With baseball season upon us, it’s time to shake off the rust and get ready for the 2018 campaign. And if you’re a player who wants to sharpen your skills (who doesn’t?), baseball training aids can certainly help. In particular, we’ll be discussing equipment for pitchers and fielders.
We’ve compiled a list below of some of highest rated training aids for pitching and fielding to help make your choices easier. Whether you’re looking to become a vacuum in the field or to become an ace on the mound, you’ll be sure to find some useful equipment below. From pitching nets to weighted baseballs to radar guns to specialized training gloves, the list below has something to help all players improve their respective game.
And if you’re in the market for more equipment, check out our post on the best training aids for hitting.
So keep reading to see some of the most popular baseball training aids for pitchers and fielders in 2018.
Note: the following list is in no particular order.
1. Rukket 7×7 Baseball Practice Net
Rukket Sports is one of the leading producers of practice nets for baseball and softball. The net measures 7 feet high by 7 feet wide (weighs about 15 pounds) and features an open square in the middle so you can practice your pitching or throwing accuracy. It has extra thick netting to prevent damage and the bow frame provides stability and durability. And as for set-up, you can have it up and ready in under 3 minutes, while it’s compact to enough to practice anywhere.
This net is multi-functional for the baseball, softball, and even T-ball player as it can be used as a hitting cage, too. Have someone soft toss pitches or simply set up a batting tee in front of hit and swing away. Other pluses are that Rukket includes a free carrying case and a lifetime warranty — including lifetime replacement parts — with each purchase.
This net currently costs $69.99, but for about $15 more, you can get the Rukket 7×7 Net with 3 Weighted Baseballs.
2. PowerNet DLX 7×7 Practice Net Bundle with Strike Zone and Training Ball
The PowerNet DLX 7×7 Practice Net is very similar to the Rukket net above, but this bundle comes with a few extra features, which can certainly benefit pitchers. It includes a weighted baseball (16 ounces compared to 5 and 5 1/4 ounces for official baseballs) and an adjustable strike zone. Change the size of the zone to improve your location and accuracy.
Setting up is a quick and easy process as you don’t need any tools. Attach the velcro straps and hook loops and you’re ready to practice in mere minutes — outdoors or indoors. Both the net and the base are very durable, and the legs have rubberized feet for even more stability and strength.
And just like the Rukket Sports net listed above, the PowerNet also serves as a hitting cage. You can hit freely into it and not have worry about running into the outfield to retrieve baseballs. The net is available in available in 10 different colors — Royal Blue is pictured above. Each purchase includes a canvas carrying bag and a lifetime warranty with a lifetime parts replacement.
For a different option for a net with a strike zone, check out the Rukket Sports 6 Piece Baseball Bundle 5×5 Net with Strike Zone Target.
3. SKLZ Weighted Baseballs 2-Pack
The weighted baseballs from sports training aid giant SKLZ are designed for building strength for pitchers and throwing overall. Much like a hitter would use a donut on the bat before stepping into the batters box, the weighted baseballs are a great way to warm-up before taking the mound.
The baseballs are regulation size (9 inch in circumference), but just heavier. The yellow ball weighs 10 ounces, the black 12 ounces. Regulation baseballs weigh between 5 and 5 1/4 ounces. Hitting them with a bat isn’t recommended (might damage both the ball and your bat!); just stick with them for bullpen sessions and warm-up throws.
If you’re looking for a set with even more weight sizes, check out the Precision Impact Weighted Baseballs. The pack of 9 baseballs has weights ranging from 3 to 12 ounces.
4. Crenstone Baseball Pitching Trainer Kit
The Crenstone Baseball Pitching Trainer Kit is ideal for the new pitcher who is just getting to learn the craft. The ball teaches how to throw a variety of pitches, including a fastball, curveball, and slider. Use the color-coded dots on the baseball to get a correct grip.
The training ball, which is official size and weight, is suitable for both right- and left-handed hurlers. You’ll also receive an instructional book as well as directions and pictures on how to get the proper grip on each pitch.
If you’d like to compare it to a different model, learn more about the SKLZ Pitch Trainer Ball here.
5. Rawlings Resistance Band With Baseball
The Rawlings Resistance Band is a full range-of-motion resistance training tool designed to strengthen the accelerator and decelerator muscles in your back and shoulders. The baseball attached to the end of the band will help create real-game situations and improve your grip for a variety of pitches. And it’s easy to use; simply attach the clip to a fence, or something similar, and get started.
