Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I still believe a baseball-batting tee is the best sitting aid there is. There are other helpful fitting devices that have come out on the market over the years, but none of those can do all that a batting tee can do. Of course, that is if players and coaches know how to use the batting tee correctly. I believe this because a batting tee allows the hitter to see the actual flight and spin of the ball when hit, when many of the otheritting aids do not allow this. Having said that, it is important to try to have enough space to see this flight of the ball, which is the first tip on knowing how to use a tee correctly. Along those lines, other methods of using a tee to improve the swing and to use a tee correctly include:
1. Knowing where to set the tee correctly in relationship to the hitter and home plate, depending on which pitch location the hitter is working on.
2. Hitting low pitches, set in the middle of the plate, through the middle to make sure hands and hips square up at contact.
3. Hitting high pitches on the tee, without popping up to maintain a compact swing.
4. Hitting balls (line drives or long flies) that have back spin.
5. Moving tee to different locations (inside, outside, high, low), with more emphasis on low pitches for hitters who hit a lot of ground balls and high pitches for hitters who hit a lot of pop ups, or strike out often. Emphasize hitting the ball in the direction of where the tee is placed, with backspin line drives always the objective.
There are a number of other ways to use a batting tee, but often these require proper instruction and observation from a knowledgeable coach. The reason for this is that often a hiring drill can solve one hitting problem, but can create a different problem because of the drill incorrectly, or too often.
Following are other uses of a batting tee to improve the swing:
1. Set tee behind hitter and waist high to correct an upper-cutting swing. Have the hitter swing at dropped or pitched balls while missing the tee with this tee placement.
2. Set the tee just off the outside corner and have the hitter work on swinging and missing the tee to avoid casting the bat out.
3. Set the tee an exaggerated distance in front of home and have hitter swing and hit the ball into fair territory to help hitters work on swing extension.
Players and coaches, who can get a hold of two batting tees to practice with can further help learn good fitting fundamentals by doing the following:
1. Set a tee on the inside corner (out front) and outside corner (back towards hitter) and work on hitting the ball that's called out by the coach after the hitter strides.
2. Set a ball on both tees about a foot apart and work on hitting both balls for swing extension and for keeping front shoulder and head in on the ball.
3. Set a ball on both tees with the ball closest to the pitcher for a balls width higher on the tee. Hitters should miss the back ball and still hit line drives on the front ball to develop a compact swing, thereby eliminating any loop in the swing.
Once again, having enough distance to see the ball's flight and direction are necessary to analyze a good swing. Often, coaches set a tee very close to the screen or net so they do not have to go far to pick up balls, but this can inhibit a good analysis of the ball flight and swing correctness. Finally, there are other ways to use a batting tee that can help develop a good baseball swing. There are times when I will actually have hitters exaggerate the wrong swing on the tee in order to over come their incorrect habits, but as stated, it takes a trained hiring coach's eye to be sure different bad habits are not developed.