Baseball Training Aids: A Tee Is No Toy
A batting tee will most likely be the first baseball training aid a player will ever use, however it is certainly not a child's toy, nor one that a player will "grow out of" or a tool that will be retired when a hitter's skills reach a certain level.
Hitting drills utilizing the tee will be incorporated into a players practice and training regimen for as long as they play the game, and there is no getting around the importance of working off the tee. It improves hand-eye coordination, develops a quick bat, allows coaches to correct hitting fundamentals, teaches the hitter how to learn to use the whole field, and can help the player work on a repeatable, fluid, and powerful swing.
Drills off of a batting tee are very effective because the ball doesn't move. Since the ball is in the same place every swing, once the player finds the right contact points for inside, middle, and outside pitches. That swing can be duplicated again and again, with the player developing muscle memory and feel with every repeated swing of the bat.
Paired with a high quality, portable lightweight hitting net, the tee makes a perfect "practice anywhere" hitting station, allowing the player an opportunity to work on hitting by themselves. For the backyard or park, we prefer a 7' or '8' portable net like the Bownet 8' X 8' Big Mouth Pro so there is plenty of net to work with, and it can easily be taken down and set up where ever the player wants to use it. Another alternative for practicing at home is to use a garage door net like the Athlonic Zip Net or the Hit It! Baseball Hitting Net to transform your drive way into a training area. For the practice field or training facility, where more players hitting means the net will take a little more of a beating, we recommend something more along the lines of the Kodiak 8' X 8 Sock Net, a heavy duty, padded, professional grade hitting net.
When it comes time for practice, you will want to set up the hitting net 3' to 4" in front of the hitting tee. The tee should be placed so that the front of the hitter's lead foot is just behind the stem of the tee, and adjust the tee so that the top of the stem is at a height somewhere between the mid-thigh and the hitter's belt line. To determine how close the player and the tee should be, take a slow practice swing stopping just before the batt and ball connect. It is in the right position when the hands are not fully extended at contact, and the barrel's sweet spot and the ball should meet.
Once you have the net and tee positioned, it is time to hit some balls. There are countless drills to help the young player develop their swing and advanced players to perfect their fundamentals, and one of our favorites are Swing Plane Drills. These drills will promote a forward and down swing, which is the quickest and most direct line to the ball. It has been a staple of practice drills for years, and many variations utilizing multiple tees and/or cones have been used on practice fields across the country for decades. The concept is simple: Place two tees together in a straight line roughly 12 to 18 inches apart at the same height. The objective is to hit the ball on the front tee without the bat making contact with the back tee. If the player hits the back tee, the swing plane has a slight uppercut, which is very common. This drill can be set up with two portable tees, or by using a single tee and an orange cone on top of a ball bucket or crate. However JUGS Sports has a more elegant solution in the the 5 Point Hitting Tee.
This tee comes with 2 fully adjustable extension tubes and 5 placement holes for the tubes making it tightly effective for this drill, and combining for many, many more. This is a very afordable solution that has been "battle tested" on fields across the country. In addition to the swing plane drills, players can learn how to hit the ball at different locations over the plate, improving hitting fundamentals. A heavyweight solid rubber base provides a stable platform to hit from, and is easy to disassemble, store, and transport with its patented Grip-n-Go handle. The JUGS 5 Point Tee is not prohibitively expensive, making it a solid investment for even the youngest players, knowing that it is not a tee they will ever out grow. Adding to the value, this tee includes a 20-page drill Book with detailed, step-by-step instructions on proper use and practice ideas.
Unique Sports offers some of the lowest prices for hitting nets, ball caddies, hitting aid, batting tees, and any other baseball training equipment you will online. We will happily consult with you on the best hitting tee and net combo that will fit your needs, and to top it all off....we will ship it all to you for FREE!
Unique Sports is an invaluable on-line resource for team sales and scholastic sports programs across the country. Comprised of former athletes, current coaches, and sports enthusiasts that have hands on experience in the use and benefit of every product we sell. Our prices, selection, and quality are unbeatable - but our love of the game... that's what makes us UNIQUE
- Jeff Kiley