0:21 Tee work is one of the most basic fundamental exercises in hitting.
0:35 Keep it simple with smooth, relaxed contact.
1:17 Encourage hitters to stand closer and "crowd the plate".
3:02 Teach players to read the feedback the tee is giving them.
3:30 Set up comfortably, visualize your swing, make solid contact and drive the ball.
5:01 Make players have a routine at the plate.
6:02 Players should take hitting off the tee seriously.
7:05 Transition to hitting 15 oz. slugs mixed with baseballs.
8:03 After hitting slugs, hitters should notice a more explosive swing going to leather balls.
8:44 Hitters will need to put more effort into hitting slugs properly.
10:06 Rather than focusing on mechanics, focus on what you want the player to do.
10:27 Remind players to keep their swing consistent whether hitting balls or slugs.
Tee work is one of the most basic fundamental exercises in hitting
For hitters who don't have access to a pitching machine or pitcher, tee work is a basic and important tool in practicing fundamentals.
keep it simple with smooth, relaxed contact
Start with the 5 oz. leather baseballs, trying to drive them to the back of the cage. Look for smooth, fluid swings, good contact and driving the ball. Line the tee up in the back outside corner.
Encourage hitters to stand closer and crowd the plate
Young hitters will normally try to line up as far back in the box and as far away from the plate as possible. The tendecy is to stand back and try to launch the ball, but player should be encouraged to get out of their comfort zone and move forward, trying to crowd the plate a little to keep the swing inside. Staying inside with the swing and not allowing the barrel of the bat to get ahead of the hitter's hands will force the ball to go straight or to the opposite field. Don't overcoach, allow players to figure out what they are doing wrong.
Teach the players to read the feedback the tee is giving them
The great thing about practicing with a tee is that the player doesn't need a coach to be around to use it. Listening to the sound the ball is making and where it is going allows players to see how they are doing and make the necessary adjustments. For the player, being their own coach is important in learning how to make adjustments during the game.
Set up comfortably, visualize your swing, make solid contact and Drive the ball
Players should be setting up comfortably and visualizing the process of what they need to do to place the ball where they want it. The first round should be strictly baseballs. Warmups are very important. Too many young players enter the cage without bothering to warm up. It's important for a player to stay relaxed and stay inside the baseball. Use 4 or 5 baseballs for the first round. Depending on how they hit, there may need to be a second round. Remind players that it's not a race. The aim is to visualize and hit with purpose.
Make players have a routine at the plate
That may involve visualizing what they are going to do, maybe visualizing the opposing pitcher. Obviously there is a time constraint, but they want to take their time, take an opportunity to reset themselves. If they have a bad swing or swing at a ball that's out of the zone or maybe get a bad call, they should have a routine where they can reset. The same thing should happen when practicing off the tee. They should be visualizing, taking their time and hitting with purpose.
Players should take hitting off the tee seriously
When players start taking hitting off the tee seriously, you can see significant improvement. When a player reaches a point where they can surgically place the ball where they want off the tee, it makes front toss easier, overhand BP is easier, it improves a player's confidence and makes a player realize he can do anything he wants.
Transition to hitting 15 oz. slugs mixed with baseballs
Maybe use a combination of 3 slugs and 2 baseballs. Start off hitting slugs to create a stimulus, that way the leather baseballs feel a little bit lighter. As you progress through the third or fourth round, use fewer slugs and more baseballs.
After hitting slugs, hitters should notice a more explosive swing going to leather baseballs
There should be a noticable increase in explosiveness as players move to the leather balls after hitting the slugs. You can vary the number of slugs and baseballs based on what you are trying to achieve.
HItters will need to put more effort into hitting slugs properly
There should be some intent and effort into hitting slugs. They should be force to use effort. Players should be a bit winded or tired after hitting the slugs. Kids will sometimes go through multiple round and be just fine because they aren't putting enough energy into hitting the slugs. Force them to work harder and force them to swing harder.
Rather than focusing on mechanics, focus on what you want the player to do
Set goals for each round or each hitter. Maybe it's just to make good contact, maybe it's getting them to hit the back of the net, maybe it's hitting it square, just guide them to what you want to see them do rather than micro-manage their mechanics. There is a time and place for mechanics, but once the swing is where you want it, you can start incorporating a tool like slugs.
Remind the players to keep their swings consistent whether hitting slugs or balls
When hitting slugs, kids will often come up and completely change their swing. Remind them to keep their swing consistent and don't change it when they're switching from leather baseballs to slugs. Remind them that the intent is the same, just that they will notice a difference in the feel upon contact.