How The High-Tee Drill Can Help Your Hitters
By Eric Tyler
Why Set The Ball Higher Than The Strikezone?
When training youth hitters, exaggerated drills are often needed. Drills that can help get the hitter to understand just how dramatic of an adjustment they need to make. As we post these drills we often get negative comments on social media about how “nobody hits like that”. Completely ignoring the context of the drill being an exaggeration to help a hitter.
Usually, this includes an exaggeration that forces a hitter to swing on a more upward path than they have before. However, this week I ran into a youth hitter that struggled to keep the bat moving up properly through their swing path. Whether it be a lack of strength or understanding of how his bat should move, it needed to be fixed.
So I did what I don’t usually do during lessons. I grabbed the tee and put it on a bucket so the top was set just below his shoulders and we went to work.
What Does This Drill Do?
By setting the tee at shoulder height, you force the hitter to get the barrel moving higher than normal. In this case, the hitter would side-bend far too much on every pitch he saw. By forcing the target to be higher than he was used to, he was unable to over side-bend and had to remain a little taller while swinging. We have covered this drill in the past but not in-depth enough to describe why this drill helps and when you should use it.
Benefits Of The High-Tee Drill
1) Improved Hand Path in the Swing
A common flaw in youth hitters is their desire to pull their bottom hand downward to contact. They do this in hopes of just making contact. It has been preached to them since they first pick up a bat. By doing so they limit their ability to get on plane with the pitch thus hindering their adjustability. This drill will expose a hitter pulling their bottom hand down as they will bottom the bat out at contact and hit the tee. The hitter must be able to turn and rotate the knob up above the ball in order to flatten out their bat path and hit a successful line drive.
2) Better Side-bend Awareness
As stated above, oftentimes bat path struggles can be attributed to side-bend and body awareness issues. Whether it be a hitter stays too tall throughout the swing or too bent over, they must adjust side-bend according to pitch location. Just as we do exaggerated side-bend work when a hitter stays too tall, this drill creates an awareness of posture to the hitter. They must stay taller in the swing to create the correct bat path.
3) Creates a Flatter Bat Path
We talk a lot about how we want hitters to swing “Up”. Sometimes the hitter needs an understanding of why we should swing up and how much up. We swing up to get the barrel on plane with the pitch. Depending on the pitch, that plane changes. If we only change swinging on one plane we aren’t preparing the hitter correctly. This drill forces the hitter to understand that we can change our barrel path depending on pitch location. We will attack a fastball up in the zone very differently than a breaking ball low. The hitter has to be prepared to attack both with the correct path.
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