Most Important Baseball Hitting Drills For Baseball Players

For many young hitters, It is difficult to get off to a solid start, and for the better hitters it’s not that difficult to get off to the solid start but difficult to remain there.  Staying consistent is hard and when that consistency starts to fade is usually when the hitters start getting in their head, and they have to deal with hearing the worst word to a hitter a “slump.”

The problem is that most young hitters don’t have the fundamental mechanics in their swings to get the results they know they are capable of on a daily basis.

Many parents will give band-aid after band-aid to their young hitter in hopes that it will solve the problem in the short term, not thinking about their long-term foundation.

Best Baseball Tee Drills

Hitting off the tee is one of the most valuable skills a hitter can develop. But also for a coach or hitting instructor to pick up changes in the swings of his players.

An important reason a hitter needs to know how to practice using the tee is batting tee’s do not require a practice partner. Here are some Batting Tee Drills that we have thrown together for you to work on with your players or teammates.

Batting Tee Drill Regular warm-up swinging

Best Baseball Tee Drills

Best Baseball Tee Drills

1. Warm-up drill – Line the ball in the middle of the plate

This tee drill should be used to loosen up the body. It would be better if you were taking natural, smooth swings. After taking 8-12 swings, switch to drills that will isolate a body part or stress a specific aspect of the swing.

  • Pretend your eyes are on an imaginary pitcher.
  • Feet alignment used when hitting off the batting tee should be the same as your regular stance to the plate.
  • Take natural, smooth swings with a goal of warming up and loosening the body.

Batting Tee Drill Hitting the Inside Pitch

2. Recognition of inside pitch location

Similar to the inside location toss of the soft-toss drill in that it helps hitters with the handling of the inside pitch. Knowing how to hit the inside pitch is the key to being a successful hitter. Many players get jammed and “inside-out” this baseball to opposite field.

The hitter must recognize the spin and location of the baseball on being released from the pitcher’s hand and then attack the baseball in front of the home plate. The baseball should be placed in front of home plate and on the extreme inside corner. This drill is difficult for beginners but very valuable when successful.

  • The drill helps to keep the hands close to the body.
  • The head of the baseball bat should be in front of hands-on contact.
  • Hip explosion – the hips and back foot shoelaces should be facing left field for the Right-Handed Hitter and right field for the Left-Handed Hitter.
  • Make sure you are making solid contact with the “sweet spot” of the bat. If problems arise, move your body farther away from the ball.

Batting Tee Drill Hitting the Outside Pitch

Best Baseball Tee Drills

Best Baseball Tee Drills

3. Recognition of the outside pitch location

This drill stresses and forces hitting the baseball to opposite field of the hitters’ strong side. The ball should be placed farther back on home plate and the outer half. Players tend to swing lazily when trying to perform this drill.

Hitters should swing aggressively and through the ball. Hitting the outside pitch is a useful drill to introduce to a player that needs to work on the hit-and-run. Hitters should stay on top of the ball, hitting it in a downward angle to opposite field.

  • Use the same stride. Don’t stride at the outside pitch.
  • The bat head should be behind the hands-on contact.
  • The back foot and hips should be facing left field for Right-Handed Hitters and right field for Left-Handed Hitters.
  • When using the outside pitch tee drill as a hit-and-run drill making sure hitter stays on top of the baseball, hitting the top-half of the baseball. The idea is to get the batted baseball on the ground as soon as the hitter makes contact.
  • Keep your baseball bat level – don’t drop the bat head. It will almost feel like you are chopping down at the ball.

High/low set-up with a double tee

4. Stresses level to slightly downward swing
Eliminate a hitch in the swing

Developing a hitch is a significant problem with young hitters, and it’s usually caused by dropping their hands. A hitch in a swing could be a sign that the bat might be too heavy for the young hitter, but in case that it is not, use this drill. In this drill two tees are set up with the front tee directly in front of the back tee. The front tee should be about 2” below the back tee.

The hitter concentrates on hitting the baseball on the front tee without hitting the ball on the back batting tee. When accomplishing hitting the baseball properly, the hitter has a slightly downward swing and no dropping of the hands.

  • Concentrate on hitting the front/low ball.  Your concentration shouldn’t be on not hitting the back/high ball.
  • Concentrate on hitting down on the ball. That will eliminate dropping your hands.

Inside/outside set-up with a double tee

5. Recognition of pitch location
Stresses keeping the weight back

The double-tee is set up with one ball on inside half of the plate and one baseball on outside half of the plate. Make sure the inside baseball is in front of the plate, and the outer ball is located farther back on the home plate. The batter is in the “ready” position and starts his load and stride.

Simultaneously, a partner calls “inside” or “outside” the hitter reacts to that call and hits the ball. This drill uses the inside and outside ball drills (#2 and #3). Because of its difficulty, the hitter will tend to bring his weight forward.

  • Keep the weight back.
  • Implement what you have learned from the Inside Ball (drill #2) and Outside Ball (drill #3) and use it.
  • Be patient. The Inside/outside set-up with a double tee is a challenging drill.

Plate Discipline – Tee Drill

6. The Purpose Of The Plate Discipline
Teach young players to learn the hitting zones for different counts
Understanding plate discipline and adjusting to different counts is what you should get out of this drill.

