The pitch back was designed originally for use in my clinic's back in the 70's to protect my video camera. It was so usefull that I made one for home, and then everyone wanted one after seeing mine. The size fits into the clinic's plan for learning, i.e., throwing hard over and over developing a consistency in the form, which will lead to a consistency in where the ball goes, which will lead to accuracy. Eliminating the need to chase balls increases the opportunities to work toward accuracy.
While there is no substitute for a catcher with a young pitcher, the pitch-back offers the chance to practice when one isn't available. Eliminating the need to chase balls means the more opportunities there are to work toward accuracy. Also, a coach or parent can stand, or sit behind the screen and critique (spin, form, etc.) and photograph without having to worry about being hit by the ball.
It would seem that only the beginning pitcher would have the need for a pitch back, but it is an invaluable tool when the pitchers talents outgrow the parent, or for advanced pitchers when learning new pitches. For instance, when learning the rise, which has a tendency to go high (If thrown properly) and different techniques in form are when it becomes very useful.
The pitcher can stand at the 40 foot or 46 foot pitching distance and the ball will return on the fly, or on the ground, which helps the last part of the windup, coming into a fielding position. Also the rope can be adjusted at the bottom. Then the pitch-back can be used to practice fielding grounders as well as pop-ups. This can be done with a partner and turned into a game, which makes learning fun.
Net $50.00 plus shipping.
Pitch-back complete $245.00 plus shipping.
Attach the hinges on the 6 inch sides of the 12 foot 2X6 . 3 feet from the end, and opposite the side that the net pins are on. Attach the other side of the hinge to the ends of the 2"X4"X10' so they can fold flat for storage. Let the bolt heads be on the hidge side so the legs can can fold flat for storage.
Attach a rope or heavy twine from the bottom of the net frame to the bottom of the legs. If your pitch-back is sitting on a slick surface, the rope will keep the angle of the pitch-back from changing. Adjusting the length of the rope will give you fielding practice with grounders, or pop up's.
Figure #5 gives you one idea of how to put the ends of the two by six boards together.
2) 2 in X 6 in X 8 ft.
2) 2 in X 6 in X 12 ft.
2) 2 in X 4 in X 10 ft.
1) polyprophlene rope 1/4 inch 43feet long.
1) Tarred net, 3 1/4 mesh #18 twine, 32 by 50 squares (count the squares diagonally). Run the rope through the outside squares of the net, and weave the rope ends together.
16) ½ in X 2 1/4 in bolts with nuts
32) ½ in washers.
16) 2 1/4 in X 7/16 in bolts with nuts.
16) 7/16 in Washers
84) 1/4 in Pegs to hold the net rope.
The pegs can be made from 1/4 inch steel rod or bolts. f what you use isn't rust resistant, I would recommend painting them after assembly is completed.
Drills the holes for the pegs at least 2 inches from the inside edge or more, so there would be enough meat in the wood to hold the tension of the net.
To drill the holes with consistency make a drill guide out of a block of wood 6 inches deep by at least 10 inches long. Find a block that is the right thickness for the length of your drill bit. Make the hole in the block at a 30 degree angle so the pegs will go in slanted toward the outside of the pitch-back. You only want to drill a hole 1 inch deep in the net frame. You can mark the bit with tape or buy a stop collar.
Measure in 8" from the ends of the 8 foot 2 X 6 boards. Far enough to clear the end joint. That should leave 80". Keep dividing that 80" into halves and put a mark on the flat side of the board until the marks are 5" apart. That will give you 17 pegs on each 8 foot 2 X 6.
You should have 33 pegs on the 12 foot 2 X 6"s. Measure in 8" to clear the end and this will leave you 128". Keep dividing that 128" into halves and put a mark on the 2" side of the 2 X 6 until the marks are 4 inches apart. This will give you 33 pegs. You will only attach the net rope to every other 4" peg on the 12 foot side and leave the others for later to tighten the net after it stretches.