3-Wheel Pitching Machines

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Mar 24, 2014
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Considering buying a 3-wheel pitching machine. Currently have two DD's (16U/18U) playing very competitive travel ball, one is power hitting and the other is a slapper. Both have committed to D1 college programs.

Few Questions:
1) I was wondering if the Hack Attack Jr would be sufficient to simulate higher pitching speeds if moved closer to the plate or spend the extra money on the Hack Attack. Or are there any other 3-wheel machines that would be recommended.

2) Is the Hack Attack a single unit or is it able to be broken down to to transport?

3) Are there the same issues with timing the pitches as other pitching machines such as Jugs?

4) What type of balls give the best results and good durability?
 
Dec 11, 2010
3,714
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@Fastpitch86

I have a cage in my shed in a part of the country that has a real winter. Had a Jugs Jr which I upgraded to a Hack Jr. which I upgraded to a programmable Hack Attack. (I-Hack).

1) Some say yes, I didn’t think so.

2) The Hack Attack is a pretty good size machine, it’s heavy, but it has wheels. Mine has never moved after I set it up. Putting it in the back of a pickup or SUV is doable with one person but two would definitely be better.

3) Yes- I think that’s always the case. However, your player will very likely see them at college and it’s a good idea to get familiar with them.

4) I use Baden dimple balls which is what Sports Attack recommends. I was told way back in the day that Hacks don’t throw other balls well, maybe that changed. My Jugs balls were not so great out of a Hack. I am going to buy some slowpitch leather seam balls and try them this wintr when dd is home from school. They have a lower seam.

Couple more things… I was in DD’s college facility just last night. They have 6-7 Hacks, a Jr. Hack, a Jugs and a triple play machine that both of my DD’s hate, lol

Keep in mind that whatever you buy probably isn’t just until they go to school. Summers and Christmas break she will be home sometimes. Christmas break is a really important time for a college player to be hitting.
 
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May 29, 2019
270
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I have a really nice 14'X50' hitting lane set up in my garage, complete with turf, a Hack Attack Jr., and all kinds of other crap a personal hitting facility needs. 😂 I bought my Hack Jr for the very same reason you are asking, so to answer your questions with personal experiences:

1) Yes, the Hack Jr. absolutely is sufficient for what you are wanting to do. The top speed rating is, I believe, 60 mph. I have never turned all the wheels up to full 10 speed on mine and checked with the radar, but I am rather certain that it would break 60 mph fairly easily. The highest speed we usually throw 56-58 or so, and that is with the one wheel around 8.5 and the other around 7 - 7.5 to replicate a hard curve/screwball. Even though my cage is 50' long, I have my machine set up at about 38' to leave room for the backstop net, and so I am not crammed against the back wall. I am a numbers geek, so I have the figures all worked out so I know what the speed at 38' equates to at 43'.

2) The full-size Hack Attack is a fairly large machine, while the Jr. is much lighter and easy to move. If you are using it just for pitching, I would only upgrade to the full-size Hack Attack if you are using it for large volume hitting lessons. The full-size Hack would in theory be more durable because the bigger motors would be running at slower RPM (relative to their maximum output) to get the desired pitch speed. This would be my choice for the durability purpose, not because it throws harder. DDs travel team had a full-size Hack Attack that they took to a couple of practices, then stopped because "It was too much of a pain in the butt to lug around."

3) The timing issues will still be the same because, after all, it still is not live pitching. We still throw more front toss than machine work. I use the Hack Jr when we are working on something very specific that I cannot replicate by pitching myself, such as pinpointing a screwball, at the knees, one ball off the plate, etc...

4) I use Jugs dimple balls and they work really well. Interestingly though, I have two dozen, one dozen at two different times, and they are slightly different and fly differently (even though they were from the same place with the same sku number). As the balls wear, they become slightly flat-spotted and lose consistency. You can use "regular" softballs too, but I have found that they are not as consistent, and the machine tends to tear them up.
 
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Oct 22, 2010
87
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SO CAL
I bought a hack attack baseball machine 18 years ago for my sons to use in our cage. It has been broken down and taken to many practices, from travel ball to high school. The Hack attack Jr wasn't out yet. My DD was 1 when I bought the machine. She used the baseball machine up to 12 years old and I made some short legs for it and we used the baseball machine with the jugs sting free baseballs for her to use.

I broke down and bought the softball conversation kit when she was 12 and have been using it ever since. We use the jugs sting free softballs with the front of the machine 36' from home plate. Her college is around 2 hrs from home so it gets used whenever she comes back to visit. I hold one softball on the ball ramp and keep one in my right hand and do the circle motion like I'm pitching. When I get to the end of it I release the ball in the ramp and she never loses sight of the ball. There's no tube to go through and between me doing the circle motion and her seeing the ball come out it acts more like a live pitch. I highly recommend the hack attack. Ours has taken a beating and it's lasted 18 years now.
 
Dec 11, 2010
3,714
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I have my machine set up at about 38' to leave room for the backstop net, and so I am not crammed against the back wall. I am a numbers geek, so I have the figures all worked out so I know what the speed at 38' equates to at 43'.
When you consider the pitchers stride and release point, you are at about the right distance. Most pitchers stride around 3/4 of their height. So really, you are still replicating a 60 mph pitcher which is adequate for most conferences. (And high school.) If your dd sees faster pitching from more than one team in the conference or makes it deep into the NCAA tournament, it may not be the machine to buy.

After having both the Jr. and the I-Hack, the Jr. isn’t even in the same room. It isn’t just the size of the motors, it’s the size of the wheels. It’s quieter, recovers faster. Because it’s heavier, it isn’t moving around on the floor. The I-Hack changes speeds and to me, that is worth its weight in gold. It is very challenging.

Its heavy. 145 pounds vs the 75 pound jr. I’m over 6’ and around 200 but I wouldn’t want to have to put it in the back of a 4wd truck by myself on a regular basis. My back sucks. But if my dd or wife were there it would be a piece of cake. And if I had something lower like a mini van, it would be pretty easy.

DD’s hitting coach uses my old Jr. He has taken the legs off it so it’s even lower. He throws foam balls and dimple balls out of it really slow and maybe 20’. Dude is brilliant, he’s doing stuff I wouldn’t dream of for reasons I don’t understand. He works with a bunch of high performing college teams and it shows in their performance.

IDK- I think when kids are younger, they don’t consider that with any luck, the player will often outgrow what they are doing early on. I would have been better off to go big early.

ETA- all of my comments are based on this from the O.P.

Currently have two DD's (16U/18U) playing very competitive travel ball, one is power hitting and the other is a slapper. Both have committed to D1 college programs.

O.P. could be using this machine for 5-6 years, yes?
 
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Sep 21, 2017
203
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PA
We've had the Hack Jr for a few years, and would echo a lot of what Long Baller posted. It's fine for what we use it for...mostly indoor hitting, when we aren't throwing front toss. We'll use it for some I/O as well, on the field.

Do you already have a machine, and are looking for something that throws movement pitches? If so, I'd recommend the multi-curve machine balls by JZ Sports. Jazmine has put out a good product. We hit a ton of them last winter, and they held up well. Plus you can give your catchers some good work with them.
 
Dec 11, 2010
3,714
113
@Coach Foster A lot of them are marked “catching only”?

One more question: looks like you set the machine up for a middle pitch and then you can safely throw breaking balls to both sides of the plate without moving the machine? Just feed them different?
 
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