How to Build a DIY Home Batting Cage
Batting cages are a staple in baseball and softball. They help set up players for success by aiding in improving key skills such as hitting, pitching, throwing and catching. They also help to contain balls from flying into objects they shouldn’t be flying into, such as houses, cars and your neighbor’s window.
As a parent or coach of a little leaguer, you know just how quickly expenses can start to add up. Between the gear, the supplies and the traveling back and forth from practice and games, it may be tough to find the extra money for a home batting cage.
However, if you’re looking to seriously improve your or your child’s batting skills with frequent batting practice but you are on a tight budget, a DIY backyard batting cage might just be the thing for you to consider.
Building your own home batting cage will not only be cheaper than buying one, but it will save you significant money in the long run, especially considering the countless hours you would spend renting out a batting cage at a training facility, which can cost up to $45 per hour!
The flexibility you get when designing your own home batting cage means you can decide exactly how big or how small you want it. Plus, you’ll have the ability to build it while staying within whatever your budget may be.
Batting Cage 101: A Guide In Designing Your Home Batting Cage
There are quite a few things you’ll need to consider when choosing a batting cage for your child or little league slugger. From the construction of the frame to the material used in the netting to knowing the exact measurements and space required, it may become overwhelming for someone who is not well-versed in batting cage anatomy (which, let’s be honest, is probably most of us!). This is why we’ve included a detailed overview of a few key features that make up a batting cage:
What Are The Different Types of Batting Cages?
Batting cages can either be permanent or portable. Both provide plenty of benefits, though you may find that both options aren’t best suited for you. Deciding which type you need will depend on what you plan to use the cage for, how frequently it will be used and whether or not you need to transport it between locations. Here’s a quick look at what each type of cage has to offer:
Permanent Batting Cages
- Typically are more durable and longer lasting than portable batting cages
- Will hold strong against high usage and harsh seasonal elements
- Require a fairly large amount of space
Portable Batting Cages
- Quick and easy to assemble & disassemble
- Can be transported to and from practice locations without any hassle
- Are not as durable as permanent batting cages
How Big Is A Batting Cage?
Batting cages are measured by their length, width and height. All three of these measurements are important to take into consideration, especially given the limited space you may have for a home batting cage.
You may be a bit hesitant to commit to a full size batting cage due to the space it requires, which is completely understandable. However, in order to fully measure a batter’s performance, 70 feet is the optimal length. This provides enough room for the pitcher or the pitching machine and the batter to be at an accurate distance apart. If a 70 foot long cage isn’t an option for you, don’t fret! Even a length of as little as 20 feet will still give players ample opportunity to improve their skills. Shorter cages are more affordable and will also save you time when setting up and tearing down. Below are batting cage length recommendations for all levels of players:
T-ball: 38’ to 44’
Little League: 48’ to 55’
High School: 60’ and up
College: 70’ and up
12 to 14 feet is the standard batting cage width across all levels. A 12 foot batting cage tunnel width is sufficient enough for younger and developing players, while more advanced players are better suited with a wider 14 foot tunnel.
A 12 foot ceiling is plenty for the majority of players to accurately track ball velocity off of their hits. If 12 feet is a bit more than you’re able to provide, then an 8 foot tunnel height will work just fine. It’s important to make sure that you allot enough room for netting overflow to help contain balls within the cage. This overflow should be approximately one foot of extra netting to sag on the ground around the perimeter of the frame.
How Much Space Will I Need?
The required space for a home batting cage is ultimately up to you. Since batting cages are capable of providing effective training across a multitude of sizes, it will mainly come down to the amount of space that you have available and are willing to use. It goes without saying that before you begin designing and constructing a batting cage you will need to make sure that you do, in fact, have ample space for the structure.
Prior to beginning this project, take precise measurements of the designated area in your yard where you intend to place the batting cage. Recording the dimensions of the location will help you to determine the exact length, width and height of the cage. It also makes it significantly easier to pick out the correct materials and modify them to their required specifications, rather than purchasing too many or not enough supplies.
What Materials Will I Need?
Perhaps the greatest advantage that building a DIY backyard batting cage has over buying an already manufactured batting cage, or even a batting cage assembly kit, is the ability to customize it in any way, shape or form that you want. From the construction of the frame
to the material of the netting, there are plenty of options available on the market for you to design the perfect DIY home batting cage!
Constructing the Batting Cage Frame
Whether you aim to build a permanent batting cage or a portable batting cage is the most important variable to consider when choosing the primary material used in the frame’s
construction. The three most common types of material used for a batting cage frame are fiberglass, fiberglass with steel rods, and full steel. Though each type has its advantages and disadvantages, they are all great options that you can confidently depend on.
FiberglassFiberglass is the choice batting cage frame material for those on a tighter budget. Not only is it more affordable than its alternatives but it’s also extremely popular, especially among batting cage manufacturers due to its low cost. Its lightweight composition allows for greater portability, making assembly and disassembly a breeze. One thing to note before building your frame with fiberglass material is that the impact of hard-hit balls may shatter the fiberglass rods or poles. Because of this, it’s a great option for younger players who are still developing their skills or hitting hard balls.
