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SKLZ Practice Net

This was the first "catch net" I ever bought as a Fast Pitch softball coach. I was looking for something sturdy, portable, and easy to set up. Well, it is portable…but otherwise, completely disappointing.

Is it easy to set up? No. It is difficult to assemble, requiring two people at least five minutes to get all the pieces to fit together. The support poles are the same kind as used on portable tents (fiberglass with bungee connectors), have to be bent into a shape of a semi-circle, and then fit into two plastic holders on the end. Each support pole is set at a 90 degree angle from each other and, believe me, they are a pain to get into position.

Is it sturdy? Uh...no. My first one lasted about a month of practices (about 2500 softballs hit into it) before the support poles splintered and broke. They are under a lot of tension even without softballs being hit into the netting, and so in retrospect it is not surprising that a few hundred hit balls would spell its doom. Sports Authority let me exchange it for a new Practice Net, but the next SKLZ Practice Net only lasted about three weeks before its support poles also broke. Clearly, this product is not built to be a catch-net for softballs, in spite being sold as a softball product.

I have since seen this product variously located in the softball/baseball, golf, and soccer aisles of stores. It may be suitable as a catch net for golf, but it just is not up to the task of stopping hard-hit softballs over time. I recommend that SKLZ stop trying to sell this as a softball product, and develop a portable catch net that is quicker and easier to set up yet durable enough to withstand multiple seasons of stopping softballs. The SKLZ Practice Net does not satisfy those requirements.

In short, one of the least expensive catch nets on the market, but still not a good value.
Note: Image provided by Amazon.com product page



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