Know This – All Batting Turtles & Portable Baseball Cages Are Worth The Cost!
Yes, there is junk on the market and some of it is expensive-junk, but all have value, some just do not hold up and that is why I hope you will find this article helpful for you to make a better decision.
Learn This – There is no one name that these products are called!
There is no difference between a batting turtle, baseball turtle, portable batting cage, roll away batting cage, or portable baseball backstop. Crazy, I know. I just recall that the old-timers referred to them as batting practice turtles or bp turtles.
Who Rants About A Batting Turtle? Me, I Guess!
Any type of batting turtle is not inexpensive and some school boards still feel that they have gone along without one forever so why not live without…. My coaching side knows how much avoidable wasted time and how many lost balls it takes to get through another season.
More than that, we all know the small amount that coaches are paid in most schools and how shrinking budgets continue to suck the lifeblood out of our sport, taking good coaches away from our deserving players!
This pressures parents & dugout clubs to come up with even more! We need these seasoned coaches, so let’s give them the few major tools they need along with recovering at least some of their limited time and perhaps make their lives just a bit easier too!
Ok, rant over, let’s talk about choices & price.
Here’s Some Examples of Various Price Points
Qualities You Should Look For In Portable Batting TURTLES & Baseball CAGES
Just like a batting cage, you will want somewhere around a 12 ft ceiling and enough room behind batter and catcher. You will also want enough front-side room that most or all balls that leave the netted area will stay in the fair territory so you are not needlessly shagging balls that leave the playing field.
The Frame Build
Quality portable batting cages should have frames around a 1 3/4″ to 2-inch tubular aluminum or thinner-wall steel frame for a combination of strength and heft.
The Net Build
The good news is that baseball turtles have nets that can direct hits though that’s not its primary design. The advantage of these heavier gauge nets is generally their longevity. The other part of longevity is a net that is UV treated from the destructive rays of the sun! All our nets are dipped and treated against UV-A and UV-B rays, in other words, they will last as long you would expect. And, they are replaceable.
One more thing. The number one wear point of these nets is that area where players miss or tick the ball sending it straight back. Most of our batting turtles include an extra “baffle net” which will further extend the life of these expensive nets and some even include a thick padding rectangle called a thud pad!
All but one of our models use a rear transport dolly system that acts like a rudder and works in tandem with 2 side wheels. Pressing down on the handle raises the frame bottom off the ground a few inches and allows all three tires to move freely. Turning the rudder-handle to the left or right swings the back end to assist in changing the direction.
Tires & Wheels
You will find larger and sometimes wider tires and wheels on the higher-end models; This is really helpful on wet and softer ground conditions with and reduces damage to infield skin and turf areas. These larger tires also tend to be easier to move and to maneuver.
Extras – Hint, Buy Up To Your Budget!
All portable batting turtles are shipped complete and ready to work. Accessories tend to be in the category of wants, more than needs. Some will be more important than others. This is where you need to be honest with yourself and your budget. Decision made!
Padding aka Ricochet Cushion is a safety-issue product though complete padding systems can still be considered a want. At the very least, you should want to have the front frame rails and overhead padded as a safety-factor. This is where high velocity mis-hits can accelerate and rebound. Full padding systems are great and will add to the cost.
We have one “least expensive” model that does not include any padding but we do offer it in 6 ft sections that you can simply zip-tie to the frame. This ricochet cushion is found on our baseball turtle parts page. Consider adding 18 feet at minimum.
Folding Coaching Platforms are my favorite extra. They are very helpful to any coach and will give a superior look at everything from how the ball is going out of the pitcher’s hand to what the hitter is seeing and an unobstructed rear view of your entire hitter(s). They tend to be standard on the higher-end models. We carry the Big Bubba batting cage & Big Bubba Elite coaches platform on our batting turtle parts and accessories page.
Portable Batting Turtles are all priced fairly. Budget what you can since this a daily-use product that may need to be transported twice each practice and game day. This may be even more important if you are a heavier user or a larger program. It is an investment in your program that will pay dividends in years of service and improved efficiency too!
I’m still amazed when I get a call from a high school baseball or fastpitch program about purchasing their first batting turtle, and I suppose I shouldn’t be. They are a costly purchase and some schools have just been forced to go without!
Others continue putting it off until they can afford a pro model.
I get it but… please don’t! Let’s talk about what’s affordable for this season’s players. Frankly, having a baseball turtle is more important than which model.
Remember, don’t get fooled by terminology. There is no difference between batting turtles, baseball turtles, portable batting cages, a roll-away batting cage, or a portable baseball backstop.