A perfect warm-up/stretching tool or a rehab aid from a previous injury or surgery, you’ll get instructions on how to use the band and various training drills to maximize strength and flexibility. The Rawlings Resistance Band is suitable for players of all ages.
If you would like to see another similar option, take a look at the Kinetic Bands Resistance Training Bands for Baseball.
Price: $22.45 (9 percent off MSRP)
6. SKLZ Reaction Ball
The first training aid for fielders on the list comes from SKLZ, one of the heavy hitters in the sports training world. The SKLZ Reaction Ball is designed to improve hand-eye coordination, reaction time, reflexes, and agility, everything needed to become a top-notch fielder. How does it do that? Well, it’s not your typical baseball.
This has six sides and bounces like a rubber ball (well, it is made of 100 percent rubber), so when it comes toward you, there’s no way to tell what direction it’s going to go. Think about a last-second bad hop on a routine ground ball to shortstop. This ball bad hops all the way to you so you need to be on your toes and focused at all times.
The SKLZ Reaction Ball can be used in a group or even solo. If alone, toss it off a wall and let it come back to you. It’s recommended for players ages 6 and up and comes with a 100 percent money back guarantee.
Take a look at the Champro Reaction Ball for another option.
7. SKLZ Softhands Baseball Fielding Trainer
The Softhands Baseball Fielding Trainer from SKLZ is designed to teach proper technique of fielding ground balls. It’s not a typical glove as you can see in the video above. It’s basically a flat foam pad with finger slots on the back, which will keep it attached to your hand.
One of its main purposes is to promote the use of two hands when fielding a ground ball while keeping your body in front of it. You won’t be able to “stab” at the ball like you can with a regular glove. And another skill it will improve is the speed and smoothness of transferring the ball from your glove to your throwing hand. These are a couple of vital fundamentals players need to become a great infielder.
The Softhands Fielding Trainer can be worn on either hand and is suitable for players of all ages, whether you play baseball or softball. It’s not recommended for fly balls or line drives, stick to your regular mitt for that to avoid injury.
If you’re looking for a similar design, but with more of a feel of a traditional glove, take a look at the Diamond Infielder Training Glove, which is made of full-grain steel hide.
Price: $15.90 (20 percent off MSRP)
8. SKLZ Fielding Trainer
The SKLZ Fielding Trainer is a multi-purpose net designed to help fielders hone their skills. The innovative construction allows the net to be set at 3 different settings. By adjusting the net, you can practice fielding grounders, line drives, and fly balls. All types of hits you’ll encounter during a game.
In the middle of the net there is a generously-sized yellow target. Hit the target consistently and then get your glove ready for the return. With the net, you’ll be able to get so many more reps in than having someone actually hit a ball at you.
It’s a great way to practice when you’re on your own. Measuring 4 feet by 4 1/2 feet, the SKLZ Fielding Trainer sets up and disassembles in minutes, while taking up minimal storage space.
If you don’t want to spend the roughly $120 for this item, check out the SKLZ PitchBack Baseball Trainer, which costs only $24.99 but doesn’t have the adjustable net functions.
9. Schutt Strike Zone Home Plate
Work on your accuracy with the Schutt Strike Zone Home Plate, which is a training aid designed to help pitchers improve location. The color-coded plate also helps promote focus while working on situational pitching.
Not only is the Strike Zone Home Plate great for pitchers, but it’s also a useful tool for catchers and umpires. The plate is very lightweight at under 2 pounds and can be rolled up for easy transport and storage. It’s suitable for both baseball and softball, and for players of all ages.
And if you’re looking for an even bigger target, check out the Extended Strike Zone Home Plate from Schutt here.
Price: $16.75 (16 percent off MSRP)
10. Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun
If you’re a pitcher, knowing the speeds of your pitches can very important. The Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun is a highly effective machine and can measure the speed of your throw within plus-or-minus 1 mile per hour. With a large LCD display, it has a range of 10 to 110 miles per hour from up to 90 feet away from the pitch.
Compact and light, the radar gun measures 4.3 inches wide by 8.4 inches high by 6 inches deep while weighing just 19 ounces. Each purchase comes with a 2-year warranty. It runs on C batteries, which are not included. You can also use the Bushnell Velocity Speed Gun for other sports including softball, tennis, and auto racing.
For a comparable option, learn more about the Pocket Radar Ball Coach here.