6 Tips to Choose the Best Batting Tee
Struggling with how to choose the best batting tee? If there’s one thing Tanner Tees knows from our 25+ year history, it’s what makes a great batting tee.
Before we dive into what makes a great batting tee, it’s important to know what we want to avoid. The following are the most common problems that hitters, parents, and coaches complain about. If your tee does ANY of these things, it can result in frustration and poor training experiences.
6 Things to Avoid to Choose the Best Batting Tee
Coaches and hitters know that a quality hitting practice session can be derailed by faulty equipment. After 50 years in professional baseball and coaching, our founder Joe Tanner, was frustrated with the same, predictable problems with every batting tee he tried.
These are the 6 most common batting tee problems Joe Tanner identified and set out to solve for baseball and softball hitters.
- The ball rest/cone doesn’t last. It falls apart or loses shape quickly.
As you hone your hitting skills, your batting tee is going to take a lot of use (and occasional abuse). Regular hitting practice means hundreds of swings daily. With use, low-quality rubber or plastic ball cones will often start to separate, crack or tear, leaving you without an essential piece of training equipment OR forcing you to replace your tee more often, costing more money over time.
- The ball rest/cone is too hard (inflexible) and damages your bat and/or interferes with your swing.
Stiff rubber or plastic ball rests may hold the ball securely but if they offer too much resistance, it can interfere with your swing and may contribute to unintended bad habits if the hitter feels resistance from a stiff cone when swinging. In more extreme instances, it can lead to bat damage from repeated impact with the stiff cone.
- The ball rest/cone is too soft or limp causing the ball to fall off
Conversely, if the cone of the batting tee is too soft, it will quickly lose its staying power, often resulting in the ball falling off the tee before you have a chance to hit. While picking up and replacing your fallen ball is annoying, it also wastes time at hitting practice and disrupts getting into your groove and rhythm.
- The ball rest/cone is too wide and “eats” half the ball, giving you a poor visual
When using a batting tee correctly, most hitters will strike the top of the ball rest as they hit the sweet spot of the ball itself. If the mouth of the ball rest is too wide (or becomes stretched out over time) the ball will sit too low in the cone and interfere with both the visual and the swing itself.
- The batting tee doesn’t travel well
While some athletes may have the ability to leave their batting tee in one place, most hitters take their tee on the go between home, the field, training facility, or other practice locations. There are two important portability factors to consider when you choose the best batting tee for your hitter.
- Does the tee quickly disassemble to pack in a bat bag? (And reassemble without sacrificing stability.) Look for a stem that easily detaches from the base AND provides a solid connection to provide stability.
- Is the base too large or too heavy for the athlete to transport? This is particularly important for younger athletes who may have a harder time carrying a heavier weight base or fitting a large home-plate-style base in their bat bag.
- The batting tee can’t hold up to regular heavy use
Whether you’re a backyard beginner or a seasoned pro, your batting tee needs to be able to work as hard as you do.
In addition to a premium grade, flexible rubber ball cone, hitters will want to look for a batting tee with a durable height adjustment mechanism, premium steel shaft (vs aluminum, plastic, or fiberglass), and rugged connection to the base for stability over time and through missed hits. The best batting tee for 5-year-olds to adults is one that lasts!
What Did We Do With the "How to Choose the Best Batting Tee" List?
They say “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and that was certainly true for Joe Tanner. The above checklist for “how to choose the best batting tee” was born of many years of frustration, which led to an invention that would change baseball (and softball) forever: The Original Tanner Tee.
Joe Tanner tried many, MANY different types of batting tees and they all ended in disappointment or frustration due to these 6 common problems. So, Joe embarked on his search for the “Holy Grail” – a perfectly flexible ball rest atop a premium adjustable height batting tee base.
All Rubber is Not Created Equal
After a lengthy search, Joe identified the ideal rubber makeup that was:
- Firm enough to last for a long time, without sagging, and
- Flexible enough that you can’t feel it when you swing.
It's our goal to craft the best batting tees so, that the rubber we shape each Tanner Flextop from combines with a specific assembly process that provides a longer-lasting top than most other tees. Flexible yet strong rubber allows the bat to pass through the contact point with the least interference (and without harming your bat) providing instant feedback with every hit.
Hand-Rolled, Patented Flextop
Once the ideal rubber formula was identified, founder Joe Tanner developed a patented process that includes hand-rolling the flexible rubber ball rest assembly with our signature flap. We call it the Flextop. More than 25 years later, we are still hand-rolling the Flextop in our Florida location and they are signed by the craftsman who rolled it. Our Flextop sets Tanner Tees apart from any other training tool.
With the baseball or softball resting high on the Flextop, hitters will focus on contacting the correct part of the ball to produce line drives, while never feeling the tee.
From your first repetition off a Tanner Tee, you’ll realize the training benefits and durability our Flextop offers.
What Matters Most: Durability
Having perfected the Flextop, Tanner moved on to solve the durability and portability problems. Most batting tees break down because they are made of inferior parts and poor design. Joe Tanner’s solution was simple but effective:
Quality materials! Metal and GOOD rubber... That's why it comes with a one-year warranty.
Simple design - This is more important than most people realize. More moving parts means more things with the potential to break. We have found that the popular tripod-style tee is typically less stable, and commonly has lightweight moving parts and joints with poor-quality materials - there are many opportunities for something to go wrong!
What Matters Most: Portability
The Original is the perfect blend of durable, premium construction that is still lightweight, easy to disassemble, and packs into any bat bag.
Weighing in at just 6 lbs., many athletes appreciate not having the added bulk of a heavy base and the flexibility to swap out multiple size adjustable stems (youth, adult, and low ball) as well as an optional tee weight.
And there it was! Tanner Tee the Original was born.
What Matters Most: Replaceable Parts - The quiet hallmark of great quality
Left your tee outside all winter? Unintentionally ran over it with the car? Dog chewed it up? Accidentally left the base at practice and now it’s lost?
It's never planned, but life happens.
All Tanner Tees are designed to last and feature the Tanner Guarantee. Even if you never HAVE to buy replacement parts, the fact that it's an option is a strong indicator that the parts were premium quality to begin with.
In addition to replacement bases and Flextops, the Tanner Heavy, Tanner Pro, and Tanner Tee - the Original also have optional stems in a variety of heights – youth, adult, and low ball – which means you have maximum flexibility as hitters mature to change your stem height. It saves money in the long run when you can replace a part without having to buy a whole new Tanner batting tee.
For help selecting which batting tee is perfect for you and your situation, click here to view our quick reference guide.