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Been quite a while since I've been on CheckSwing. With five kids, the first one now in college, among other life happenings, time has just flown by.

This may have been dealt with in previous months, so I apologize. Just wanted to know if anyone has caught wind of this trend espoused by some, totally rejecting ANY tee work or soft toss as being effective, and wanted to know your thoughts.

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Certainly not in our area. Tee work, soft toss, one hand drills, heavy ball work all have been staples of the off season work and will continue into the season. Too many great things come from work on fundamentals. 

Tee work, short toss, and especially hitting off machines certainly has its short falls, but if used correctly, I think tees and short toss can be effect components of hitting development. Pitching machines I think are pretty counterproductive. The downfall of all of these is that they do not allow the hitter to work on timing and they make it difficult to work on decision making. I happen to believe those are two of the most important skills a hitter can work on.

With that being said, there is almost no way around tees and short toss. They help with initial skill development and skill refinement. Plus, I do not have enough coaches, and my arm cannot keep up with the demand of not using tees and short toss. With that being said, whenever you can add decision making and timing to a drill/practice you are enhancing the chance that the player will translate what they do in practice to the game.

Good topic!

About 10 years ago I designed and built a Mini Batting Tee and 1" diameter weighted bat with bicycle grips complete with a backstop. I trained my Son with this. He would hit about 500 balls a week off this Tee and then I would soft Toss to him about the same amount that he would hit into the backstop. He never hit below .400, led our State in Home Runs and Slugging Percentage his Senior year in High School and signed his College Baseball Scholarship last April and is about to start his Freshman Baseball Season. This Tee is unique in that it is made for Mini Balls. Golf Ball size wiffle balls. He has told me after training with this Tee and Soft toss a real Baseball looks like a Beach Ball coming at him. Tee work helps form and the ability to square up the Baseball. I strongly recommend training with Mini Balls and a 1" weighted Pole. I took a 1" pole, cut it down to 36" and filled it with concrete and put handlebar grips on it. Balls are wiffle Golf Balls. See @  www.askussports.webstarts.com

Mike,

Are you referring to Paul Reddick's "New Rules of Hitting"? I saw that and it is complete BS. It basically talks about gathering information. Okay, yes, that is a part of smart hitting, but there is no way you are going to perfect your swing just by gathering information. Eventually you have to apply that information and stepping into the Batters box without ever taking a swing and facing a 40mph to 85mph pitch with out ever taking a swing off a tee, soft or front toss or even short BP, just doesn't make any sense.

To specifically address your question: I don't perform a lot of tee work, but that is not to say I am against it. I do a lot of impact bag, swing-away, front and soft toss with my team and students. Rarely do we do any live BP from 54' or 60'6". I am just not that accurate and I want good, quality pitches they can see and select to hit.

I would also agree with Kyle on the effectiveness of machines. I am not a fan of them even though I have two in my facility. When my team comes in to get some work in I use the machines for catching drills, IF drills, etc. Oh, and breaking in gloves...

I have a hard time believing that the guys that get paid to hit baseballs are that far off in their training and not one single pro that I have ever heard speak, talk to or watched on TV has ever made the claim that tee work and soft toss are not fundamental in their training. Most will tell you that they still hit off a tee 365 days a year. As far as machines go, we use ours for outfield practices and a little of our infield work. We don't ever use it for batting practice, which unfortunately is why we spent the $2500 in the first place. It is, for us, just not a great tool for batting practice. The machines in general just seem to be too inconsistent in speed, movement and location.

Guys-  I get what you're saying about pitching machines, but they have a place in my opinion. Kids need to take swings against velocity. Finding good BP pitchers is tough as Richard mentions. Sure, nothing replaces seeing a live arm, but hitting off the machine is certainly better than not hitting at all.

Tee work is valuable. Front toss is as well.  I'm not a fan of soft toss from the side.  I work with 8-9 year old right now.  It's all about balance, being athletic, feel, simple swing mechanics..  and barrel up the baseball. The tee, then front toss, then BP and/or machine helps build this.

I've talked to Paul Reddick a few times over the years. He's a great guy and I like his pitching stuff. Remember that he's a marketer and it seems like his hitting stuff is more about getting attention than teaching hitting. "Throw away your tees" is quite catchy..  but silly.

Agreed, I think this is probably the dumbest thing Paul has ever said. I was in Mortgage Banking for 13 years and there is a company in Sacramento that does major volume and the Owner made a statement: "We are a marketing Company that happens to do mortgages." I think that sometimes sums up Paul. 

I realize it might be a personal preference, but I don't see where hitting off a machine really helps much at all. I would respectfully disagree with you on this one, Bill. I watch countless father/kid and coach/players step into our machine cages (we only have 2 out of 7 lanes) and it's always the same thing; crank up the speed and yell at the kid for being late. That isn't the only thing I see or hear. The ball is usually dropped into the chute without any fluidity or consistency and then the player is expected to be on time, etc. How can a player gain any timing that way? In my limited experience, players do not need to see 40, 50, 70, or 90 mph to hit velocity.  Oh, and I agree on the side toss as well. When I refer to soft toss, it is always from the front, not the side and a video camera or iPhone is always in my hand taking video of players, students, etc. to gove them feedback and so they can SEE what they are doing wrong. Not just what a coach or "instructor" thinks they are doing wrong. Now that's a whole other subject. Great topic...

