Taking a good swing is all about timing, body mechanics, and stance. The quicker baseball players react, and the sharper their reflexes are, the better they are able to hit with precision and accuracy. We have composed a list of nine batting drills to improve your hitting and level-up your batting techniques.
As days are going by, batting tees are gaining popularity. We agree that they are beneficial and help a batter to repeat swings easily over and over again. This helps them to bring development to their strides, which fetches almost instant results for the players.
Batting tees with adjustable heights, like Tanner Tee, are perhaps the best because they are versatile. Batters can practice a variety of pitches using this type of tees. They can position the tee inside the plate or place it outside. They can as well use it to hit low pitched balls that are on the knee levels and high pitched ones that come as high as the player’s chest level.
1. Warm Up Tee Drill
It is specially designed for the players to warm up. Players can practice this drill right before their practice sessions, or when they are heading for a baseball game. With this drill, you can get the muscles of your feet, shoulders, legs, hips, and arms to loosen up and be ready for the game. This tee drill is easy in the beginning.
However, the intensity gradually increases as you prepare to hit several types of pitches that you might face in a baseball game.
- You can start by talking about 15 to 20 easy and smooth swings. At this stage, don't try hitting the ball with all your strength. Instead, you can gear up your mechanics and let it all sync as you try connecting the barrel to the baseball. You don't need to worry about the stance right away. Just focus on relaxing your muscles and gaining momentum.
- Now you need to perfect your stance. Start off by isolating the lower body. This constitutes your legs, feet, and hip. You must focus your eyes on the pitcher whom you can imagine at a distance of about 60 ft. You will have to align your feet to the tee in a similar fashion when you are aligning your feet to the plate during a real game. As you take your swing, imagine the ball is being pitched by an actual pitcher. To make things more accurate, wait for a few seconds, precisely the time the ball would take to reach your bat before hitting.
- Make sure that your swings are smooth and keep maintaining it throughout you are warming up. Repeat this drill for 10 times.
2. Outside Pitch Tee Drill
While doing this drill, you will have to pull the ball in and hit it to the opposite end. For this drill, it is better to position the tee outside of your home plate. The outside pitch batting tee drill, as well as the inside pitch drill, are done the best when you use a home plate of the standard dimensions.
First, adjust your position and stand far enough in a ready stance for hitting an outside pitch. Ensure that you go into the zone deep enough for it. Focus on your stance better, so that the front foot aligns well. This means that the front foot would be positioned about 4 in. forward to the batting tee.
When you face an outside pitch, try taking a powerful swing. Generally, batters tend to take lazy swings with this type of pitch. But instead, the right thing to do is to swing strong and hit the ball hard.
You can also think the outside pitch batting tee drill is similar to a hit & run drill. Here you have to take your bat and hit the ball at an angle that causes it to fly in the downward direction towards the other end.
- Maintain your stride well while you are doing this batting tee drill.
- When you are about to hit an outside pitched baseball, ensure that the head of the baseball bat is behind your hands.
- Position yourself and your bat such that the barrel contacts the ball before you have made a complete swing of your bat. This helps the ball to fly to the other end of the field. i.e., right field if you are right-handed and left field if you are left-handed.
- While batting an outside pitch, you must ensure that your feet and hips are facing the opposite of your desired trajectory of the ball. If you are a lefty, the hips and front foot must face the right side. In case you are a righty, they must be facing in the left direction.
- Remember to keep your bat's head at a level. Don't drop it. It can affect the gameplay in an undesired manner.
3. Inside Pitch Tee Drill
Generally, the pitcher aims to jam the batter while rolling an inside pitch. By practicing this drill, you will know how to use such pitches to your advantage. The knowledge of how to bat an inside pitch is perhaps as essential as batting an outside pitch.
When batters get jammed, they usually inside-out the pitched ball. This makes the ball fly in the opposite field rather weakly. If you can manage to pull it in the correct manner, your swing would have more power, and the ball will traverse farther.
It is best if you keep your body a tad closer to the bat. This stance will enable you to contact the ball with the thickest area of the barrel. Place the front foot slightly ahead of the tee post.