Fiberglass with Steel RodsReinforcing a fiberglass frame with steel rods is a great way to increase your cage’s quality and durability while keeping costs down. The rods, which are the upright poles supporting the cage, are made from steel, while the frame surrounding the ceiling of the cage provides a discounted price when compared to a full steel frame construction. The greatest benefit of using steel rods is that they keep the structure sturdy when faced with harsh weather and will hold strong against direct impact from hard-hit balls. For a permanent and more secure structure, dig a hole two feet into the ground where you plan to place the rods and fill each hole with concrete, surrounding the base of each rod.
Full SteelIf you want to build a permanent home batting cage that’s super sturdy, a full steel frame construction is the way to go. It’s one of the most durable methods for designing a home batting cage that will ensure your masterpiece remains firmly in place. Due to its increased durability, sturdiness and lifespan, it outshines the other types of material and is the most sensible investment to make, given that you’re able to afford the higher price tag.
PVC Piping & Wood
Designing your frame with PVC piping or wood is by far the cheapest option for your home batting cage. Both PVC piping and wood are a popular choice across many DIY projects since they can be assembled with minimal effort and will save you a significant amount of money upfront. However, substituting for PVC pipe or wood will ultimately decrease the lifespan of your cage as they’re less durable and will corrode quicker against the elements. That said, many DIYers building their own home batting cage opt to go this route for the value it provides at a lower expense.
Choosing the Right Netting for Your DIY Home Batting Cage Now that you have the details of your frame down, it’s time to choose the netting. There’s a little more wiggle room to save money on the design of your frame, but investing in a heavy duty net will undoubtedly pay its dividends.
Barrier & Containment Nets
Barrier nets, also known as containment nets, are commonly used for training across a variety of sports. They have four walls and a ceiling and drape over the top of your frame, leaving about two feet of extra netting to sag on the ground around the cage perimeter. As its name implies, this net style creates a barrier that contains balls so they don’t pose any threat to nearby buildings, cars or other objects.
Take exact measurements of your cage’s ceiling and walls before you choose the specifications of your netting. Additionally, be sure to pick a size that will leave an extra two feet of net sagging on the ground around the cage. We highly recommend going with a heavy duty, durable netting. A net that lasts through years of moderate to heavy use will certainly be worth the premium!
DIY Home Batting Cage vs. Buying One New
Depending on your budget and what you are specifically looking for, there are a couple of options for your home batting cage that are sure to fit whatever your needs may be. The easiest, though more expensive, route is buying one. This ensures a high functioning product with real customer reviews that is often backed by a warranty. The alternative, more affordable option is to build your own DIY home batting cage. There are many benefits that each of these options provide, which we’ve broken down for you below.
Buying A New Batting Cage
The greatest benefit of buying a new batting cage is its durability and dependability. With an abundance of options available that have hundreds or even thousands of reviews, you’ll be able to read first-hand experiences of customers who have purchased and used the
batting cage, making it significantly easier to trust that you’re getting a dependable product at a great value. If you would rather buy a new one, here are a few excellent options that we recommend:
Though there are many benefits to buying a new batting cage, it may not actually be the best option for you. After all, you are here because you’re interested in building your own DIY home batting cage!
DIY Home Batting Cage
Designing your own batting cage doesn’t have to be difficult, but it does have to be accurate. Simply put, you need to measure out the specifications of your space, gather the correct tools and supplies for the project, then begin putting the cage together. However, if it’s your first time designing and constructing a batting cage, it’s easier said than done. That’s exactly why we’ve put together this step-by-step guide on how to build your own home batting cage!
Step 1: Measuring Out Your Space
First, decide whether you want a permanent or portable batting cage, then designate an area in your yard and the amount of space you’re willing to provide for it. Take detailed measurements of the length, width and height that the intended size of your cage will require and record them (Length x Width x Height). Place markers at each of the four corner post locations. Draw a circle around each marker to outline the area where you’ll dig, leaving enough room for a two-foot deep hole.
Note: When calculating the height of the cage, make sure to account for the extra two feet you’ll need to set your posts into the ground. For example, a 12’ cage height will require 14’ tall posts.
Step 2: Gathering the Supplies
Once you have your measurements, it’s time for the fun part: gathering all of the supplies! Depending on which materials you use for your frame, you may need different tools or supplies, but here is a list of the basic supplies you will need for building your batting cage:
- 4-6 sturdy posts [3”-4” width x 13’-15’ length]
- Wheelbarrow to mix cement
- Connectors for posts [screws, anchor bolts, etc.]
- Heavy Duty Netting based on required dimensions [nylon or polyethylene]
- Eye bolts & clips for netting
- Astroturf to lay as flooring (optional)
- Pitching machine (optional)
- L screen (optional)
- Home plate (optional)
Step 3: Putting the Batting Cage Together
- Attach two eye bolts to the top of each post. Have each eye bolt face across from its corresponding post; one across the length of the cage and one across the width.
- Dig four 2’ deep holes and set the posts in them. Then, mix your cement and pour it
around each post. Let the posts set until the cement has completely hardened. Once they are set, drape your netting overtop of the posts and extend it down evenly across all four cage walls. Allow 1’-2’ of extra netting to sag on the ground around the perimeter of the cage.
- Clip the netting to each eye bolt (we recommend using carabiners). Avoid stretching the netting too tightly between the bolts so that hard hit balls will not dangerously ricochet back at the batter.
- Add any optional accessories to the cage such as astroturf flooring, a pitching machine, a L screen or a home plate.
With this guide, you should now be able to design and build your very own DIY home batting cage. Now you can enjoy years of batting practice by yourself or with the whole team!