If you’re looking for a way to perfect swinging a baseball bat, the best place you can do it is at a batting cage. The controlled environment of a batting cage allows you to safely test your swing and improve your aim without having to run hundreds of yards to fetch the ball. So, how big is a batting cage?
A batting cage typically measures 70 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 12 feet high. It’s in the shape of a short tunnel that has a nylon net surrounding the sides and top. It should provide enough room for players to swing the bat safely and without making contact with the net.
In this guide, I’ll speak about what a batting cage is, its dimensions, and the differences between short and long batting cages.
What Is a Batting Cage?
A batting cage, which also goes by the name “tunnel,” is a controlled, enclosed environment where baseball and softball players can master their bat-swinging techniques. On one end is where the batter stands, and at a set distance is where the pitching machine is placed. The batter’s job is to smack the ball with their bat as hard as they can without having to worry about retrieving the ball.
The design of a baseball cage varies from place to place. Some commercial batting cages have slightly sloped floors toward the opposite end of the batter to allow the hit balls to gently roll back toward the pitching machine. There are also some batting cages that don’t have pitching machines but instead allow pitchers to practice throwing the ball at practicing batters.
Batting cages can be indoors or out. An indoor batting cage will typically use suspended steel cables that hold the netting in place. Outdoor batting cages will use steel poles on which the netting is draped over. In both styles, it’s important that the net doesn’t sag too low, or else it won’t allow the batter can’t hit the ball toward the far end of the tunnel.
Dimensions of a Batting Cage
The dimensions of a commercial batting cage can vary significantly. Some cages may measure 100 feet long and 20 feet wide, while other establishments have a higher number of individual batting cages that are smaller in size.
On average, a batting cage will measure 70 feet long and 14 feet wide. The net will be suspended at least 12 feet above the ground, which is more than three times higher than the baseball bat length.
Although it’s not completely necessary to have a 70-foot-long batting cage, especially if it uses the proper netting, the extra space in the back allows users to store their baseball equipment. However, what’s more important is the width of the tunnel. It should be wide enough for the batter to swing the bat without it getting caught in the net.
The height of a batting cage will allow the batter and their crew to assess the velocity of the hit baseball. The higher the net, the more it can travel with interruption, and the better an idea the batter will have of how far the ball will travel. However, as long as there’s a ceiling, there’s no 100% reliable way to fully evaluate how high and far the baseball will go.
Short vs. Long Batting Cage
If you want to construct your own batting cage at home, you should know whether or not to build a short tunnel (less than 40 feet) or a long one. It’s generally recommended that you build a batting cage that is at least 70 × 14 × 12 feet, but the second-best size is the largest you can afford.
Short Batting Cage Pros and Cons
- You don’t have to have a super-large backyard to construct it. You can use whatever space you have on your property to build the cage to your desired specifications.
- You’ll need less to construct a short batting cage, which means you can save quite a bit on material and building costs.
- Amateur baseball players don’t need tremendously long batting cages. As long as the ball can travel to them from the pitcher’s mound, they can continue to practice their swing.
- There isn’t a lot of space to store your belongings. You’ll have to place your baseball equipment elsewhere.
- Because the pitcher’s mound won’t be at the regulation distance from the batter (60.5 feet), the batter can only practice with a limited number of pitching styles. Fastballs traveling at high speeds are almost certainly not a possibility.
- Players can quickly grow out of using short batting cages, especially when their width is limited to just 8 to 10 feet in order to save space.
Long Batting Cage Pros and Cons
- The additional space toward the back can be used to store extra equipment.
- The batting cage can continue to be used as you grow older and taller.
- Whether the ball travels higher or father, a longer batting cage lets you track the trajectory of the ball with greater accuracy than a shorter cage could.
- Even amateur baseball players can use long batting cages. They simply have to adjust the position of the pitching machine or the human pitcher. This also lets users adjust the speed of the pitch, especially if you can place the pitching machine 60.5 feet away.
- You will have to dedicate more of your property to the batting cage.
- Constructing a long batting cage can cost hundreds of dollars more than a short tunnel.
- Building and dismantling a long batting cage can take much longer than it does for a short tunnel.
Should I Build My Own Batting Cage?
If you have the means and the real estate, and if you’re serious about perfecting your swing, then go right ahead! However, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with renting a spot at a commercial batting cage.
Let’s crunch the numbers quickly. It can cost you at least $1,800 to construct a 70-foot-long batting cage, depending on the availability and prices of the supplier. Renting a batting cage can cost you around $15 per 30 minutes or more than $35 per half hour if you want to include the pitching machine.
So, in the end, you could rent a batting cage for 120 hours for the same cost it would take to build a batting cage at home. A pitching machine could cost you around $200, so for $2,000, you could rent a pitching machine for 57 hours at a commercial batting cage.