There are some basic points that you must know before buying a batting cage. When you buy a batting cage you are making an investment that should provide you with years and years of top quality batting practice. Here I discuss what I believe are the 12 most important things to consider when you purchase your home, team, school or backyard batting cage. Remember these batting cage buying basics:
1. Batting cages nets come in a variety of sizes but they are all rectangles. The net itself must have square corners to save construction time and cost. The sizes of a cage vary with the length, width, and height of the netting. Be careful about buying cages that are too narrow. These cages do not allow older batters to take a comfortable swing and finish. The greater the width and height of the batting cage, the better sensation a batter has when a ball is hit. The wider and higher cages allow the batter to read the path of the ball when it comes off the bat. A short and narrow cage tends to “smother” a hitter. The higher and wider cages are also safer for the coach, player or parent throwing batting practice.
2. Batting cage netting is most commonly available in three common twine sizes which are #21, #36, and #42. The lower the number, the smaller the twine used in construction and the lighter-weight the cage will be. Heavy-duty cages such as the #42 better withstand the elements of time and use therefore they offer more durability and added years of use.
3. Batting cages are most often available in black. The twine is dyed black and UV is added to the netting. Black cages seem to last longer and in my opinion, they look better.
4. When you buy a batting cage do not just consider the cost of the cage, but you must also calculate the cost of shipping. Many companies have shipping managers that provide you with an added service of securing the lowest shipping cost possible.
5. All cages require a support structure from which the cage will be hung. The longer the cage, the more support sections that will be required to hold it in place. The smaller and more light-weight a batting cage is, the less support structure it must have. You can plan on putting a support section at both ends and every 20 feet, if you want your cage to be hung adequately without a lot of droop. So a batting cage60 feet long would require at least 4 supports for a heavy-duty net and you may get by with three supports for a light-weight net. You may also need cable or heavy duty rope suspended between your supports to maximize cage support.
6. You can not fit your space to the batting cage. You must fit your batting cage to the space you have available. Step off you or measure the area you have available. Make sure to order a batting cage that will best suit your available space. Do not allow space to deter your commitment to a batting cage purchase. Small cages in the 35, 40, and 50 foot lengths are long enough to allow great batting practice work.
7. Your chosen area must be level and it must drain well. If you can afford the additional cost, you may want to add a floor to your cage. There are two materials that make a great floor. Cement or concrete is the most costly. You may want to cover your hitting zone with indoor-outdoor carpet to extend the life of your leather baseballs. If you use rubber pitching machine balls in a pitching machine, they will withstand the abrasive properties of the cement cage floor. Another great floor alternative is to use weather treated 2 x 4s to build a raised floor. You will border all sides and ends of your batting cage floor with the 2x4s and stake them into place. You will then fill the inside floor area with a commonly used infield material, crushed stone. This provides a raised dry hitting surface that will offer a safe and less abrasive surface upon which to hit.
8. You are going to need to purchase a protection L-screen to protect the pitchers throwing batting practice. Make sure that your L-screen is a sock style made of at least #42 netting to insure that it will withstand the heavy-duty abuse it will be subjected to. A square protective screen is also a great investment to consider if you will be using a pitching machine often. There are screens specially designed to protect the person operating the pitching machine.
9. You will need a plate for batter and pitcher reference during batting practice. The pitcher will use the plate to throw the various pitch locations and the batter will use it to adjust to certain situational hitting drills. If your cage has a suitable floor, you may want to paint a plate and batters box to add a much appreciated feature.
10. You will need a power source if you have plans to light your cage and to use a pitching machine. Make sure that you can reach a source with extension cords or run a permanent source if you can do so safely.
11. If you have additional questions or need additional assistance, shop with a company that takes orders by phone. This allows your to ask questions and get answers. Depending on the description and details listed on a website, may cause you to order a cage that is not suitable for your needs. Most reputable batting cage companies have toll-free phone numbers and a staff available during business hours to offer you advice and information before you buy.
12. For many families the best and most user-friendly and trouble-free approach to buying a batting cage is to buy a complete batting cage package. These packages contain the net size and weight of your choice and a batting cage frame specifically designed to match the net. These packages are easy to assemble. Most of these batting cage packages can be assembled by two persons with about 2 hours of work. These batting cage packages can easily be taken down in the off-season and stored if there is a need to do so. Many of these packages include everything you need including the protection “L” screen. When the package arrives, all you have to do is carefully read and follow the step-by-step instructions to assemble your new batting cage.