The Alternating Tee Drill - One of Our Favorite Baseball and Softball Hitting Drills
Batting tee work is something every hitter should do regularly whether they are a beginner or a pro athlete. The Alternating Tee Drill is one of our favorite baseball and softball hitting drills (especially for youth) to help hitters ensure they are hitting off a batting tee at different locations around the strike zone.
The Alternating Tee Drill Solves a Big Problem
It’s very easy to “cheat.”
For example, when the batting tee is on the outer part of the plate, the hitter might step toward the hitting tee…
…or close off their shoulders, to make it easier to hit.
And to make things even worse, 99% of the time it happens without the hitter realizing it!
So why is that a problem?
The reason this is a HUGE problem is that when you’re hitting in a real game, you won’t know the pitch location until AFTER you’ve already taken your stride!
So how do you practice swinging as if “not knowing?" As if you were hitting in a real game?
While that might seem impossible, there’s actually an easy way to do this.
This is where the 3 Tee Alternating Tee Drill comes in. (You can also do this softball and baseball hitting drill with 2 batting tees.)
The Alternating Tee Baseball and Softball Hitting Drill
Watch below as Silverback Athlete owner Andrew Beattie (former Cincinnati Reds infielder/outfielder) demonstrates the proper way to do this softball and baseball hitting drill for maximum benefit.
When this hitting drill is done properly, these 3 things should NOT change for the hitter:
- Shoulder position
- Stride length
- Stride direction
Stride as if the pitch is down the middle. That’s your thought process no matter where the ball is.
Then adjust from there using your hands and torso.
According to Beattie — “Attacking pitches requires side bend to change with location. Balls high in the zone require less side bend than down and in the zone! Start at the top of the zone and work down when approaching pitches in a game.”
Equipment Needed for This Hitting Drill
At a minimum, you’ll need 2 batting tees to complete this drill.
In the video above, the hitter is using 3 batting tees. All 3 batting tees in this video clip are the Tanner Pro, only with three different height Tanner stems. They are (left to right); (1) Tanner Pro Low Ball, (2) Tanner Pro Youth, and (3) Tanner Pro Adult/Standard.
Of course, if you don’t have 3 different batting tees or a low tee, you shouldn’t let that prevent you from doing this important batting tee drill.
The variation between heights isn’t as challenging, but it still serves the purpose of revealing if the hitter is “cheating” by rotating the shoulders back more, or striding differently, or any of the other common ways we adjust to the tee position (usually without realizing it).
Tanner Hitting Deck
The Tanner Hitting Deck is an incredibly popular tool with youth coaches and parent coaches.
It’s useful to ensure that the hitter’s stride length, positioning, and angle stay the same.
It also shows visually where the batting tees should be placed with a stride guide for the hitter.