After you get into the stance, you might consider taking a few practice swings into the air. Now, ensure that the widest portion of the bat aligns well with the baseball that is planted on the batting tee. Do note, that if the barrel is super close to your hands, then the chances of hitting a weak ground ball or foul tip increases.
- The pitcher aims at jamming you, so keep the hands closer to the body.
- When the head of the bat hits the baseball, it must be in the front of your hands. This will have enough force to make the ball traverse towards the power alley.
- If you are a righty, then the back foot and hips must be facing towards the left. If you are a lefty, then the back foot and hips have to be facing in the right direction.
- The middle of the barrel is the sweet spot. This is the part you want to come in contact with the ball when you swing the bat.
- Practice some air swings in the inside pitch stance. This will get your muscle to loosen up.
- In case you cannot manage to pull the ball, then re-adjust your stance by moving a bit farther from the pitched ball.
- Continuously make the body adjustments so that you can pull the ball well and hit it with power.
4. Downward Swing Batting Tee Drill (2 Batting Tees)
With this drill, players can develop playing downward swings. If you practice it, you are less likely to go for a swing but still miss hitting the ball. If you tend to make uppercuts the majority of the time, this drill will fix your swinging angle.
Hitting upwards is great for producing fly balls. However, swinging in a downward angle is important as well, because it gives grounders for base hits.
To exercise this drill, you require two batting tees. However, positioning them on the home plate is not essential.
Adjust the height of the first batting tee. Take the first tee as a yardstick and position the second batting tee about six-inch behind. Now adjust its height to one foot above your first batting tee. Take two baseballs and place one on top of each batting tee.
- Make a couple of downward air swings to loosen up your muscles and prepare for the drill.
- Now make a swing such that the bat passes over the tee that is higher.
- While doing this drill, you will have to make a downward angle motion with your bat. You must focus that the bat does not hit the baseball on the batting tee placed higher while hitting the one placed on the lower tee.
- When you can successfully hit the lower ball without hitting the one higher, you can adjust the height of the higher tee and increase it by a couple of inches.
- Do this drill for 10 times. However, you must not drop the hands while practicing this drill if you want to fetch desirable results.
5. Power Hitting Drill Off the Tee
This drill requires a basketball or a soccer ball, and a baseball bat. You can consider deflating the basketball slightly as it will help your swing.
Adjust the height of the batting tee in a position that is slightly upper than your waist and is in your strike zone. Place the soccer ball or basketball on top of the tee and take a normal position that you maintain while hitting baseballs in the strike zone.
The key motto behind doing this drill is to make the basketball or soccer ball travel as far as you can. Of course, it will certainly not travel farther than a baseball. Clobber the basketball, not just with your regular force, but with all your strength. While you are swinging the bat, make sure to contact the ball with the barrel’s thickest part.
Practice taking 12 swings at basketball. This should be enough to harness your strength. After you are done with the repetitions, put a baseball on the tee and hit it with the exact amount of force you used to clobber the basketball with. You will see that the baseball travels much farther due to the increased force you use while taking the swing.
Practice this drill to develop muscle memory, as well as for refining the swinging mechanics. Practicing this drill frequently ensures that your arms, legs, and hands are strengthened. This exercise will help you to hit the balls way harder than you used to.
Also, when you face a tough situation, this drill will be a reminder for the fact that you can bat a basketball and make it traverse a good distance, so a lightweight baseball should not be a big deal. This makes the crisis seem easier.
Once you have you're power on point, you should consider working on some agility drills.
6. Batter's Box Batting Tee Drill
A hitter hits best when he positions himself inside the batter's box. The purpose of this drill is to check your immediate position while taking swings. Moving away from the box might earn you an outside pitch, which is generally harder to hit with your bat.
The more you move away from the batter's box, the more the pitcher will throw outside pitches, causing a strikeout or poor hits. If you are far from the plate, you leave a wide area for the pitcher.
To do this drill, you require four things — a tee, a baseball, a tire, and a bat. Now set up the batting tee and put the ball on it. Position the tire two or three inches away from your foot.
- Hold the bat and take a swing the way you generally do. However, as you finish swinging, the front foot will have to land inside the tire.
