Baseball Magazine

Long-Tee Drill

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard
Like most coaches, I'm a big fan of the batting tee.  I think it is by far the best invention known to baseball. Unfortunately, it's probably the most underused invention as well, particularly for younger players who sometimes feel that if it's not live pitching, it's not worth doing.  What a shame.

Long-Tee Drill

Access to a batting cage, a tee, and some balls
and you are good to go!

I think one of the reasons for this underuse is the fact that young hitters want to see where the ball goes.  Hitting a ball off a tee and having it travel four feet into a net doesn't provide enough feedback for many players to warrant doing it over and over.  They actually have a point.  The following drill which we call the "Long-Tee Drill" helps with this problem.  Here's how you do it:
Set up a tee at one end of a batting tunnel.  The batter's goal when he hits the ball off the tee is to hit a line drive the length of the tunnel so it hits the net at the opposite end of the tunnel.  If the batter hits either of the side nets or the ceiling net above, an adjustment is needed on the swing.  A right handed hitter who consistently hits the side net on the left is pulling everything.  This could mean he is standing too far behind the tee when he hits or it could mean he is "casting" or hitting around the ball instead of straight to the ball.  It could be other things as well but the point is, something is wrong.  Should he keep hitting the ceiling, he is coming under the ball too much.  Allowing the ball to travel a farther distance gives the hitter better feedback as to how his swing is doing.  A good hitter should consistently hit the back wall with line-drives if all is well with his swing.
Of course, not all players have access to a batting tunnel so here are some other options that may work:

Long-Tee Drill

This school was behind my house.
The brick walls on the right are what I used as a kid.
"Roofing" the ball and the windows on each side
were more than enough incentive to swing correctly!
(Disclaimer:  don't do what I did without permission!)

  • Place the tee in front of the pitchers mound and hit towards the backstop.  Clip an adjustable hat or tie a ribbon to the backstop to give yourself something to aim for.
  • Find a tennis court wall, place the tee 20-30 feet away from the wall, and hit.  Do not use real hardballs though.  It will damage the wall.  Use tennis balls or Incrediballs.
  • Use a portable hitting net.  Just position the tee farther back away from the net than you normally would.  This is more advanced because you are not giving yourself much room for error with the smaller net to hit into.  Be sure there is nothing behind the net that can be damaged by a ball when you miss the net.
  • Place a tee at one end of a small gym and hit tennis balls to the opposite wall of the gym.  Of course, make sure you conduct the drill so nothing gets damaged and nobody gets hurt.

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