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For many high school baseball players, using a tee to practice their swing is child’s play. Sure, almost everyone of us started playing the game at the teeball level before working our way up to live pitching, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t revisit using a tee to help fine tune your swing. In fact, many MLB professionals, including a former American League MVP, have turned to a tee to help improve their swing.

"Tee drills are good for creating muscle memory: Drive your hip toward the ball and your back knee toward your front ankle," Anaheim Angels slugger Mike Trout told Men’s Journal.

Still think you’re too cool to use a tee to practice your swing now? It can be easy to succumb to peer pressure from your teammates, who might dismiss using a tee as childish. However, they are not the ones who will help you earn a scholarship, or maybe even get drafted one day. The reality is that college coaches are not interested in players who look cool; they want players who are coach-able and have a desire to improve.

Its important not to look at the Tee when swinging. Keep your eye’s focus 
out front. As Perry Husband at HITTINGISAGUESS.COM says 
“we don’t see the ball hitting the bat anyway.
SKLZ Court Vision Basketball Dribble Goggles
And that brings us back to using a tee to practice your hitting. It is one of the easiest and most efficient ways to improve your swing. And it is just about the only way to hit in a 100-percent controlled environment. Batting cages, live batting practice and even soft toss do not offer you the chance to practice hitting the ball in a specific location over and over again.

Doing this will allow you to get a better feel for your swing. Hitting off the tee gives you an idea of what your hands are doing, how your hips are moving, and how your entire body is working together during your swing. In this controlled environment, you should be able to dictate where you hit the ball with every single swing. If something is off with your swing mechanics, it is easy to see during a session of hitting off the tee, because you will be spraying the ball over the place.

Even the best hitters in baseball pick up bad swing habits from one day to the next. For high school players who may go a few days, or in the winter time even weeks, without a regular BP session, there are a lot more opportunities for something to go wrong with your swing. Unfortunately, these minor hiccups don’t normally appear clearly if you use a batting cage or go up against live pitching.

This means small issues in your swing are allowed to go unchecked. But hitting off a tee, which can be done either indoors or outdoors, can give you a better idea of where your swing is at. If something is off, you’ll be able to have the problem analyzed much sooner.

"Just hit off the tee," Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said in an interview with Men’s Fitness. "It’s the most underrated thing you can do, and it’s the best thing you can do to improve your swing."

Too often we see talented kids who go away over the holidays and turn up for the start of the high school season with a swing that’s out of whack. It can take them a quarter or even half of the season to get back on track. By then, college recruiters may have already seen you play, and will have been unimpressed with the performance. Sure, you may get another chance to perform for the same coach or scout later on in the season, or with your traveling team, but with so many high school players vying for a limited number of scholarships, you don’t really want to make a bad impression.

Of course, there is more to hitting off a tee than just making sure your swing is healthy. As any good athlete will remind you, the key to becoming great is practice and repetition. At Sandlot Elite Baseball Training, we are the first ones to tell you that a baseball swing isn’t rocket science. However, it is something that can only be perfected through hard work.

When it comes to hitting, especially at the high school level, you might not see a lot of pitch, or even location, variety. This means that when a pitcher is able to throw in a location you don’t see a lot, you simply don’t have the muscle memory required to know what to do with the pitch. The greatest performance-related benefit of hitting off a tee is the ability to face any pitch in any location.

"You can work on any pitch the pitcher will throw. You can see it deep, up, down, left, right. Whatever you want to work on, you can make it your pitch," Chicago White Sox outfielder Adam Eaton was quoted as saying by AZ Central. "That’s what’s great about the tee."

With a rubber tee, you can set it up wherever you want and get the practice and repetition of hitting a pitch in that location. This isn’t something that always happens in batting practice, because BP pitchers aren’t able to control exactly where they place the ball. There are no wasted pitches, and no wasted time, during a session of hitting off the tee. You always get to work on a specific area, which allows you to build muscle memory.

You will soon become comfortable hitting pitches in any part of the strike zone, a skill college coaches demand from their players. When you take the step up in competition from high school to your traveling team, and later from there to the collegiate level, you’ll notice pitchers have a far greater command of the strike zone. Hitting off a tee can help you prepare for that level of competition, even if you don't necessarily see it a lot during your high school season.

If the question is to tee or not to tee, then we here at Sandlot Elite would emphatically say you should tee off. Apart from not looking cool, there are no negatives to practicing your hitting by using a tee. More importantly, a tee can help keep the mechanics of your swing sharp, and improve your muscle memory when it comes to hitting pitches throughout the strike zone.

If you do notice you have a glitch in your swing, or you simply want to learn how to improve your game, then get in touch with Sandlot Elite Baseball Training. We’ve helped thousands of aspiring ballplayers of all ages raise their game 
and prepare for the next level of competition.

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