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Baseball Batting Tee Drills Success Story

Baseball Batting Tee Drills Success Story

Could you become a successful Major League hitter with no batting cage?

What if you had no way to hit other than just the bare essentials for batting tee drills… a batting tee and a net?

No hitting coach.

No flips.

No game at-bats.

Not even live BP on the field!

Just a batting tee, a net, and nothing else. 

That’s EXACTLY the situation Toronto Blue Jays’ Right Fielder Shawn Green found himself in.

Today, Shawn Green is Known as a Major League Success Story.

  • 15 Major League seasons
  • Silver Slugger Award
  • Gold Glove Award
  • 2x All-Star
  • 40 or more home runs in a season…THREE TIMES
  • At the time of his retirement, he was one of only four active players with at least 300 home runs, 1,000 runs and RBIs, 400 doubles, and 150 stolen bases. The others were Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr., and Gary Sheffield.
  • And multiple other records.  “Green holds or is tied for the following major league records: most home runs in a game (four), most extra-base hits in a game (five), most total bases in a game (nineteen), most runs scored in a game (six), most home runs in two consecutive games (five), most home runs in three consecutive games (seven), and most consecutive home runs (four). “

But It Wasn’t Always That Way 

In fact, there was a pivotal moment when he was still very new to the Major Leagues, and his career almost came to a screeching halt.  

It all started when Green’s hitting coach with the Toronto Blue Jays wanted to change his swing. In Greens’ words…

“They wanted to change my hitting style from "up the middle" to "right field."

They reasoned that change would cultivate my power potential. But I was sure that change would make me a one-dimensional hitter."

So Green initially went along with what his coach wanted… albeit half-heartedly.

And the Results Were BAD…

  • Extreme inconsistency in his hitting
  • Depression and anger because he felt his lifelong dream slipping away
  • And then BENCHED “indefinitely”

Finally, Green decided to go rogue. If he was going to go down, it would be doing what he believed in.

So he started sneaking into the batting cage when nobody was around.

However, that didn’t last long. Green said...

“The hitting coach saw me going into the batting cage without him. So he chased me down and said, “The batting cage is off limits to you without my supervision.”

I stood there in disbelief. In an instant, my practice area had shrunk to a batting tee and a small net in a tunnel. Those first few practice sessions were fueled with pride and rage.

But then, after a few days, something unexpected happened. I began to feel more freedom at the tee than I ever had in my Major League career. And after I let out all that pent-up anger, I was able to look at that batting tee with new appreciation.

This space had few distractions, which made it easier for me to add Chi Gong principles [intentional focus] into my routine. From that point on, each swing received the focus and the respect that it deserved.

Before I knew it, my up-the-middle approach was better than ever."

[Green also refused to take on-field BP during this time]

"Within a few short weeks, the general manager ordered me back in the lineup.

I was nervous because no matter how good you feel on a tee, the actual game is a whole other story. I felt my fingers wrap lightly around the bat, rhythmic breathing, as I prepared for each pitch. I was deeply rooted in the "here and now."

That first game I had a base hit and 2 home runs.

In all my life, I had never experienced anything like that. I was in the zone, despite the fact that I had been sitting on the bench for an entire month. And for the rest of that year, I played every day, and at a whole new level."

During this time, Green tapped into the same undeniable truth that drove Joe Tanner, founder of Tanner Tees, to spend years of his life developing Tanner Tee prototypes.

Green recognized that a batting tee and regular batting tee drills are often the ONLY WAY to isolate the things in your swing that you want to work on.

Of course, flips and batting practice are still important. But there’s a reason why most Major Leaguers still hit off the tee every day. It’s because a trusted batting tee is unique in how it eliminates distractions, cuts out the variables during a batting tee drill, and as Green said

...allows you to give each swing “the focus and respect it deserves.”

Finding the RIGHT Tee for Batting Tee Drills Wasn’t Easy!

Green tells in his book the journey he went through to find the right tee for baseball batting tee drills. 

book with highlights on batting tee drill
book with highlights

Below is an Excerpt from The Way of Baseball

“Initially, I made do with whatever brand of tee the grounds crew set up at the net. Most stadiums had the awkward, yellow Atec brand tee, which was made of hard rubber that had a plastic feel. 

The tee could be moved up and down only from thigh-high to mid-stomach and every time I took a swing, I’d feel my bat striking more of the tee than the ball. 

Worse, the thing tipped over on impact. 

