by Tim Covey
As a high school or travel softball coach, chances are good that you use hitting stations to help organize your practices. Chances are also good that you use fastpitch softball batting tee drills as a part of those stations.
If you aren’t, I highly recommend it...
Even if you don’t have a batting cage, you can very easily purchase portable hitting nets such as the BowNet to help you organize hitting stations for your team!
Fastpitch softball batting tee drills are essential for hitting improvement, whether you are coaching a 10U team or the varsity high school.
If you want to change a player’s mechanics, the tee is the best place to do it. Changing a player’s technique is MUCH more difficult with a ball moving at them. To help decrease frustration, have her work on it FIRST on the tee!
Today I am going to share 4 essential fastpitch softball batting tee drills that are all a part of the Covey Sports Impact Coaching Academy.
But before I do that, it’s important as a coach to understand the proper set-up for tee-work. You will need to remind your players of this frequently because some of them WILL forget and then butcher their tee-work.
When using the tee for any drill, it is CRITICAL that players understand how to properly set themselves next to the tee:
Now that you know the basics of getting your players set-up properly, I want to dive into 4 essential fastpitch softball batting tee drills that every new coach should have in their program!
The pictures and explanations above are actually what you will need for these first two drills. Once your players understand proper set-up based on location, simply assign a station as “outside tee-work” or “inside tee-work.”
You could also do “middle tee-work” if you simply wanted to have your players work on certain mechanics.
In fact, if you are working with a player individually on her mechanics, then the simple “middle tee drill” is what you will want to use much of the time.
Nothing fancy here, but you don’t always need “fancy.” Sometimes keeping it simple is best. These simple location drills are a great way to teach mechanics as well as helping players work on hitting each location properly (“contact points”).
One additional note: When doing these location tee drills, have your players look “out” at an imaginary pitcher before taking their swing. This will force their eyes to follow a path that is more similar to a game situation.
The “Walk-Through Drill” is a great way to help your players develop rhythm with their swing. It also helps them to feel how the upper body and lower body work together during the swing phase. The 3 pictures below show the different phases of the drill:
This drill is a simple but effective way to have your players check their upper body mechanics. As pictured below, you can also do this on a front-toss drill, but it is much easier (and sometimes more effective) while working off of a tee. Below is the breakdown of the drill:
Doing this drill repeatedly will help players better understand and feel what their body should be doing from start to contact. Sometimes with full swings it can be difficult for players to feel proper “pre-contact” mechanics!
So there you have it! 4 essential fastpitch softball batting tee drills! Using the “inside drill”, “outside drill”, “walk-through drill”, and “take it to contact drill” will help your players improve their swings!
If you are wondering what type of batting tee to purchase, my personal favorite is the ATEC Batting Tee. You will pay more for these, but this tee will outlast the cheaper versions by years!
There are many other great fastpitch softball batting tee drills to help reinforce mechanics as well. But these four drills are a great starting point for any new travel ball or high school coach!
While I am not against having a full hitting practice on the field, I do not recommend doing this exclusively. Your girls need to see the end result of their hits on the field sometimes. However, if you ONLY hitting on the field then you are limiting the amount of reps your players are getting (not to mention having bored players).
by Covey Sports