what is a batting cage?
A batting cage is essentially an enclosed area used for baseball or softball batting practice.
Batting cages have been around for the last 50 years or so. In the early days, they were mainly used for baseball training. Today, they are widely used for softball and baseball training. Early batting cages were similar to a golf driving range and players would simply hit balls into an open field. But there was a problem with this – the balls kept getting lost or stolen.
Enclosed batting cages were soon developed to keep the balls in one place. These were typically built on asphalt with telephone poles to divide up the cages and golf netting to divide up the stalls. Each cage was designed and developed by the owner and no standardised sizes were available yet – cages were pretty much just built to fit the space.
In the mid-1970s, radial-style batting cages were introduced in southern California. This style of batting cage gave the batter a wider 90-degree angle to hit along, which was closer to real game conditions. Today, cages are often built in rows due to size constraints. The minimum recommended dimensions for a tunnel style baseball batting cage is 70ft long by 12-14ft wide and 12ft tall. This gives even the tallest batter plenty of room to swing a longer bat without hitting the sides.
The batting cage quickly became an essential training tool for major league players. In 1978, the first fully-automated batting cage was created in America. This used a sloped floor and sump system to retrieve the balls and return them to the hopper ensuring a continual supply of balls. Many owners of the old style batting cages were forced to close in the 60s and 70s due to high maintenance costs. The newer automated cages could operate with very little manpower, which meant their popularity soared.
The pitching machines used in earlier batting cages were large, arm-style pitching machines, similar to the Iron Mike pitching machines still around today. Today, there are more wheel pitching machines available as they typically easier to transport.
There are thousands of batting cages in the USA and around the world, but only one in the UK. We’re going to change all of that by bringing the batting cage to you.