This article will briefly describe how to build a batting cage right in your backyard. Recently, my father and I built a 70′ cage of our own with parts from Menards and a net we ordered from eBay. It costs us around $600 total, and can be taken down in the winter and re-assembled. This article provides a brief look at how we did it. For a more in depth look at how to build a cage, I recommend checking out my e-course, Build a Batting Cage on a Budget. More information is available at the end of this article.
The first thing you want to do is determine where your cage will be on your property. Once you know how much space you have to work with, you will be able to determine what size of a cage you can build. That brings us to our next obvious step. Decide what size you want your batting cage to be. This will obviously depend on many factors. First of all, the larger the cage, the more expensive your framing and net will cost…obviously. This decision will also depend on who will be using the cage. If you are building a cage for youngsters who hit from a 46′ mound, then you obviously won’t need a 70′ cage. However, if you want the maximum amount of room possible, a 70′ cage will be your best bet. It’s really up to you. Use your judgment and decide.
So now you’ve got the location and size picked out. Just picture it sitting back there in your yard. Looks beautiful doesn’t it? Once you know the size of your future cage, you’ll need to order your net. I’d recommend checking out eBay for batting cage nets. That’s where we got ours and it worked out well. Ours came from a seller named “casepros.”
Once you find a suitable net, place your order. The next step is to begin building your frame. For our frame, we used 1-1/4″ EMT pipe and it has worked great. Our net was 70’x12’x12’. We built 3 frame sections to hang it from. It’s a good idea to build your frame dimensions larger than your net’s dimensions. For example if you have a net with a 70’ length and a 12’ width, make your frame 74’ long and 14-16’ wide. This gives your net a buffer area so balls aren’t banging right off the frame posts. Since 1-2’ of your net will hang on the ground, you will most likely be fine if you make your frame height the same as your net height. (12’ high net & 12’ high frame).
Mark the layout of your cage to make a rectangle (my e-course gives you instructions to make a perfect rectangle), then begin assembly of your frame sections. You will need to use connector pieces to connect straight parts and elbow pieces to form 90 degree square pieces. These are pictured below. We planned on 3’ of the frame to go into the ground. Without getting into too much detail, you’ll need to cut and assemble your frame sections.
|Baseball Batting Cage Connector Kit
|Batting Cage Connector
Next you will need to concrete your ground sleeves into the ground. We used 1-1/2” PVC pipe for these. The 1-1/4” EMT fits nicely into the 1-1/2” PVC and worked great for us. Dig about a 40” hole with a post-hole digger and fill about 3-4’ of the bottom with gravel to allow for drainage underneath the posts. We also used PVC caps on the bottom of the ground sleeves with small holes drilled into them to assist with drainage as well.
Rest the ground sleeve on top of the gravel, centered in the hole and begin pouring your concrete mixture around the sides of the sleeve. Once the concrete is about halfway up the hole, insert your EMT pipe into the ground sleeve and use a level to make sure the post is standing straight up. Pour the rest of the concrete to fill the hole. Leave at least 1” standing above the concrete. Before the concrete sets, make sure the post is straight up with the level. Once the concrete sets up you should be able to remove the post from the sleeve. Finish assembling the frame sections so they can support the net. If you’re cage sits on uneven ground (as most do to some extent) you will have to trim some pieces to make the cage level on top. The process of leveling the top is explained in detail in my 3-course.
Next the net needs to be attached to the frame. We attached our net while the frame was on the ground and would recommend this method over attempting to hang the net from a standing frame. I feel this is the safer of the two methods. We also used two guy wires on each end of the cage to counteract the weight of the net from pulling the frame inwards on the ends. The guy wires we used were 1/8” vinyl coated braided cable attached to ground anchors. Eye bots were drilled onto the top corners of the frame sections and cable clamps were used to attach the guy wires to the frame.
Next you’ll want to attach the net and raise the cage. We attached the net by tying knots around the frame with the rope on the net. Since we used 3 frame sections, we raised up the middle section first. To raise the 2 end sections, we needed 3 people to coordinate the frame pieces and guy wires. Again, see my e-course for more detailed instructions and a video of the process. After the 2 end sections are raised with the net attached, you should be good to go.