Batting cages were originally designed for professional ball players. The first ones consisted of a space surrounded by netting. Often some type of protective barrier shielded the pitcher, and the balls were restrained by the netting. The idea was to practice contact and not to see how far the ball went. The netting made chasing down the hit balls easy, so the concentration could be on getting more swings.The development of the pitching machine gradually replaced the thrown ball in most batting cages. The pitching machine not only was highly accurate, but the speed could be controlled. The ability to control pitch speed opened up the batting cage to use by beginners as well as professionals. Today, you can find a batting cage location inside or outside. The pitching machine can be set to pitch hardball or softball style and speed.