They all are starving for attention.  This is not a knock on them.  I leave that to criticism of the lack of results.  This is just the nature of the industry.  The competition is fierce.  If you are not a celebrity who can just use your name to draw clients, you have to offer an alternative.  Let's say Mariano Rivera releases a dvd teaching the cutter, and I teach the cutter.  If I want to sell my product, "Michael who?" I have to find a way to differentiate my program from his.  We might both be right, we might both be wrong in our approach to teaching it.  But he has the name and the experience.  Some pros have no idea how their natural ability works.  For that reason, I tend to take their advice with a grain of salt.  Notice most pros don't offer advice unless they are asked for it.  Sometimes they say something that makes sense (probably repeating something a good coach once said).  Other times they say something off the wall but many people will believe it because it was their hero that said it.  You still need a guy that can teach it.  But first you need students.  If you are in it for the money.

Again, I do see what he's saying.  We've all seen it, Jonny looks great on a tee or on side soft toss, then when the ball starts coming at him, it's a completely different swing.  I try to put my kids in as many situations where they have to make a decision as possible, whether they're hitting off a tee, on soft toss, or in the cage.  

Assuming this is the person we all think it is, he deals in a different world than most of us.  He deals in a world where there is one coach, one player, two dozen baseballs, and one batting cage.  

My reality is 24 players, 2 coaches, and 1 batting cage.  So lets say I took this recommendation to heart, and only let my kids swing against a live arm.  Each kid would only get about 8-10 swings in a 2 hour practice, and it would take one coach's entire practice time to get that done leaving the other coach to work with 23 players.  

The whole topic is a non-starter to me because as a coach of a team, it's just not practical.  Now if he had a way to get my guys 50-100 swings and not use 1/2 of my coaching staff to do it...I'm listening, otherwise, it just can't happen for those of us on the front lines.

Kyle Nelson

www.cornerstonecoachingacademy.com 

  

      .Mike,

         5 kids ..........Bless you.!....been there done that.

         My response is prompted because of what I have seen over 30 years of instructing  both baseball and

         softball hitting,.......from Little League to Div.One

         Any time I have seen a coach suggest some revolutionary method or gadget,it's pretty much associated

         with a personal agenda they have,

          It's like a coach who teaches a young player to hit, by attempting to have the player mimic a major league

         players' bat swing.

          It's a pretty good indication they don't know what it takes to develop a youngster into a hitter.

          If you're talking about instructing young players to hit,follow the K.I.S.S. rule.

          The first thing the player needs to master, is the ability to control that the Sweet Spot of their bat strikes

          where they want it to strike.( they need control of the Sweet Spot )

           Tee work is great for that. (a hanging bag is better ) )

           The biggest problem I've witnessed is the coach has the player do Tee work with an ineffective bat swing.

           SOFT TOSS.....there is no more effective way to condition a player to hit balls in every travel lane of their

            strike zone,with a particular bat swing.....

           Of course if the coach is teaching the player they should wait for their pitch,than soft toss is nothing more

           than exercise. (do you know of any pitcher who throws a batter their pitch ??   Never understood that )

             Any way........It's like anything ....tools are only as good as the person using them.

            I ask the question...... Why so many kids spend four ..five years in youth leagues playing ball,and can't hit ?

            I just gave you part of the answer.

            Rod

  

          

T work is overrated.  Swing mechanics are overrated.  We focus on pitching mechanics because we want maximum results with minimum stress and reducing the chance of injury.  Has it worked?  That is debatable.  But with hitting or the swing itself, there are few concerns that poor swing mechanics cause injury.  So why are we so focused on it like pitching?  Money.  The T is a tool used by instructors to show a client instant feed back.  What is not guaranteed is a 50 point improvement on batting average.  Any decent coach given enough time with a player can get him batting 1,000 off a T.  So what.  If the kid has major deficiencies in his ability to produce bat speed and make solid contact.  This can be corrected with just dry swings, analysis, and repetition of the swing so the player learns to balance and learns the feel for the correct swing without worrying about contact.  It is like teaching pitching mechanics by throwing into a net so the pitcher does not worry about control.  He can get to learn the feel of the proper motion throughout the pitch.

When it is time to teach contact, it is best to do 100% off live pitching.  That not being possible, It is best to do 90% off live pitching and 10% soft toss and T work.  It gets worse the less live BP is replaced with T and soft toss.  Once you train the swing (T not required) you need to train the eyes (T useless).

     

                  You guys provide so much valuable insight I need to take advantage of it.

                   Assuming you all agree....that repeating a physical execution over and over

                  again,develops a program in the players brain.that controls their muscle

                  response to a split second decision,( for this conversation...we''ll call

                   muscle memory) 

                   Does it make sense to have a player,using a Tee..,Soft Toss,...hitting off a machine,

                  or live pitching........hit balls with an ineffective bat swing execution ?

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