The beginning of this drill is for training plate discipline that should have each player to look for a particular pitch based on the count of balls and strikes.  Every hitter wants to put themselves in a situation where they get a fastball and drive the ball, but that isn’t always the case.

Setup:
Have a batting tee sit on top of a portable home plate inside the cage or in a designated area for your hitters where they can hit into a net, conveyor belt, or some makeshift backstop. If possible have an extra coach, player, or parent available to help with moving tee around the strike zone and placing balls on top of the tee.
Execution:
This drill can be set up as any three practices, or you could have three different stations set up in a single practice station if you have the equipment available.

Homerun Pitch Placement

The hitter should place the batting tee where they feel is their pitch, their homerun pitch.  The placement will simulate where the ball is going to be crossing the plate when the count is in the batters favor. For example a three-ball, zero strikes count. A three-ball, one strike count, and at the high school level and below the two-ball, no strike count.

After High School, the pitching is better, and you might find a hurler that is comfortable throwing his secondary pitch at any time in the count and be able to throw it for strikes.

Have them take some swings; I usually like to watch my players take at least 10. Now at the same height have the player move the batting tee towards the hitter not going beyond a spot that they still like and is not too far inside the plate.

Have the hitter take a few swings and confirm that this is still a pitch they drive, it’s essential that it’s a location they can handle. If not have the hitter move the tee until they have an angle they like.

After another ten swings, move the tee back to the original spot. Please take a couple of swings, now nudge the batting tee outside a few inches to find the outside part of the zone for the pitches they like.

After this hitting station, the player should have a rectangle of a zero strike hitting zone.

Coaching Tip:

I bring out a radar gun and video camera sometimes two camera’s to use on my players while they are taking batting practice or working on different hitting drills. Using the radar gun, I find it beneficial for the player to hear how hard they are hitting the ball compared to the location.

I can tell players this and that, but sometimes it takes a more sophisticated way for them to believe you finally. The new generation, it’s all about electronics.

Best Baseball Tee Drills

Best Baseball Tee Drills

Practice is over and after the hitting is done for the day. I will post their videos online and let them watch their session. It never fails, once they watch the video its like a light bulb goes off and all of a sudden the player to understand what you are trying to tell them.

I understand that not every coach or team will have the budget for this type of equipment especially if you are a volunteer trying to help with a youth team. So for that, I would suggest to print out a hitting zone chart for each player and have it filled in by a teammate or coach at this station.

Not only can it be referenced and refined by the player and coach at later times, but it can also help a coach determine weaknesses that need some work for that player.

The Strike One Count Pitch Placement

Once establishing the zero-strike hitting zone, then work on defining a one-strike hitting zone, which for most players will be the strike zone. Move the batting tee location and height to be outside the 0 strike hitting zone, but within the strike zone and have the hitter take a few cuts at each of these locations. A one-strike count is still an aggressive swing count for the batter.

The Two Stike Count Pitch Placement

Now complete this tee drill hitting series by having the player work on hitting pitches that they may not be strikes, but are too close to take with a two-strike count. A two-strike approach is taking a short quick modified swing and putting the bat on the ball.
This drill can also help players evaluate their plate coverage and determine the proper distance from the plate.

What Are The Benefits Of Hitting Off A Batting Tee

When we started this season, I was excited. We worked all winter long with one of our players’ swing and were expecting to see all the hard work pay off. But that’s not what’s been happening. He kept fouling pitches off, hitting weak tappers back to the pitcher, and striking out. It’s discouraging because we’ve invested all this time and aren’t seeing any results.

So what did we do to make the necessary changes and how long did it take?  It took only one day of him hitting off the tee for me to see what my player was doing wrong.  It wasn’t clear when I was watching him hit live, but when I sat in the cage with him and had him hit baseballs up the middle then relocate the tee where he had to pull the ball, it was right there.  I saw where his mechanics were wrong.

Hitting off the tee is one of the most valuable skills a hitter can develop. But also for a coach or hitting instructor to pick up changes in the swings of his players.

The Players Who Make It Have More Drive Than Their Competitors

The tee allowed me to work on my swing while all my competitors were playing video games, socializing, or doing something else other than working on their game.

I believe the tee is a big reason why I was able to sign a scholarship out of high school.

You Can Move The Height And Location Of The Tee

Best Baseball Tee Drills

Best Baseball Tee Drills

An argument against hitting off the tee is that you are only working on one pitch in the zone. Almost all tees change in height levels, and you can pick the tee up to move it around the plate.

The tee I use when taking video of a hitting session is the Tanner Tee. The Tanner Tee is the most durable and long lasting tee I used during my coaching career.

How To Be More Comfortable And Confident With Adjustments

When the live ball (front toss, live bp, in-game action) is introduced then the game will speed up for the hitter. When the game speeds up, it’s easy to fall back into bad habits if you have not already created the correct muscle memory.

The tee is a simple and easy way for hitters to learn the foundations of their swing and then apply their mechanics to the live ball in action.

The Tee Teaches The Hitter How to Repeat Their Swing

Repeating the swing is critical to consistent performance on the field. A straightforward saying I like to use on game days is, “Find it. Repeat it.”

Your goal is to repeat it over, and over, and over.