Name: ViVit Batting Center
Location: Minami Funabashi
Access: 5 mins walk from Minami Funabashi station, just over the road from the Lalaport complex. On the 4th floor of the Vivit building. Alternatively, there is a bus from Funabashi station but it runs about once a year.
Cost: 1 game (20 balls) – ￥300 or 4 games for ￥1000. You buy a Credit card type thing from a machine just inside the entrance.
Mechanics: You stick your card in the slot and choose your ball speed (80/100/120/140 kph), choose how many games (only 1 is available) and set the height (higher or lower).
What you get: A pitcher on a big screen pitches hard rubber balls at you. On the lowest height setting I could get, at 80 kph you get some knee height full tosses with a hint of outswing. At 100 however you get a real mix of full tosses, outswinging yorkers and I even had a leg break that pitched 2 metres short and went for a wide! So, good for practicing defensive shots and picking dangerous balls. There’s also plenty of room to move left or right and practice off drives and leg glances.
Staff: Staff are cricket friendly and seem interested. One asked what I was doing and was eager to hear about cricket and the Sharks.
Anything else: The floor is covered with a tough felt so you don’t need to worry too much about damaging the bottom of your bat when fending off yorkers. It is an inside venue and gets pretty sweaty after a couple of games so a handkerchief is worthwhile. Drink machines are available.
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