say a ATEC or JUGS ?? Since one of the advertising lures the Hack Attack uses - is that the 3 wheel concept applies MORE friction to the ball ?? Are the curve ball results better ?? thanks DAVE
Most MLB players who have pitching machines in thier home use an Iron Mike, a arm machine and use real baseballs. Tom
I am a proponent of the fact that to be ultimately successful practice sessions must correlate with game type situations.
Making good successful barrel to ball contact is all about timing, Timing is acquired after the release of the ball coming out of a pitchers hand standing on a ten inch mound following the arm movement out of the glove at whatever the arm angle may be, players not yet using mounds excluded, In my opinion the iron mike with the arm cover removed which makes the whole arm visible from start to ball release point which we used years ago in spring training is the only portable throwing machine that a batter can acquire any sort of timing from which will basically be confined to over the top straight balls only, the arm and ball are not visible on iron mike throwing machines without the arms removed and cannot be seen, visually picked up until it has left 15 feet out of the machines release point and the time break from hand release into a jug to release point is equally disturbing to good timing.
What disturbs me is as far as batting and pitching is concerned is that there is absolutely no correlation between batting and pitching practice sessions and real game play, when a batter goes to bat in a game that pitcher is standing out there on a ten foot mound doing every thing possible for him/her to get that batter out of there. What i observe is that batting and pitching practice sessions are executed just the opposite of game play Oh yes the major leaguer's do it that way, well the major leagues are over loaded with inferior, low average hitters and pitchers and they also play virtually every day or night so each one of them are seeing pitching coming at them from the mound on a regular basis some things they do over and over but not the most important things such as getting that most important aspect of batting and pitching from the mound as is executed during game times not from flat ground and dishing the ball up there to them on a platter all the time.
In my opinion the baseball game needs to be brought back to the way it was originally meant to be played," Billy ball and Whitey ball." and I am also thinking" Bucky" Showalter ball but I guess that coaches would then have to get out of their comfort zone boxes, learn how to become "TEACHERS" and work at the game, practice more which is where the learning process is and play less.
What I observe is the substitution of inferior methods in place of the most successful methods.
Hey Don - you're rignt .. I would have thought by NOW ... some Major League Team would have invested in getting 8-10 REAL batting practice pitchers ..who throw to the players everyday from 60 feet away .. Real Pitches .. mixing up .. batting practice to prepare the hitter how to hit - the unexpected pitch - ..How much would it cost to hire pitchers like that ??
But MAJOR LEAGUES have always done it the current way .. so .. why change ?
Hey Dave,
As you say they have always done it their current way which in my opinion the reason is that their teaching situation is zilch, Being a player does not in many cases make one a qualified teacher.
I have a seven page report that pretty well sums up what the major league non- manager, and non- coach people in particular are all about and also pretty well answers your question about batting practice pitchers etc. and the reasons of which I also experienced while playing minor league ball that there is very little if any teaching to improve players, I observe major league game after game and watch the majority of pitchers who absolutely are terrible atjust playing catch with their catchers and watch batter after batter who are totally inferior at their contact game, outfielders who have no idea of how to even get the ball close to their target, so called pitching and hitting coaches who simply are not teachers, the main reason as you should know being an ex- minor league coach are told to leave the players alone and just let them do what they do the way the do it, I played with a pitcher in 1952 who was pitching coach with Houston when they gave the team to Leo Durocher in 1980 I believe he told me that him and the other coaches had to wait for him to tell them what to do and when to do it before they could do anything, he said they disliked that kind of coaching atmosphere and it was a most undesirable coaching position to be in. There have been numerous coaches who have been fired due to the fact that they taught players when the were told not to do so, The great Johnny Sain and Walt Hriniak were fired several times for teaching when told not to teach.
I know a couple of young men who were paid $30.00 per. pitching sessions for the Royals when Herzog was there.
Don Ervin
thanks Thomas - I agree , but the HOT machine gaining popularity is the 3 wheel Hack Attack .. same concept beind the Pro Batter Simulators ... Plus - I NEED a machine to throw Hooks, CurveBalls , Sliders -
Hey! I am a professional batting instructor who owns 2 hack attacks adult machines. I also own 2 bata machines and an older style jugs machine.

The most significant advantage of the three wheel design is that the batter can clearly see the ball as it enters the wheels. This really is an advantage in terms of the batters timing. The machine is also probably a little bit more accurate overall. They're are some not so obvious drawbacks however. The manufacturer won't tell you this, but the typical urethane pitching ball at speeds above eighty, will start throwing unhitable sinkers. This isn't a problem for most people, because the vast majority of people are not hitting eighty to ninety plus. There is a fairly simple solution, though it really bugs me that you have to do it. You can use real baseballs to banish the problem. It is really a pisser though, because the manufacturer themselves specifies pro nine urethane balls, and those will not work above eighty. The disadvantage of using real balls is the increasing of wear on the wheels because of the seams.

The bottom line, is that if I had it to do over again, I would probably consider very hard the bata machine that can throw randomly both fast balls and offspeed. It would be a close decision, because seeing the ball is an extremely deisrable feature for batters timing. The bata machine is in the price vicinity of the hack attacks, if my memory serves. The hack attack is overall a more heavy and stable machine which makes it somewhat more difficult to lug around, but makes it more accurate once it is set up. It also thows very nice sliders with very little adjustment. Hope that helps.
TED - thank U ..your insight is definetly valuable main objective was to find a quality machine that throws curves - and I agree with you 100% - seeing the ball from the machine gives a hitter a point to guage his timing ..



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