Pitching machines have been around forever, but have been rising in popularity for the last few years You may have heard of the Hack Attack which has become a favorite on the market.
Check out this quick review to see if it’s something you should consider for yourself or your team.
Advantages to Pitching Machines
For a while, pitching machines had a bad reputation. It was thought that they create bad habits and grooved a players swing.
This was because machines pretty much throw the same speed in the same location over and over again.
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth . Many times they are more difficult to face than a live arm!
Without the need the throw as hard as you can for batting practice, machines like the Hack Attack allow you to challenge hitters more often throughout the year.
This creates a “game like” feeling and can be a great advantage in the off season when many pitchers take some time off.
Also, with increased accuracy, batting practice can be more efficient and provide more reps for your players.
Review of the Hack Attack Pitching Machine
- The Hack Attack Baseball Pitching Machine pitches major league 100+ MPH fastballs, and right and left handed breaking pitches
- The unique three-wheel design allows you to see the ball clearly all the way through the feeding motion and release, just like a live pitcher
- The 2015 model have a new sleek look and upgraded exterior design plus inside/outside adjustment that provides instant location change
- Pitches fastballs, curveballs, sliders and split fingers. Head also pivots in any direction for ground balls, line drives, pop-ups and 380ft fly balls
For many of the reasons I’ve already mentioned I was looking to purchase a Hack Attack a few years ago. I actually got lucky at the ABCA convention and was able to purchase a demo that they had been using on the trade show floor.
This thing is a beast and it was definitely a two man job to get it in to the truck. It weighs about 195 Lbs.
The legs do come off pretty easily which makes it a little easier to maneuver and store if you need to. There are also some leg attachments you can get that have wheels but I opted just to go with the standard model.
Once we got it back to the facility we put the machine to work!
Setting it up was as simple as putting the legs back on and plugging it in!
The Hack Attack claims that it can deliver pitches 100 MPH and faster. After trying to max this thing out and using a Stalker Pro Radar Gun they aren’t lying. This baby can bring it.
This was my first time using a 3-wheel pitching machine so I had to play around with the settings in order to get a pitch that was similar to something you would see from a live pitcher.
Fortunately they have a list of different pitches with the corresponding dial settings right on the back of the machine.
As you can see their settings have two mail categories.
- HS, College & Pro
The pitches listed include:
- RH Curveball
- LH Curveball
- RH Slider
- LH Slider
- Split Finger
- Knuckle Ball
Please be aware these are NOT exact settings. It goes without saying that a high school fastball is nothing like a pro fastball, even though they are placed in the same category.
It takes a while to find the idea settings and speed to match your teams level of play. I would recommend using a Sharpie on the back of the machine to note the best settings for each pitch.
*** We also DO NOT recommend trying to hit a knuckle ball out of the machine at 90 MPH. It is extremely hazardous. (In all seriousness we tried, and it was terrifying.)
Adjusting the Hack Attack Pitching Machine
As I mentioned before, this is not a light machine. If you need something that is extremely mobile you will need to purchase the wheels, or go with a different option.
We kept this machine in the same for most of the year so this wasn’t a problem.
The best part about the Hack Attack is the wide range of pitches you can dial up. It will deliver each one with extremely high accuracy.
Once we had pitches at the right speed and location I never felt like we had to do much adjusting to the machine. This saves times and gets you more reps!
The 3-wheel model provides ultimate flexibility when it comes to manipulating the spin on the ball. You can replicate nearly any pitch from a lefty or a righty.
I felt like this machine was a great tool to help us prepare for certain pitchers that had unique movement on their pitches that we couldn’t replicate with one of our players.
When you have the machine set in place, you can use the hand crank to make small adjustments to the hight and the wheel assembly can turn to adjust in and out. Overall it’s very quick and easy.
The greatest variations will probably be with the speed settings. The included recommending settings are at best a rough starting point. For most levels those settings will be too fast and/or include too much break.
I found that even if the left and right dials were correct, the recommendations by Hack Attack included a little too much from the bottom wheel. This is especially true for fastballs and I felt like it increased the spin rate WAY too much.
Again, it will take a little tweaking to find what works for you and your team.
Disadvantages to Pitching Machines
With all of the great things I have to say in this Hack Attack Review, pitching machines do have their flaws.
For starters, they can be expensive. Not everyone can afford to drops hundreds and even thousands of dollars on a pitching machine.
Also, they are predictable.
The hardest thing about hitting is the variation that comes with game at bats. You don’t know exactly what the speed, spin or location of the next pitch will be.
With pitching machines, the variation is reduced. You are going to get a very similar pitch every single time. While this isn’t all bad it’s just important to remember that pitching machines are one of many tools hitters can use to get better.
Lastly, the spin from a machine is increased significantly as compared to a live pitcher. This means that pitches will fall and move different than when a ball is thrown out of the hand.
Overall the Hack Attack pitching machine is one of the best I’ve ever used. The versatility and consistency is going to be hard to beat.
Sure there are definitely cheaper options on the market. However, depending on what you need out of your machine, cheaper isn’t always better. Make sure you have the performance you need before settling just on price alone.
I highly recommend this machine to any coach that is looking for a way to add intensity and challenge hitters more often throughout the year. You will definitely see some positive results.
If you are sold on the Hack Attack, but are struggling with the price tag then take a look at the less expensive model, the Junior Hack Attack.
- The Junior Hack Attack will throw right and left handed curves, sliders, split fingers, knuckle and Fastballs up to 70+ MPH
- Recommended for youth league, backyard, travel teams, drills at all levels including high school, college and professional
- Throwing head pivots instantly in any direction for ground balls, line drives, pop-ups and 250 ft; fly balls
- Extremely portable, fits into any compact car, including a Mini Cooper
This is essentially the same machine with a little less “juice.”
The top speed will be somewhere around 75 mph which for many teams is more than enough. Depending on the distance the machine will be from the hitter, the Junior Hack Attack may be a great choice.
Have you used either of these machines or have one that you like better?
Let us know which pitching machines we should check out next in the comments!