T-ball hitting practice is for developing and grooving a better swing, understanding contact points and visualizing pitched balls. All those things are less effective when the hitting coach does not know to make things game like. Coaches encourage players to practice as they play then proceed to miss that idea when it comes to players hitting off a batting tee.
Hitting Coach Tips
Take a moment and tell me what you see wrong with these t-ball batting practice pictures, and I am not talking about my swing. If you needed more time to find at least five coaching mistakes, then watch further.
Maybe the most familiar mistake I see is letting players stare at balls before hitting. Their eyes should begin out as if facing a pitcher, before visualizing the pitch release, tracking it in their mind, striding and then looking at the ball at contact. Nothing is un-game like as staring at the ball on the tee.
Sometimes that mistake is preceded by allowing players to walk up to the tee without measuring their distance from home. Players should distance themselves from home plate as in games and not from the batting tee itself. Coaches may have to have players set themselves first without the tee and then place one down, so players do not cheat on the correct distance.
The above suggests another regular hitting coach oversight. Having a batting tee, but no home plate or no separate home plate is not game-like practice either. T-ball hitting is only realistic when players stand the same spot they do in games and when contact comes in the correct places for the pitch locations. That is difficult without a setup according to a home plate. Some batting tees have a plate attached but an extra home plate still necessary to work on different pitch locations.
Another regular lapse is setting the batting tee at waist or thigh high and in the middle of the plate. The feedback from hitting this easiest of pitches is minimal. Having players hit balls at knee or letter high and on the corners gives the best swing feedback. Pitches between those will come easy once the swing is good on the tougher pitch locations.
Another popular hitting coach error is hitting close to a backstop, when there is more room to see the flight of balls. Many balls appear to be solid when traveling a short distance but in reality they are probably outs in games. Evaluating ball flight is crucial to knowing when the swing is correct and the balls ultimate destination. When possible the batting tee should be set as far from the screen as the room allows. When a short space is all that’s possible, hanging an object that designates direction and trajectory of the batted ball helps.
Finally, many hitting coaches fail to set balls the correct distance out front of hitters. The tee should be placed five eight inches in front of the hitter on knee high pitches and about a foot in front on high pitches. Avoiding the above batting tee mistakes helps coaches look professional, and they help players translate batting tee practice to game action.