John Stuart - Softball
The Value of Using a Hitting Tee for all Ages
Off-season training is important in any sport but especially for Fastpitch Softball due to the short season. The value of something as simple as hitting off a tee is just as important during the off-season as it is during the season. Most players like to go to a batting cage and take swings off a pitching machine, but I find the hitting tee much more useful and convenient to work on a player’s swing, including footwork, hips, and hands. Hitting tees are fairly inexpensive and easy to use as well as compact and easy to take anywhere. They can be used before an at-bat, during practice, or at home on a daily basis.
- Swing: Most players get in a bad habit of just swinging at pitches off of a pitching machine that for the most part come at the same speed and at the same spot over and over. When using a tee for your swing, you can practice hitting an inside or outside pitch, bringing elbows and arms in for an inside pitch, or extending the arms for an outside pitch. You can also lower or raise the tee to adjust the swing for pitch height, practice driving the ball to the opposite field, or pulling an inside pitch.
- Footwork: Working on your foot placement with a tee and doing repetitions is just as valuable as working on your swing adjustment.
- Hips: Learning to turn your hips to adjust to your various swings is key to being a good hitter. You do not need a ball on the tee for this exercise. As a matter of fact, you don’t need a tee either but it acts as a great guide for your hip adjustment and pivot – showing you where you will be making contact with the ball. It’s important to practice closing and opening your hips on a swing, or just simply guiding your hips to turn properly so that your hands will follow.
- Hands: As you can see, all the points mentioned above tie in with one another. Equally important is that your hands guide the bat to adjust your swing. The swing first begins with your foot placement, followed by your hip movement, and ends with your hands that produce your swing. Hand placement and comfort help in producing a good swing that can adjust to any pitch as well as improve your bat speed.
The bottom line is that you can use a hitting tee without any help. Putting in the time and repeating various necessary adjustments, or simply continuing to improve on what is already working, will lead to success. Whether you are an experienced national team player or a first-year player, a hitting tee is a very valuable piece of equipment than can help you throughout your entire career at all levels of play.
Team Canada Head Coach
Men’s National Fastpitch Team