Sometimes as coaches we get ahead of ourselves wanting to rush to machine pitching in hopes of just getting reps and reps. But, how should you progress from front toss to live and when? What are the benefits of each? Coach Lisle lets you know in this week’s video!

Front toss is what I would work on and spend a lot of time on when I’m teaching a new swing movement. When we’re working on a swing movement, front toss is where I’m going to spend a majority of my time.

I would tell you that my favorite pitching or learning phase is seated overhand. So I would tell you that with our college guys, if it’s from 20 feet away, I’m sitting on the bucket, behind the screen, protected.

I’m throwing live batting practice from a seated position from about 20 feet. So I’m creating the right angle, I’m creating the right arm slot. I’m creating this distance and the reaction time, but I’m not thowing full on batting practice.

That’s the sweet spot for me in the sense of we’re not fully live, we’re not machine yet, but we’re creating some downward angle, this arm slot, and we’re also creating some reaction time. To me, that’s my favorite.

For us, it’s a progression to get to machine. Our practice progression is generally tee, front toss and then live. I would tell you that I like the machine a lot. To me, a machine is the best way to emulate speed. I can tell you that I can get on the mound and create the distance for 95 miles an hour–or 90 or 85 or whatever it is–but a machine can create speed, and it can create more speed.

If I wanted to practice on 110 miles an hour from a reaction standpoint, I could move it up and crank that thing up and create this reaction time.

So I think there’s great learning at the machine speed time, but I use that time to compete and get better as a hitter. But if I’m throwing about 95 miles an hour off a machine, my expectation is that they’re going to figure out how to swing and hit the ball. Anything I taught them that day is out the window.

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