Florida Guide > Miscellaneous
Softball and Baseball Practice Batting Cages – Near the Loop
With us having two boys, aged 12 and 8, we are always looking for new and fun things to do whilst in Florida. We read on the forums that some people had tried out the Softball and Baseball Batting Practice Cages which are situated near the Loop and they had had a great time, so we thought this would be an ideal way for our kids to burn off some energy.
A few days into our recent holiday we decided to check out the place and set off for the Loop. We did not have exact directions, but once you get close to the Loop (the new outdoor shopping mall) the place is sign-posted and you can’t miss it (well you could if I were driving, but I left that to the better half! )
We found a little wooden hut which was the entrance to the batting practice cages. The lady inside was very helpful and explained to us how everything worked:
First we had to complete a form each for our boys which we had to sign and they held on file for up to a year. Then we ‘signed-in’ for our session.
The pricing is very straightforward - $1 for 15 pitches, $10 for 15 minutes (on a timer) and $20 for 30 minutes (on a timer). There were different cages for either softball or baseball practice, and where the balls were pitched by machine at differing speeds. As we were complete newcomers, we decided on the softball practice cage with a slow pitch and the timed 30 minute option, so that we could all ‘have a go’ and also watch how each other fared.
We were given softball bats each and the boys also had to wear hard helmets for protection. The lady gave us brief instructions – get in position in the cage, somebody presses the button on the outside of the cage – and the machine fires 15 balls at you, which you whack as hard and as far as you can (well this is what I was doing, not sure that this is what good softball players do! ). The machine stops after 15 balls and the next person is up – after kicking back any stray balls that have collected behind you. The area in front of the cages is sloped downwards, so the balls roll back towards the machinery to be scooped up and shot back out again.
The boys missed the first few practice balls, but soon got the hang of things. In fact they made it look easy. Then it was the better half’s turn. He took a couple of balls to work out the timing, but then he was whacking them all over the place and looked very pleased with himself! So then it was my turn – how hard could it be! ? After completely missing the first two balls, I relaxed a little and then started connecting with the balls. By about the 14th ball I was in the swing of things and wanting more!
We kept taking it in turns and the 30 minutes flew by. By the end of the session we were tired, but had decided it was a great way to work out and was also good fun and that we would be back! Later, the boys also spotted a softball bat each in Walmart which they HAD to have.
So the next visit, we decided to split up into two pairs, the boys on the softball practice again with their new bats, and we tested the baseball practice at 20-30 mph, both pairs having 15 minutes each. Adults have to wear helmets for the baseball cages. The baseball practice was great fun – the ball is pitched at you much quicker and it’s a little harder to gauge when to hit. The boys decided the baseball looked better fun and tried our cages also. The time flew by again.
As we were all addicted by this time, we all decided that we would have one last practice on our final day before leaving for the airport. It was a great way to finish off our holiday and put us in a good mood for the flight home.
We would definitely recommend others to try the cages – if you want to take your time, the tokens are probably a good and inexpensive way to practice.
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