(I am affiliated with all of the products below.)
These are the gymnastics rings I recommend. I like them because they are inexpensive but also good quality. The buckle that is used is large and strong, whereas most of the buckles that come with rings on Amazon are small and cheaply made. YOU DON'T WANT THE BUCKLE TO BE CHEAP. It's important that your buckle is sturdy to keep you safe at all times.
Gymnastics rings are the only things you really need for exercise. They provide the perfect combination of muscle building, improved mobility, and the prevention of injury - the three most important things for a hitter to consider when developing a training program. Plus, they don’t require you to depend on weight rooms, which aren’t always available. They also work the exact muscles you want to build for the swing - upper arms and back and forearms - but do so in a way that doesn't require movements that simulate the swing which would thereby risk repetitive movement injury and burnout. Find a tree at your local park to hang them, or hang them from a sturdy pull-up bar.
Why These Soft Baseballs Are Perfect
These baseballs are so perfect for pitch recognition practice in every way. I had in my mind what kind of ball would be perfect, and then I came across these balls made by Phinix, AND THEY ARE EXACTLY WHAT I WAS ENVISIONING.
I like these soft baseballs because the seams really protrude a lot, which makes curveballs more extreme. Also, they are an ounce lighter than regular baseballs, so they will hurt less when you get hit, and they will also be easier on the pitcher's arm. Yet, they are still heavy enough that they will still curve when throwing, and will give you a realistic feel when hitting.
Why Soft Baseballs Are The Answer For Working On Pitch Recognition
Most people assume pitch recognition is just about seeing a ball-flight. This is why they think that if they set their pitching machines to throw curveballs they are working on pitch recognition. But without the release action of a pitcher, you cannot connect a release action to a ball-flight, and therefore you are not improving your pitch recognition.
The simple solution is a bucket of soft baseballs with protruding seems. Have these soft baseballs handy for when you find someone who can throw to you. When you do find someone, you can quickly grab these soft baseballs, along with your helmet and bat, and go to a field or cage for however many pitches the person is willing to throw. Why do you want soft baseballs and not regular baseballs? Because they are safer.
The description on Amazon says that these balls are for kids but they are also suitable for adult use. I recommend getting two to four dozen and putting them in this bucket...
Bucket to Hold the Soft Baseballs
Most buckets that are sold are overpriced just because they have a Rawlings or Wilson logo on them. This is all you need. You can put up to 4 dozen baseballs in here, and then keep them handy and ready to go at a moment's notice.
I want players in The Swing Mechanic tribe to get 1000 extra pitches this offseason. If you put 48 balls in every bucket, you can just count the number of buckets you went through during each practice session, and then add up the total at the end. One thousand is the goal for this offseason!
Good size and shape. Most juggling balls are awkwardly shaped and too small. Taylor gets it right. She's also a great teacher of all sorts of juggling tricks. I learned how to juggle five balls from her videos.
When filming, the phone should be at about hip height. You could set up your phone on the tripod and keep the remote in your pocket and start and stop video when you want, without having to go back and forth to your phone. I like this idea because I don't think you should be analyzing video at the same time that you are hitting balls. If you go back to the phone, you'll be tempted to look at the video. Just be sure you talk into the camera about what you are working on before you swing so you know what to look for when you are analyzing later on.
I know what you're thinking, "What the &%$# do I need gardening gloves for?" Well, first off, you don't need them. You don't NEED anything on this page. These are just inexpensive ways of making your practice time more efficient. I first got the idea of using gardening gloves from reading about one of my favorite basketball players, Jason Williams. He had unbelievable ball-handling skills, which he developed in large part because he used to wear gloves while dribbling as a kid. Wearing gloves would take away a lot of the feel in his hands, so when he took the gloves off, he had much better control of the ball. Genius.
I use these gloves for putting and chipping practice, juggling practice, and also dribbling basketballs. As a baseball player, you could also use these gloves for fielding ground balls and throwing. It makes pretty much any athletic endeavor much harder to do by taking away the feel in your hands, so when you take them off, your coordination for the move will be supercharged. Regular practice using these gloves will substantially increase the rate at which you improve your skill in an athletic movement. This is a huge hack that exactly none of your competition is doing, I promise you.
I also use these gloves to cover the hands and forearms from the sun (usually when doing rings). That way I can take my shirt off and get sun on my torso which needs it because it rarely gets it, but not on my forearms, which have had too much sun over the course of my life because of all the baseball and golf I've played. So these gloves have a dual-purpose. They stay in the passenger seat of my car. I use them multiple times a day.