A Major League Baseball player will without a doubt have gone through hundreds of practice baseballs before they get their first call-up. This is in no small part due to the unique nature of baseball: even the most gifted of athletes also must have an extreme level of technical prowess to ultimately succeed. And that means practice, and lots of it.
As a Padres fan, I watched Mark Loretta man second base for several seasons. Though he was only a 6 feet 175 pound second baseman, he made tremendous contact with the baseball, and finished with a .295 average in 15 Major League seasons.
During one telecast in the 2005 season, the announcers revealed one of Loretta’s training regiments. It involved watching baseballs thrown past him at 150 Miles Per Hour by a pitching machine. Each of his practice baseballs had a number, written in either red or black, with a number between one and twenty.
At first, he started to practice by trying to identify the color on the baseball as it was thrown. Eventually, as he trained his eye to recognize these differences, he was able to tell both the color and number of each baseball as it passed him.
Though this technique may not work for everyone, the point is that it’s important to have both specialized training regiments in addition to practice aimed to duplicate real-game experience.
What Makes Quality Practice Baseballs?
In game-like simulations and batting practices, you want to purchase baseballs that closely resemble official baseballs in both size and weight. Many baseballs manufactured by companies such as Easton and Rawlings all will meet typically these specifications.
The Rawlings ROLB3 is both a durable and inexpensive baseball, ideal for use in training session after training session. Their synthetic covers mean that they don’t wear out easily and can last over the length of a season. However, don’t forget to read my paragraph on qualities to look for in a baseball.
However, for the closest duplicate of official play, one should not look any further than the Rawlings ROLB1X. This particular model is reserved for baseballs that were headed for a Major League field, save for some slight synthetic imperfections. As such, when looking for an authentic baseball, there is no closer substitute.
For more specialized training, the SKLZ Bolt Balls are an excellent option. Much smaller and lighter than regulation baseballs, they are great for contact hitting drills, bunting. They are also great for training indoors or in limited spaces.
What do you think?
Do you have a preferred model of practice baseballs? Disagree with some of my selections? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below.