How to Build a Pitching Screen
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According to Malcolm Gladwell, the author of "Outliers: The Story of Success," it takes 10,000 hours of practice to perfect a skill. You might be eager to hit that mark, but as a pitcher, you're going to have to find a catcher that wants to squat for 10,000 hours. That's unlikely. But you can build a pitching screen, set it behind home plate and work toward pitching perfection on your own.
Use a hacksaw to cut seven pieces of PVC pipe -- two sections 4 feet long, and five sections 3 feet long.
Make the 4-foot-tall and 3-foot-wide rectangular target. Lay two, 4-foot pieces and two, 3-foot pieces of PVC pipe on the ground, connecting each top corner of the rectangle with a 90-degree elbow connector. Connect the bottom corners of the rectangle using the 3-way connectors, making sure the open ports of these connectors face the same way.
Lay the 1/2-inch netting over the rectangle. Cut around the rectangle, leaving 3 to 4 inches of overhang. Set the net aside.
Create the U-shaped base of the pitching screen. Connect the three remaining 3-foot pieces of PVC pipe with two, 90-degree elbow connectors.
Connect the U-shaped base with the rectangular target by popping the open ends of the U into the available ports on the rectangle's 3-way connectors.
Pull an end of PVC pipe out of its connectors; brush PVC cement on the end of the pipe, and the connector; press the joint back together; and hold it for a few seconds. One by one, repeat for every joint on the assembly.
Wrap the 1/2-inch netting around the rectangular target. Attach the netting with PVC pipe clamps, spacing them out evenly along the frame.
Mark the 17-inch-wide strike zone onto the center of the target's net with a bright color using a paint pen and a tape measure. Get an average-size ballplayer to stand next to the target. Mark the bottom of the strike zone at the hollow just below his knee and the top of the zone at the halfway point between his shoulders and belt.
Place sandbags on the base of the screen for stability.
Make sure nobody is near the pitching screen before throwing.
Do not set the pitching screen up in front of your house, a car or any other valuable property that could be damaged by errant throws.
- Outliers: The Story of Success; Malcolm Gladwell
- Baseball Almanac: The Strike Zone: A History of Official Strike Zone Rules
- This Old House: How to Build a Soccer Goal
- Place sandbags on the base of the screen for stability.
- Make sure nobody is near the pitching screen before throwing.
- Do not set the pitching screen up in front of your house, a car or any other valuable property that could be damaged by errant throws.
- Stacy Barnett/Hemera/Getty Images