If there is one thing I have learned from Coaching 12-year-old Softball players, it is that they don’t have a clue how to hit off a tee. They don’t understand how the tee softball drills can help their swing, and they haven’t been taught the correct way to hit in tee drills. This article will outline the basics of hitting of a tee, and what every softball player should be doing every time they hit of a softball tee. These may seem like simple and easy tips for some, but I know that many young softball players have never been taught this, and/or don’t do it in practice or at home. So take these tips and directions and put them to work, they really can improve your softball skills and create good hitting habits.
What Not to Doing Softball Tee Drills:
First things first, let’s go over what not to do when hitting off a tee. These might seem obvious, but you would be surprised. Coaches, when coaching your practices make sure you instruct your players to take every swing serious, they really are building a swing good or bad every time they pick up a bat.
- Keep your feet in one spot and don’t move.
- Just hit the ball, and not with purpose.
- Knock over your tee over and over again.
- Hit a couple then stop.
- Pull every ball you hit.
Golden Rules for Softball Tee Drills:
- Hit With Purpose
- Stay Focused!
If you don’t do these two things the entire time you hit off a tee then you will likely be unsuccessful. Use your time wisely, if you waist swings, and don’t hit with goals in mind then you are not getting better. Hitting with a purpose is one of the most important things you can do as a softball player on any softball hitting drill. Know what you need to work on, and if you don’t know ask your coach. They should be able to tell you what you need to work on for your swing in drills. If you are constantly pulling the ball, then focus on the outside and hitting it to the right field direction (for righty’s). If you are having trouble getting your hips started for the inside pitch, then bring the tee in as tight as you can and get those hips swiveling with power.
4 Steps for Hitting on Softball Tee Drills:
1. Know Your Weakness
Like I mentioned earlier, knowing your weaknesses and working on them will improve your softball hitting skills greatly. Your goal as a hitter is to eliminate as many weaknesses as possible. Each weakness you get better at and eliminate will take away a pitch from the pitcher. Are you good at hitting inside, but outside pitches are always a ground out? Then work on it, get a tee and do some softball drills for the outside pitch. This will use your time wisely and make you a better batter.
2. Setting Up Your Tee
I cannot stress enough how important this step is. Now that you know what pitch you will be working on hitting you will need to set up your tee for that pitch. Inside, outside, and middle pitches each have a different location they should be hit. For example, The outside pitch should be lined up roughly with the batters back hip and to the farthest side away from the batter. By lining up the tee in the correct spot you are setting up the drill and creating good habits. Hitting off an outside tee off your front foot would create bad habits and cause the batter to cast out and around the ball, roll over the ball, and pull it. Instead of waiting on hitting the ball with your hands inside and in front of the bat head. Below are some guides for setting up your tee for different pitches.
3. Hit With Purpose in Your Softball Drill
I have seen player after player, lazily walk up to a tee, and tak e a hack at the ball. They don’t think before they swing, they aren’t set-up correctly, and it’s just pointless. You are better off not swinging at all then developing bad habits be not thinking in your drill. Take your time, have a plan. If you are working on the outside pitch and have your tee set-up correctly, you should be thinking about powering the ball to right field (for righty’s) and left field foe (lefty’s). If your balls are not going in the right direction off of the tee then something is wrong. Check your location around the tee, check the height of the tee, and lastly take a look at your swing.
4. Repeat for Repetitions
Becoming a better softball hitter means putting in the time for Softball Drills. Don’t just work on one pitch, repeat these steps for the inside pitch, middle, and outside. Have a set number of swings you would like to get it. You are building muscle memory, so that when you are in a game you can just react without thinking. That means becoming a master at your swing. Put in the work and get the repetitions in your drills and you will become a better softball player.
Softball players of ages can should be using a tee on a regular basis. There are a number of softball tee drills that would only require a net or fence to hit into, balls, and a bat. Once your players learn how to set up their tee correctly and hit with purpose, it is much easier for them to hit on their own to get the reps they need to become a better batter.