Wouldn't it be great to have some team training tools without the international shipping costs? To help you make the most of the team’s piggy bank we’ve got several DIY equipment projects to help you build some of the pieces you’ll use in every practice.
In our Training Day drills we have already covered a few DIY projects but, in case you missed them, we felt they bared repeating. In Time For Some PFFs, we showed you how using a Stance Doctor can help pitchers square up from their release and become effective fielders. In that series we mentioned replicating the machine with chalk lines on the ground. You can also make the product with PVC piping or wood. During Winter Ball we taught you how to make a self-toss sock for drills at home.
Finally we’ve shown you this video before but a hitting tee is such an important tool we felt it was worth repeating. Every team needs at least one Tee. With a saw and some PVC pipe, you can make dozens of height-adjustable tees for your team to use in workouts.
Estimated Cost: under 15€
Total Time: under 30 minutes
What you’ll need:
4 PVC end caps
3 T PVC connectors
1 cross section PVC connector
1 piece of PVC Insulation
1 10-foot piece of PVC pipe – ¾ or 1 inch
If you are looking for something to do at home and have limited space or no yard, then there is a solution. Using a tetherball system with a baseball or softball on the end, fill an old tire with cement and put a pole through the center. Here’s a step-by-step video with instructions for making the base. Something like this can also be helpful on the practice field so its worth giving it a look.
At the field why not use either the mobile method above, or this more permanent fixture, to create a tire tee? This can be an especially helpful tool for batters who have a tough time swinging through the contact point.
Of course no practice session would be complete without some hitting so let’s get you a pitching machine. If you own a hand truck it seems you’re halfway done already. Here’s a schematic video to show you the main components.
A very popular version of a homemade pitching machine using a leaf blower to give you power. This would definitely be more useful for at-home but every team has to start somewhere and, if budgets are tight, we wanted you to have options.
When in doubt, head to the experts for help. The folks at Popular Science have a step-by-step for building a machine for wiffle balls using a leaf blower as your motor. We recommend using this video to get your measurements and a better idea of the details but make sure you upgrade your equipment to handle baseballs and softballs.
If you love making something from scraps, this guy has you covered. Unlike the other videos, he gives you descriptions of what he did for every step. We recommend giving it a view so you get a feel for some of the mechanical concerns not laid out in the other videos.
We also found some step-by-step directions from a guy who built his own machine. This one includes the mechanical aspects so we recommend reading it through before you begin constructing any version you decide to take on.
Next up you need a net. This one is set up specifically for backyard practices.
Estimated Cost: 80€
Total Time: 30 minutes
What you’ll need:
2 PVC pipes
2 hockey nets
Thread the PVC pipes through one end of each net.
Using the zip ties, connect the two nets in the middle.
Hang one PVC pipe over a tree branch or pole at the correct height to leave just a few inches of room before the bottom PVC pipe hits the ground.
You can hang a tarp over the top of the hitting area using the zip ties to secure it into place on tree limbs overhead. This not only allows you to hit in the rain but acts as a ball catcher for pop ups.
If you want a cheat sheet for making your own mobile pitching screen for practices, give this video a peak. It's a demo of someone else's product but those who are good with tools should be able to replicate the product fairly easily with just a few pieces of wood and some piping. For those looking to make a pitching target structure, this man has created an adjustable, spring-loaded product using equipment from the hardware store.
If you’re looking to build a batting cage at the field or in your yard, these next few videos will definitely help you out.
First up it’s a full batting cage with step-by-step, written directions:
Measurements: 60 foot by 14 feet wide and 12 feet tall
This next system has a more advanced, permanent structure set up for keeping the net in top shape so it's worth giving the video a look to help you take those aspects into consideration before you begin construction.
If you're looking to keep you in shape in the off-season and have a garage, or if there is a shed or some other internal space you share, this might be the right solution for a structure that is permanent but completely mobile at the same time.
That’s it. At day’s end you’ve got everything you need to get in some quality practice time at home or on the field. Next installment we’ll cover everything you need to get your field ready for action.