- For doing this drill effectively, you will be stepping in the front direction and not sideways. If you step on your side, you will miss the spot.
- Repeat this drill for 10 times and practice getting your foot right inside the gap in the center of the tire.
This drill helps to improve your balance. Practice it at least a few times a week. If you ace at it, you will not be giving the pitcher much space to pitch, which works in your favor in manifold ways. With this drill, you can improve hitting the line drive and inside pitches to a great extent.
7. Elements of the Swing Batting Tee Drill
You take less than a second to swing your bat. Within this very short span of time, the bat moves from behind the head to hit the ball. Several mechanics go behind this seemingly simple swing. There are five precise movements that your body goes through while hitting a ball.
Stance: The stance of a player has little to do with how good he can hit a baseball. There is no right or wrong stance. It varies from player to player. Any position a baseball player is comfortable with while batting is the perfect stance for him. However, there is a general observation that simpler stances yield better hits. But this is certainly not a rule.
Stride: It is the same case with strides. There is no set formula for it either. The best baseball players had the most unique of strides. Which means, whatever works for you is your stride. Hence, emulating any player might not be the best idea. Find what is most comfortable for you.
Some great hitters hit with an elevated knee lift, which places the pressure on the back foot, and then they stride towards the pitcher. Some equally great baseball players hit with a simple heel lift without any stride towards the pitcher.
Strides vary from person to person. However, there happens to be a few common things that all good players exhibit.
- Their feet are set wide while taking the stride. Semi-joined feet will not let you harness the power that you require to hit the ball with all your strength.
- They hold the grip of the baseball bat at the shoulder’s height. Also, their arms are very flexible that allow them to swing the baseball at various angles.
- When they hold the bat at a close angle, its knob is vertically above the ground that is behind the player.
- The player's elbow at the back is aligned with his shoulder, or slightly below it. A bent back elbow will not let you hit the ball to the best of your potential.
- A good baseball player lands on the inside of his foot softly after making the stride.
Shift: The way you distribute weight while taking a swing is important. Good basketball players generally take the weight from the back foot and shift it to the front foot. A smooth swing is not the mechanism of your arms and bat alone. It starts from the baseball ground you are standing on and slowly transfers the load to the bat.
Take a batting tee and put a ball on it. Now assess your stride, stance, and shifting of the load while you swing through with your bat. The weight should follow the path of the back foot to the front foot. Your hands should be behind your head, which allows them to be more flexible while hitting.
You must take note of the body movements as the barrel hits the baseball. Repeat the process until you understand your own body mechanism well. Always ensure that you are hitting the baseball with power. It will give you a clearer knowledge of your performance.
8. Batting Tee Rhythm Drill
This is a fun drill that you can compare to learning steps of any dance form as if you were to compete. Well, except for the fact that this tee drill is majorly for boosting your batting and maximizing your swinging potential.
Start off by positioning a batting tee and placing a baseball above it. Stand with your bat in front of it. Your feet should be apart. Now take the back foot and land it in the position of the front foot.
Lift the front foot and take a step forward. You will have to land on the inside of your foot while doing this drill. Now you will have to shift the body a bit, which is promptly followed by your back leg.
Repeat this drill a few times before you hit the ball. This footwork drill will help you immensely in batting. After you have done repeating it for a few times, take a swing at the baseball placed in front of you.
To do this drill, take a step back, then come forward, then shift your body. Now, go back and then take a step forward again before you can take the swing finally.
9. Double Tee Inside Outside Drill
You will need two batting tees, two baseballs, a bat, a coach, or a partner to do this drill. First, you will have to set up both the tees and put a ball on each one of them. Place one tee inside the home plate and the other farther away from the plate. Now get into the stance that you take while hitting pitches in your strike zone.
It improves your reaction time a lot. When you are ready, either your teammate or your coach will instantly tell you the ball you will have to hit. On hearing, you will have to act promptly and take a swing at that ball. At the time you will be hitting the ball, you will have begun your stride, and hence, you would not have time to think or reposition yourself.
The ‘inside-outside drill’ is a tad more difficult than the others. And so, many players tend to shift their weight forward. However, for successful and smooth batting, make sure to keep the actual weight backward.
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