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Pitching Machine For Kids

$28.88
Pitching Machine For Kids
Pitching Machine For Kids
$28.88

Franklin Sports MLB Electronic Baseball Pitching Machine – Height Adjustable – Ball Pitches Every 7 Seconds – Includes 6 Plastic Baseballs

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Pitching Machine For Kids is very nice product. I like the machine, but the balls that come with it are not very good and really need to be upgraded. My purpose in buying the machine was to use it to practice the volley in tennis, which has a lot of similarities to using it for baseball hitting practice. When I first started using it, at a distance of about 20 feet, balls were moving with a spread of 3 feet or so in height and in width.

This seemed to be a bit too much for my intended usage, and I started to wonder whether it was the machine or the balls that was the problem. As I started examining the balls I noticed that when I pressed against it with my thumb, I could feel hard and soft spots, which would explain the large spreads I was getting, because the two spinning rotors on opposite sides of the ball would create different amounts of friction, depending if one roller hit a hard spot and the other hit a soft spot. I cut one of the balls in half to uncover the reason for the hard and soft spots.

What I found was the thickness of the plastic shell varied by 2 to 1, which to me means poor quality control in their manufacture.When I pressed where the shell was thicker, it definitely was hard to indent compared to the thinner area. My conclusion was that the balls are the culprit, not the machine.

I read about the feedback on different types of balls that seemed to be compatible with the Franklin machine, and ordered the “Jugs Poly Baseballs” from Amazon at $19.99 per dozen to compare the machine performance with both types of balls. I actually made measurements on the amount of flight spread, size and weight,and also how high they would bounce when dropped from 60 inches on a concrete surface. The jugs balls were superior on all counts.

The flight spread was half the amount, and the bounce was 15% better. The jugs are slightly heavier ( 0.8 vs 0.7oz) for better stability in wind, and slightly larger (2.86 vs 2.78 in diameter). The slightly larger size may pensate for roller wear, extending the life of the machine. But the big bonus is a significant increase in speed and range when using the Jugs balls. I highly recommend upgrading the balls if you buy the machine.

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Pros
  • 7 second pitches
  • Flashing indicator
  • Height adjustment
  • Six balls included
Cons