High Quality Pitchback - Reminiscing
When I was a kid I went through a dozen of so of the old school pitchbacks. You remember what I'm talking about. A flimsy metal frame with an elastic net. You bounce the ball off it and get line drives and grounders back. It was never really sturdy enough or heavy enough for a baseball, but it made a good backstop for wiffle ball games and working on grounders with a tennis ball.
I'm thinking about it because my son is outside throwing a tennis ball into his. It's kind of his morning ritual. He wakes up and fields grounders in the driveway until he gets hungry for breakfast. Anyway, the new pitchback is much nicer looking than the ones we had when I was a kid, but it is still has the same problems and is flimsy and too light for a baseball.
Does anyone know of a manufacturer that makes a pitchback that a teen age boy can throw an actual baseball into?
I've only purchased one pitchback of decent quality in my life, but I don't think they manufacture it anymore. It was endorsed by Nolan Ryan and I bought it through Baseball Express.
Originally Posted by Blackhat
I saw one at Dick's sporting goods that said it was 'designed for HS/college' pitchers and it was ~$200. I went back 2 weeks ago to buy the darn thing, and it was gone, and all they had were these over-priced, under-performing "flim-flam" pitchback things. I passed.
I will say that many "good" pitchback apparatus are not good for pitching, because when you get to where you can throw with a decent velocity, the practice becomes more of a "comebacker" type of thing, than an actual "ball retrievel" type of mechanism.
I'm starting to build one of my own out of thick PVC pipe, that features a 'tarp' across the middle, with a strikzone and a "collection pocket" at the bottom (versus the spring assisted net). The pcket is really just folded or overlapping section of the tarp.
That way, my son can pitch and I can stand next to him and watch what he is doing. We're to the point now, where he throws hard enough from his distance, that when catching I have to focus on the ball rather than his mechanics. We have 'buckets of balls', so we can empty the bucket, refill it while taking a break and talking some thing over.
IMO, throwing against a brick/concrete wall is more effective than a pitchback screen because of what I mentioned before (i.e. rapid comebackers)
Originally Posted by Bolts-Baseball
Those are a lot like what I was looking to purchase. The net does not look be drawn "too tight" to where it would result in balls richocheting as hard as they come in.
I may grab one of those babies.
this was our 'playback' growing up..till the screen door broke
we called in pin ters..if you hit the ball on the point of the stairs she would fly..
Last edited by wogdoggy; 07-30-2009 at 11:07 AM.
The pitchbacks were never good for pitching (unless you're about 6 years old). I do like them for general throwing and ground balls. Most of them are just not good enough to handle a real baseball thrown with some ooomph.
A friend of mine is selling one designed for lacrosse. I think it will be a little stronger. I'm swinging over tonight to check it out.
For pitching I got one of those Easton popup nets with the target and a bucket of balls. It's not perfect, but it works. As a kid my dad cut the botton out of a 5 gallon bucket and mounted it on a pole in front of a chain link fence in the back yard. A bit ghetto, but effective.
Sometimes ghetto gets the job done. I can still remember my first tee as a kid. It was a square of 1/4" steel plate with a pipe welded to it connected to a chink of wood with a 8-10" piece of radiator hose.
Originally Posted by Blackhat
Sorry to get off-topic, but I loved the bucket on a pole idea.
It's a Cadillac! The kit includes that and a golf ball and nothing ever wears out except the storm door glass.
Originally Posted by wogdoggy
My dad had lots of ghetto inventions. I remember him drilling a hole through a baseball, running a rope through it, and tied one end to a high branch and another to a tent spike in the ground. I'd spend hours wacking that ball.
He made a slingshot with surgical tubing to shoot tennis balls in the air. It started as a game to wear the dog out but turned into outfield practice. It was real fun when the dog started competing for the ball.
I remember one year he got a big bonus at work and my parents, 2 brothers and myself all got new beds. We had a very big attic (6 bedroom house). The old mattresses got nailed to the rafters so we could hit off a tee in the winter.
There were Wiffle ball bats with a few ounces of melted lead poured inside so we could hit tennis balls. He ruined on before realizing he should submerge the bat in cold water so the lead would cool before melting the plastic.
He was always making something. My mom spent a lot of time just shaking her head. Damn I miss the crazy old guy. I hope I give my kids half the memories.