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Baseball Nets – Buyer’s Guide

Baseball nets come in a variety of shapes & sizes, used for many different purposes. The key to remember before you buy is that not all baseball nets are created equal, despite appearing the same on the surface. Unfortunately there is a large amount of low quality netting in the market – some vendors are aware of this, some are not.

Receive an instant quote & order baseball netting here or continue learning below.

How can I identify low quality baseball nets?

1) Cost

You truly “get what you pay for” in the baseball netting industry. If you find a “baseball netting for sale” ad on ebay or craigslist with rock-bottom prices, it’s likely rock-bottom quality.

Before you buy netting you should do your homework, researching several companies and their references. Some inexperienced netting companies will unknowingly sell low quality netting, purchasing from upstream vendors based on price only, instead of testing for quality or talking to coaches & players.

2) References

A legitimate high quality netting company will have a long list of satisfied customers. These clients should be verifiable, such as major colleges & pro teams. Any netting company with a high amount of experience will have a history with some of the larger organizations, since upper level teams would not entrust a low quality netting company to outfit their facility. Low quality baseball nets fail within a short period of time, so companies that deal in low grade materials are typically not around very long, or change their name.

3) Experience / Knowledge

The baseball netting business is very nuanced. If you are ordering a large amount of netting of different shapes & sizes, it’s critical that you work with a netting supplier who understands the business, with a high attention to detail. It takes a minimum of 10 years to fully grasp the small details which can make or break a quality netting design & installation. We have received countless calls over the years from new clients looking for help fixing their netting issues created by an inexperienced company. The company you select should be able to discuss all of the netting details with you inside out, and it should sound like ‘second nature’ to them.

The staff at Practice Sports has had a conversation about netting 5 days a week for over 12 years. You might naturally assume netting is pretty basic with a short learning curve, but once you get involved you will realize there is so much to learn in the world of sports netting. Our staff learns new tricks & tips all the time, and has achieved an expert level of experience. We will provide recommendations for the best netting for your application, budget, and preferred netting life-span. We don’t simply tell customers what they want to hear, we tell them the truth about netting – which can make or break your facility.

Further, if netting just seems to be “one of the many things” a company does and not their specialty – look somewhere else. Netting is an art AND a science.

It’s not just about knowing the names of the materials, it’s about understanding what to recommend based on age level, environment, requirements, & budget. It’s about understanding the differences between hung-square vs diamond, knotted vs knotless, sewn borders vs woven, twisted twine vs braided, low denier vs high denier, oil based vs water based water-proof treatments, extruded vs dyed, and on and on.

Finally, the netting shop you select should have experience with installation. We strongly believe that you can only know so much about netting until you have actually worked with it in a practical real-world setting. After 1,000’s of hours in the field installing baseball nets, you will have a completely different perspective on netting and what to recommend for different levels of use.

Main Styles of Baseball Netting

Barrier / Containment Netting

Barrier netting is commonly used for baseball field backstops; on golf courses & driving ranges; and to shield homes against stray balls, animals, rocks etc. Barrier netting is all about keeping things out or in – so selecting the proper mesh diameter based on the smallest object you need to contain is critical. If you live on a golf course, make sure to order netting with small enough mesh size to stop a high velocity golf ball – not just “driving range containment netting” – there is a difference.

Safety / Protective Netting

Netting is widely used for safety purposes in the game of baseball. Protective screens are essential for batting practice in cages and on the diamond. Safety screens come in the form of L-screens to allow the pitcher to throw over-hand within the “cut-out” of the screen. Softball screens have lower cut-outs at the release point of the softball pitcher. Screens are also used in the field to protect fielders during batting practice and for wide variety of other purposes.

Batting Cage Nets

Batting cage are becoming a fixture on baseball fields throughout the US. Many schools, athletic clubs are also adding batting cages, as popularity increases. Some home-owners are even adding batting cages in the backyard, basement, barn or garage. They offer baseball & softball players an excellent opportunity to refine their hand-eye coordination – and if designed properly, can allow the player to track the flight of the ball for instant feedback on their swing. Baseball batting cage nets can make a huge difference in the performance of players on the field.

A typical batting cage is a fully enclosed rectangle with 2 side walls, 2 end walls, and a ceiling – all connected together in a single piece to prevent ball escape. A typical size for baseball is 70’L x 14’W x 12’H, and a typical softball batting cage is 55’L x 14’W x 12′.

However, for facilities with the space, a large “shell cage” is becoming more popular, which allows the walls to slide back & forth, opening the entire facility for “live game simulation” while maintaining covered walls & ceilings with netting to protect lights/ceiling/spectators. A common size for a shell cage is 85’L x 48’W x 20’H with 3 divider curtains – which allows for 4 lanes @ 85’L x 12’W x 20’H, one large open area @ 85’L x 48’W x 20’H or any combination of sizes when the curtains are slid.

Open-Sided Hitting Cage Nets

Hitting cages are commonly used for limited space baseball practice activities, such as soft-toss, tee-work, and even backstops. This style also works great for golf hitting cages, allowing the golfer to drive & chip balls into the net with a full swing.

Main Reasons Baseball Nets Fail

1) Wrong material

You wouldn’t use a little league bat for high-school play, so the same should be true for netting. Using the incorrect gauge of netting for the wrong level is the #1 reason why netting fails early. #21 gauge netting should only be used for little league, #36 should be used for high-school, #42 for heavy high-school and college, and #60 for heavy college & pro / commercial.

2) Not properly UV treated

Black is hands-down the best color for UV deflection – counter-intuitive, but true. The darker the color, the better. White netting will fall apart within months of outdoor use. Further, netting should be EXTRUDED with UV inhibitors (which means infused during production), instead of surface coated. This ensures they are protected to the core. Surface UV inhibitors will eventually wear-off and you will be left with an unprotected net.

3) Not water-resistant

Outdoor netting should always be water-resistant, even if not in an area that receives much precipitation. Even humidity will “water-log” a baseball net, and this causes extra stress on the material and pre-mature deterioration. The best water-resistant treatment is an oil-based / varnish coat, but a water-based latex is also very effective. Varnish will emit a strong odor, and latex will not – keep this in mind if using the netting in a enclosed facility or outdoor space without much air-flow.

4) Using knotless and/or braided twine

The bottom line is this – twisted twine results in denser netting. Denser netting has more netting for the ball to “chew” through. Braided netting allows the producers to achiever a higher twine diameter using less material, due to the “over / under” method of braiding. This means they can make a net that is rated as the same diameter/gauge as a twisted net, using significantly less material. This is the reason braided baseball nets are cheaper than twisted (or should be!).

Knotted netting has also proven to be superior to knotless netting. The bottom line: Netting typically fails at the intersection point. Knotted netting is reinforced at this point, knotless netting is not – no pun intended.

We hope this guide to baseball nets has been informational on the most important things to consider when shopping for the best netting. All of these factors areas can greatly affect the functionality, safety, and life-span of your netting. We consider our baseball netting to be the best value for the quality in the industry – but please do remember that we are proud to offer competitive pricing for the same items – should you happen to receive a lower quote for backstop netting just send it over and we will beat it!

Receive an instant quote & order baseball netting here.

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