Solo Batting Practice

By Dan Hughes

Are you one of those diehard softball fanatics who, upon finding yourself with an hour or two of spare time, heads out for the park to take some solo batting practice?

Perhaps you have a batting tee, or one of those soft-toss pitching machines, or maybe you just toss the ball up in the air and hit it.  Or maybe you have a partner with similar afflictions, and the two of you make that trip to the diamond together.  You take turns hitting and pitching.

However you do it, you probably stand at home plate and hit a bucket of balls into the field, and then retrieve them.  And if you're like me, you'll have hit a few to left field, a few to right field, and the rest somewhere near the middle of the outfield.  You can get quite a workout just retrieving all the balls.

Here's a shot of what the outfield looks like after I have hit a bucket of balls from home plate:

It is a bit difficult to see, but the balls are scattered from the left side of the picture to the right.

This is the way I have done if for years.  But this summer, an inspiration hit me:  What if I stood in deep centerfield and hit the balls in, towards the backstop?  Well, why not!  

Because when you hit from the outfield in, a miraculous thing occurs:  the balls you hit to the left side of the field hit the first base fence and bounce to the right towards the middle, the balls you slice to right field hit the third base fence and roll back left to the middle, and the balls you hit right down the middle stay in the middle.  Voila!  

All the balls end up in almost the same spot, right in front of the backstop, no matter which direction they went initially (the top picture encompasses three times as much ground as this infield picture):

And now they are much easier to pick up and do it all over again.  Enjoy!

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