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Everyone can agree that to become a great hitter you have to practice. Although hitting off a tee a lot can cause some issues with your swing and create bad habits. The barrier tee drill is great for practice on your own. It is simply effective and will help you train smarter.
The main purpose of this drill is to engrain habits that will help you perform better in the game. Gaining an understanding of swing direction, proper bat path, and extension through the ball are all things you need to become the hitter you want to become.
1. Contact point- When hitting the outside pitch often youngers hitters tend to hook around the ball. As a result, this can turn many pitches that are thrown on the outside corner into rollovers aka outs. With the placement of the screen, it will force hitters to adjust there contact point on the ball closer to the inner half as opposed to the outer half. For the pitches down the middle and inside your contact point will be more out front.
2. Swing Direction- Probably the most important thin this drill will help with is the direction of your swing. Many hitters lack the ability to get their bodies moving through the direction of the ball. Sure you load and stride the same every time but in regards to the pitch height and pitch depth that solely comes from the direction and tilt of your body. Doing this incorrectly will result in hitting the screen and a possible ricochet of your face! Check out this other drill for swing direction to get your swing moving in the right path.
3. Delivering the Barrel- Often times kids will have a difficult time getting the barrel properly to the ball. Especially on the outside pitch. They will push their hands forward resulting in the barrel to lag too far behind and creating a mis-hit ball to the opposite field. The goal is to deliver the barrel flush and square. If you are not hitting the ball hard you may be "attacking contact vs attacking bat path"
Above you can the hitter demonstrating the three things to look for when hitting an outside pitch. His shoulders are rotated at the correct degree when hitting this pitch. This will also allow him to stay on the baseball driving it to the right-center gap. Notice where his barrel is hitting the ball. Slightly on the inside part of the ball, this is hitting the ball square on this outside pitch.
Here you can see what it should look like at contact for a pitch down the middle. The shoulders have rotated slightly further but as you can see his direction is through the middle of the field. Hitters may try and push their hands too far forward to avoid hitting the screen. If you do this properly you will not hit the screen and it will be a hard line drive up the middle.
Lastly, we are making contact on the outside pitch. The hitter has rotated his shoulders slightly further again to help him meet that pitch out front. Notice though he is still not coming or hooking around the outside part of the ball. The goal here is to drive the ball are with a true spin through the left side of the cage. No hooking just hard consistent contact.
The Barrier Tee drill will give you instant feedback from swing to swing. The thing that will inhibit your hitters from getting better is changing where you stand in the box. In the videos below I explain that you must remain consistent. The only thing that will move around is the tee depending on what part of the field you're trying to hit too.
The pictures above also give a great indicator of where you need where the tee needs to be set up. Pay attention to where you stand in the box and move the tee around accordingly.