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The batting tee is one of the greatest baseball tools ever invented. The main reason for this is that you can always get some swings in with the batting tee even if nobody else is around. The batting tee is super important, but only one tool. You definitely don’t want most of your swings coming off the tee. Seeing a moving ball is super important. When we do use the tee, let’s make sure we get the most out of it so it can translate to the game.
Getting Loose on the Tee
For me, if I were going to just go out and hit, I wouldn’t go through a stretching routine to get ready to hit. It isn’t the same as throwing, running or defense where you really need to make sure you get your body ready for the routine to avoid injury. When I am just hitting, I use the tee to actually get my body loose. I start out nice and easy, working middle of the field and I don’t start swinging harder until my body feels good and ready.
Low Middle, High Middle
Understand the difference in the contact points with a low middle pitch and a high middle pitch. You can pull the low middle pitch, but it’s hard to get that ball off the ground. So, I am working back up the middle with the low pitch, you could go opposite field gap on this too. Then, I am trying to launch the high middle pitch to my pull gap. Mix it up and understand the difference in the contact points.
This is a lot of fun for me. Work on backspin and getting through balls. You want these balls to carry over the outfielder’s head to your pull side. For the low and inside pitch, I try to keep this in the gap. For the high and inside pitch, I am going to try to hit it out of the park from the right fielder to the line. I want to keep this pitch fair. I bat lefty, so it’s left field for the righty batters.
This depends on the pitch height, but for the most part, we’re working on hitting balls to the opposite field gap. I try to hit the low and away pitch to left center, however, as this ball comes up more in the zone, the ball will go more towards center field or even into my pull gap if it’s up and just a little bit outside.
Gap to Gap
Learning how to hit balls in the gaps is huge. Understand your contact points. Just a little in front of your stride foot for the inside pitch and just a little inside your stride foot for the outside pitch.
Using the Middle of the Field
If you are a line drive, singles type hitter, you may want to try to turn yourself into a hitter who can live up the middle of the field. There are a lot of hits in the middle of the field and once you understand what the contact point is plus what your hands have to do to make it happen, this may be something that works out well for you.
Staying Flat on the Tee
I used to use the batting tee and just go hit at the local field all the time in high school. I was a line drive hitter back then and the goal was to keep my swing as flat as possible to avoid hitting too many fly balls. I hit .510 in high school my senior year, so I definitely accomplished my goal of having a flat swing. I eventually changed it to a lift swing, once I got bigger and stronger, but understanding how to be flat in the zone helped me get so many hits as a kid.
Adding Lift to Your Swing on the Tee
I used the batting tee a lot once I changed my swing from a flat line drive swing to a lift swing. When learning how to add lift to your swing, I highly recommend grabbing a batting tee and a bucket of balls. Head out to a local field and start working on hitting the ball at the right trajectory that would work for hitting doubles. Home runs are good too, but for some kids, it’s not going to be a homer, it will be a double or maybe even a triple. The idea is to work on hitting just below the center of the ball and getting backspin on the baseball.
The Ball Isn’t Moving – Be More Consistent on the Tee – Have Higher Expectations
Seriously. The ball isn’t moving. If you are serious about being a good hitter, it isn’t asking too much to expect yourself to be consistent on a batting tee. If you aren’t consistent, grab a bucket of balls, a batting tee and get to work.
Don’t Hit Ground Balls on the Tee – Control Your Barrel
If you hit lots of ground balls while hitting on the tee, you are either working on a weird drill or you have no bat control. The ball isn’t moving. Learn how to get on line with the pitch before it gets there and stay on line through the baseball. This will allow you to get the ball off the ground when doing your tee work. Ground balls stink. Yes, I said it and I don’t care if you have a coach that says ground balls are good. Ground balls stink most of the time. Learn how to hit and get the ball off the ground.
Stop Popping Up – If You Can’t Lift the Ball Correctly on the Tee, Flatten out Your Swing
The ball isn’t moving. I get that you’re trying to add lift to your swing, but if you’re popping up or hitting weak fly balls on the tee consistently, you need to consider flattening out your swing. Line drives to balls with lift with an occasional fly out. Fly outs aren’t terrible when learning how to add lift to your swing in a practice session. Fly out too many times though and you’re going to give yourself a swing that doesn’t work. The ball isn’t moving. Stop popping it up.