Sometimes you see things during a practice or in warm-ups before a game and, man, you just have to scratch your head. For me, it’s tee work. Oh, for the love of all that’s holy, STOP IT! And especially please STOP trying to teach kids to hit down on the ball. It’s wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Let’s talk about what’s right in this week’s edition of “Dingers and Stingers Saturday” on GenerationBaseball.
What’s My Problem with Hitting of a Tee?
Are we teaching kids how to hit a golf ball or a baseball? One is standing still. One is hurtling towards you with mean intentions. What is learned from hitting off a tee? Not much, if anything, good. Look, I get it. When a kid is FIRST starting out learning how to swing a bat, okay, maybe. But the problem with hitting off a tee is that all too often kids are being taught a mortal sin — and that’s to “hit down on the ball to create backspin.” Please make it stop. No. No, no, no.
See anyone hitting down on the ball? Like these infernal contraptions or “drills” tell you to do…
I. Am. Going. To. Be. Sick. One more…
See the difference? It’s the major thing wrong with any kind of batting drills that don’t involved live pitching. The player either learns nothing (more on this in the next sentence) or learns the wrong thing — and I’ll throw soft tossing into this mix as well.
Outside of teaching a really bad swing path that does NOT teach players how to drive a ball, it doesn’t mimic a game situation. Even professional players, when you look at their swings off a tee and off of live pitching, don’t do live what they do off a tee.
We’re going to cover this in more detail next week. But most hitting drills today ignore the #1 rule of hitting. Which is, according to Ted Williams, “Get a good pitch to hit.” That’s number one. Without that, you won’t hit anything. And being able to recognize a good pitch from a pitch you can’t drive CANNOT happen by hitting off a tee.
One more time…
So, simply take this away from today. Ditch the tee unless it’s just to get a good sweat on before the real practice begins. (And we’ll cover that next week!)
Smack some stingers!