Some stadiums had similar tees made by Louisville Slugger or Franklin that were slightly better but still didn’t provide a natural feel


Late that summer, our team equipment manager Jeff Ross showed me a new tee he had bought from Joe Tanner, a scout from Bradenton, Florida

The base was a small, square piece of wood about half an inch thick. The vertical piece was a telescoping stem that screwed into the base and had a soft but durable rubber cradle to hold the ball. Easily unscrewed into two pieces for transport, one could raise and lower the tee to work on extremely high and low pitches; also, the rubber cradle was so pliable that upon contact it didn’t even feel like the ball was set on a tee. 

I Was in Love

I never envisioned becoming a connoisseur of batting tees, but the tool had become the crux of my two worlds: baseball and spirituality. 

I put a felt pen to the base of the Tanner Tee and branded it with a big 15, my number. 

book with highlights
"For the last 2 months of that season, and the remaining 10 years of my career, a Tanner Tee traveled with me on every road trip." 
- Blue Jays Outfielder Shawn Green

[Continued from The Way of Baseball]

"Other teammates found it peculiar that I packed my own tee in my bag for every road trip. Someone was always commenting, 

“Don’t Forget Your Tee!” 

It was all in fun and always good for a laugh (back-and-forth banter is part of life in the big leagues). 

However, as my success on the field continued, the joking sessions gradually turned into interrogation sessions as teammates and opposing players took serious notice of my [tee] work in the cage.”

[End of Excerpt]

A Private Note to Joe

Years later, when his book The Way of Baseball came out, Green sent it to Joe Tanner (inventor of the Tanner Tee) with a note that brought tears to Joe’s eyes.  

note to Joe Tanner

Here’s what Green’s private note to Joe Tanner, inventor of the Tanner Tee, said:


Happy 80th!  Your little invention that you made out of your garage served as the most important tool of my 16 year career in professional baseball.  

As you’ll read in the forthcoming pages, I had one of your tees with me every single day during the last 10 years of my career.  

I got more out of it than you could’ve possibly intended when you set forth to design it.  

So for that, I will always be grateful!


Shawn Green"

Joe Tanner didn’t know it at the time he was working on Tanner Tee prototypes in his garage, but his patented design would become the standard of durability and performance for all high-quality batting tees.  

When he first introduced the original Tanner Tee, when he was coaching for the Orioles, it quickly became one of the most popular batting tees in Major and Minor League baseball.  

Then the youth leagues caught wind of it, and the rest is history.  

Today, the Tanner Tee can be found in nearly every professional clubhouse and has been used in countless baseball batting tee drills.

Marcus Semien hitting off the Tanner Heavy batting tee with his hitting coach

Yankees’ Aaron Judge hitting off the Tanner Heavy batting tee with Coach Ferber

3 Tanner Tees on a baseball field

Today, we’ve taken Joe’s invention and added some quality and feature upgrades.  But we still hand-roll the Flextops Joe invented and assemble each batting tee in Sarasota, Florida.

Through the years, Tanner has remained a family company. We are serious about serving our customers with high-quality equipment and amazing customer service.

But the real reason for the success of Tanner Tees over the last 25 years is really pretty simple: 

Tanner Makes the Best Batting Tees Around

Year after year, it’s the same. If you ask around or read reviews anywhere on the internet, you’ll find thousands of comments like these:

5 Stars Review - S Duval
5 Stars Review - Sar
5 Stars Review - Coach B
5 Stars Review - Brandon B.
5 Stars Review - Tate44
5 Stars Review - Coach S.
5 Stars Review - Stanley H.
5 Stars Review - Sandi L.
5 Stars Review - Nate Dog
5 Stars Review - Mike P.
5 Stars Review - Mike Donovan
5 Stars Review
5 Stars Review

What’s Next?

Tanner pro net bundle
Tanner Pro + Net Bundle

If your hitter is looking to train and do baseball batting tee drills like Silver Slugger All-Star Shawn Green, then just click here to grab a pro-quality batting tee and net (with the bundle discount).

Or, check out our full lineup of batting tees here

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About the Author

Andy joined the company in 2012 after seven years in the military as a member of US Army Special Forces. As a Green Beret, he worked in small teams of highly trained combat soldiers and brings a special operations mindset to business and leadership. He has a degree in exercise physiology from Stetson University and was a collegiate athlete. At Tanner Tees, his focus is on brand building, ecommerce operations, and customer experience. Andy enjoys fitness, all things sports and doing yardwork at home.

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