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Easton Popup Playback Trainer

I am very pleased with Easton’s Popup Playback Trainer. More importantly, the girls on my softball team love, Love, LOVE using it -- it is their favorite defensive station by far. Easy to put up (my 10 year-old daughter can set it up by herself in a couple of minutes) and compact when put away (folds into a disk about two feet in diameter), the Pop Up Playback Trainer has withstood thousands of 12" softballs thrown at it and is still practically good as new. I suspect that it will last for many, many seasons.

It is a great tool to teach players how to throw hard to a smallish target, and the better players can aim even finer to receive a line drive (hit the upper part of the target) or pop-fly (hit the lower part of the target). It also helps them read and track a pop fly or line drive, reacting to each ball as it comes off the target. It seems to get the competitive juices flowing, as girls who would never dive for balls dive all over the place trying to catch balls before they hit the ground. Once we incorporated the Popup Playback Trainer into our practices, our team defense improved measurably. I do not think it is a coincidence that we went from 5th place to 2nd place in our league after we started using it.

I would have given it 5 stars, except one of the support struts' rubber end-cap sometimes needs to be pulled out of the strut. It is a small defect that I can fix with a little bit of glue once I get around to it, but it is a defect. Additionally, I recommend purchasing a few extra small tent stakes, as I find that the Popup Playback Trainer needs five stakes in the ground to hold it steady, at least for 7 ounce softballs. Also, as with all Easton Pop Ups, learning the trick to folding it down can take some patience.

All in all, a solid piece of merchandise and a staple in my practices.

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