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Can Pitching Machines Throw Different Pitches?

Written by: Coach Neil



Time to read 3 min

The best baseball pitching machine is capable of throwing the types of pitches that you’ll encounter on gameday. Only specific types of machines offer the variety you need to level up your batting game, and in this blog, we guide you through your options.

How Fast Can a Pitching Machine Throw a Baseball?

An advanced baseball pitching machine can throw pitches appropriate for youth practice all the way up to the big leagues. For example, the MaxBP Original Pitching Machine can emulate pitch speeds between 29 mph and 146 mph—with plenty of options in between!

It’s important to note that pitching machines don’t actually throw a baseball at the desired speed. Rather, operators can create the intended “feels-like” speed by adjusting the machine’s speed settings and the distance between the batter and the machine. When practicing with the MaxBP Original Machine, you can use the medium setting at a distance of 30 ft. Doing so will emulate a 65 mph pitch thrown from 54 ft. away.

For more information on how to calibrate your pitching machine for the intended pitch speed, visit our FAQ page.

Do Pitching Machines Throw Different Pitches?

If you’re looking for a pitching machine that throws different pitches, choose your equipment carefully; only certain types of machines are capable of throwing multiple pitch styles. Here’s a breakdown of the different types of pitching machines:

  • Mechanical: These machines throw pitches using a catapult-like mechanism. Mechanical pitching machines are great for young kids, but they don’t do much more than lob pitches.

  • Arm: These machines are similar to mechanical pitching machines, except they use an arm mechanism to throw the ball. The advantage of this machine is that it mimics the general movement of a human pitcher. Unfortunately, these machines are also limited as to what pitch styles they can throw.

  • One-Wheel: These machines use a spinning wheel to launch pitches. With the right attachments, batters can hit pitch after pitch. One-wheel pitching machines can only throw fastballs.

  • Two-Wheel: These machines use two spinning wheels to launch pitches. By spinning the wheels at different speeds, you can change the RPMs of the ball and throw different pitch styles, such as curveballs.

  • Three-Wheel: These machines use three spinning wheels to launch pitches. They are similar to two-wheel machines, but the third wheel adds stability to the pitch, increasing accuracy.

For a pitching machine that offers the variety you need, explore your options at MaxBP.

Can a Pitching Machine Throw a Slider?

Sliders require spin, so only two- and three-wheel machines can throw these pitches.

Can a Pitching Machine Throw a Curveball?

To throw a curveball, a pitching machine needs to be able to manipulate the RPMs of the ball, so only two- and three-wheel machines will do.

Can a Pitching Machine Throw a Knuckleball?

Knuckleballs are too complex for pitching machines to throw. That’s because they require a very specific grip by a human hand. Knuckleballs also rely heavily on the ball’s seams, and wheel-based machines shouldn’t pitch balls with seams because of the wear and tear these balls cause.

Can You Use Real Balls in a Pitching Machine?

Using regular baseballs in mechanical and arm pitching machines is fine, but you shouldn’t use them in wheel-based machines. That’s because the seams on regular baseballs create an uneven surface that can damage the wheels. Over time, this damage will cause inaccurate pitches, which means inefficient, frustrating, and potentially dangerous practices.

To lengthen the lifespan of your equipment, MaxBP reaction training machines are designed to work with high-quality practice balls . These training balls stand above the competition in both durability and consistency to make for a seamless batting practice experience. 

Can Pitching Machines Throw Different Pitches for Softball?

Just like for baseball, there are options for a softball pitching machine that throws different pitches. The key to finding the right softball pitching machine is to go with one that can affect the rpms of the pitch. Two- and three-wheel machines get the job done when it comes to pitch style variety, allowing you to practice curveballs, screwballs, backdoor screws, and so many more. 

What Is the Best Pitching Machine That Throws Different Pitches?

The best softball or baseball pitching machine that throws different pitches does more than just provide pitch style variety. The ideal machine pushes your reaction time to the limits by giving you control over pitch speed and interval timing as well. With these three qualities, you’ll be able to focus on the pitches that challenge you the most, so you can show up on gameday and hit dingers.

What’s the Best Baseball Pitching Machine for Youth Players? MaxBP!

Pitching machines need to be both versatile and safe to be worth the investment. With MaxBP, you can check off these boxes and more. Our machines provide the following:

  • Control over pitch rpms to unlock challenging pitch styles

  • Customizable speed and interval timing settings

  • Capacity for 96+ training balls to keep the pitches coming

  • Ability to throw right- and left-handed pitches

Perfect practice makes a perfect play. Increase the quality of your practice with MaxBP today!