How to Use the Batting Tee Correctly
Welcome to the second hitting class. If you missed the first class, check it out as it gave coaches an excellent way to make batting tee work fun and a way to entice players to practice more, the key to success. It takes a superb baseball swing to hit consistent line drives off a batting tee, too, even though the ball is just sitting there. In this baseball video, I explain my eight-point checklist on how to use a batting tee and to how to analyze the feedback to know when the swings are correct.
- A home plate goes down first, and players stand the same distance from home plate as they do in games. Otherwise, their tee work is wasted when they stand a different distance from home plate than in games. After getting ready, then the batting tee is set.
- The batter’s eyes should begin out towards the pitcher before taking the stride and bringing their eyes to the ball after their stride. I am often telling players that they are mentally hitting as well as physically when on the batting tee. I also tell players that hitting is tee ball with timing.
- For the best swing feedback, the tee is set at either knee or letter high level. Hitting balls at waist high does not prove as much about the swing as the low and high tee locations. The low pitch is placed about 8 to 12 inches out front of the batter and 12 to 18 inches out front for the high pitch. This distance varies slightly based on the length of the batter’s stride. When practicing balls on the outside corner move the tee back a few inches more and for inside pitches set the batting tee out front another 6 inches or so. Contact should always be out front of the hitter, so the tee placement is crucial.
- To work on the outside and inside corner pitches, coaches can angle the batter, so they hit the same target, as seen here, when they do not have a full cage to hit in.
- The ideal hit off the batting tee rises slightly from the tee height on both the low and high pitch. If the ball is not rising slightly, the swing needs work.
- Balls located in the middle should produce shots to the center of the diamond.
- As players get proficient at both tee locations, hitters should alternate from low to high pitch to make it most game-like. A sign of a great swing is when batters can hit a line drive on the low or high tee immediately after swinging at the different height location.
- When hitters are hitting many groundballs, they should practice balls at the knees until they can lift that pitch and when many pop ups or swinging and missing, players should focus on the letter high tee location until they stop popping balls up.
Jack Perconte has dedicated his post-major league baseball career to helping youth. He has taught baseball and softball for the past 27 years. His playing, coaching and parenting stories create better experiences for athletes and parents. Jack has written over a thousand articles on coaching baseball and youth sports. Jack is the author of “The Making of a Hitter” and “Raising an Athlete.” His third book “Creating a Season to Remember” is in the works. Jack is a featured writer for Baseball the Magazine. You can also find Jack Perconte at YouTube with over 80 fun and innovative baseball instructional videos.