The batting tee is probably one of the most fundamental tools, but it’s probably one of the most important tools that you have for softball conditioning. Today, we are spotlighting 2 hitting drills that utilize the batting tee to improve your athlete’s hitting technique.
Inside Pitch Drill
The first drill we are going to talk about is an “Inside Pitch Drill”. To begin, place the tee at the plate, putting the stem on the inside part of the plate. Then we’re going to have the athlete drive through the ball and hit a couple sets. The athlete sets up, keeps her head down on the ball, and drives through it.
This is a very good hitting drill. You’re teaching the inside pitch and focusing on the top of the bat making contact with the ball. And now you do reps. You do 20, 40, 60, 80, 100 cuts. Over and over again. And the athlete is working on their technique while they are also understanding at what position they’re supposed to hit the ball at.
You want to have the athlete hit the ball two to three feet out in front of the plate – not over the plate.
2 Tee Drill
For the 2 Tee Drill, we take two stems and stick them one right behind the other at the same level. The idea of this drill is to take your hitter and position them correctly, but then take the hitter and back them up farther than they’d normally be. They wouldn’t be in relationship to the plate anymore because now we have the stem really close to the athlete. So we have to back our hitter up to look at this being the pitch that they’re going to hit. They’re not going to position themselves where they’d be hitting this pitch. And what they’re going to do is drive into the lead ball. They’re going to hit the lead ball and drive through it. And as the ball comes off its bed, it’s going to come out and hit the front ball, coming in contact with it and driving it off the tee as well. Basically, what this is doing is working on hitting the center of the ball. So this is a concentration-type drill. You’re working on hitting right in the center of the ball.
As you know, coaches always preach that you want to hit the ball in the middle. That’s the ideal. Naturally, since this is the toughest skill in all sports, sometimes you hit the bottom, sometimes you hit the top. One of the nice things about this drill is it focuses on hitting the center of the ball. If the athlete hits underneath the ball, the ball will come up over and won’t make contact.
If you have an athlete that has a problem with dipping her back, this is a drill that would be useful for her. Because now she’s going to have negative reinforcement every time she dips. One of the things you try to get across to athletes is some of the negative things that they do. Believe it or not, they don’t believe you all the time. By doing this, you show them that, yeah, wow, coach is right, I am dipping because look at the action of the ball. It is actually coming up and going over the front ball. So now you are reinforcing to them that they do have this problem, and now it’s easier for both of you to fix it.
Down Pitch Drill
With the smaller stem, we could work the same inside pitch drill, but now it becomes a down pitch. What’s going to happen is you’re going to hit 20, 30, 40 balls and the athlete is going to top some, and they’re going to hit some well. So they’re going to be reinforced both positively and negatively. And they can have something to choose from and to grow on.
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