Off-Season Tee Progression

Creating an Off Season Tee Work Routine

Using the Tee Effectively to Develop Quality Hitters

The use of the tee in baseball swing development has become quite the conversation piece in the world of #HittingTwitter over the last year or so. Some coaches believe that hitters should not leave the tee until they have an “elite swing pattern.” Others are so anti-tee that they have publicly denounced tee-work as a whole.

As with most things in the development of high-level athletes, I believe in the gray area. The following contains some of the warning signs for bad tee work and processes that I have found work the best in creating a tee routine. We wanted something that helps the player prepare for the ultimate goal: in-game performance!

Pre Tee Work Preparation

Movement Work

I will start out by saying, there is a tremendous amount of bad tee work being done throughout the country. One of the first things I look at when assessing a new hitter is how they approach the tee on their own. One of the worst things to hear from a hitter is “I use the tee to get loose.” If you are using the tee as a warm-up, chances are you are setting yourself up for failure down the road.

Before my hitters jump on a tee, we will typically go through some sort of movement prep activity, using PVC pipes, Rebel's Racks, medicine balls, foam rollers, etc., to prepare for the act of delivering a blow to a baseball.

Game Like Visualization

Don't Hit Just to Hit

The second red flag I see with young hitters is a series of mindless “cardio hacks”. This is where the hitter stares at the tee, while rapidly and repeatedly swinging with no real plan. The last time I checked, we hit a moving target in the game of baseball. 90% of hitters I work with have no concept of visualization when they first walk into my cage.

One of the first steps to setting a solid foundation for tee work is visualizing a pitcher and having a plan on EVERY swing. This creates a tempo and a load process that is more likely to translate to an in-game scenario.

Make it Correlate

One final qualm I have with the use of the tee is the recording of “Tee Exit Velocity”. In my opinion, there is no better way to wreck a game swing than repeatedly test a young hitter’s exit velocity on a tee. Most of the time hitters are over-coiling, losing connection, and trying to hammer the ball into the ground as hard as they can. Which could lead to higher exit velocity, OFF THE TEE ONLY. If you go to a showcase or a camp and all they use for exit velocity is a pocket radar, off a tee, then you are in the wrong place. 

I get it, we can gauge raw strength and all that, but are we really getting a glimpse of the player’s in-game performance and abilities? I think not. 

Give Your Hitters Ownership of their Tee Work Routine

So how do we create tee work that allows a player to efficiently prepare their swing to perform in-game? Enter a constraints-based tee routine, and hitters taking ownership of their swings. One of the things I hear most often from my hitters at the Junior High and High School levels is that their tee stations at practice really have no direction. They are sent to mindlessly take swings off the tee, fill time, and "get loose" for live BP.

I have tasked my hitters with creating a tee routine that will help them get “dialed in” to attack the day.

Allowing hitters to take ownership of their training puts them in a position to be the best version of themselves that they can for the team. As coaches, we are not here to be dictators, but vessels in the development of the athlete.

Parameters For Effective Tee Work

The two things I asked to execute for their routine, were that it needed to be between 40–50 swings, and only the last 5–10 should be their “game swing”.

My hitters have been exposed to dozens of constraint-based drills aimed at focusing on one specific portion of the total package that is a high-level baseball swing. Most of them chose 2–3 of those drills to put into their own routine, and the results have been pretty solid. There are far fewer “tee-killers” and they find barrel far more consistently.

Having the confidence in the swing itself when we move on to hitting a moving target allows us to dive deeper into a situational approach, hunting zones, and other game applications.

 

Tee Work Progression

Below is a basic tee routine that I use to prepare my swing for battle. Again, when working with amateur hitters, it is imperative to allow them to take ownership of their training. Just because this particular set of drills seems to work for me, it may not work for the next guy. The tee featured in these drill videos is a Tanner Tee with a Launch Angle Tee adapter.

LAUNCH POSITION — 10 TO 15 SWINGS

 The goal is to accelerate from a still position.

STEP BACK TO NO-STRIDE/STEP BACK TO LAUNCH — 10 TO 15 SWINGS

The goal is to walk back into a stacked load position and generate acceleration without a secondary load.

SEPARATION — 10 TO 15 SWINGS

The goal is to create separation between stride foot and hands to create a “stretch” that is released through the ball at contact. *This drill is also good for guys that get stuck and collapse on the back-side, in teaching them how to create momentum*

It's Their Career...Not Ours

In closing, I have seen first-hand the ability for a hitter to be transformed into an animal via concise and efficient tee work. I have also seen hitters that hold themselves back due to inefficient tee work.

At the end of the day, ownership and attention to detail are what take hitters to new heights. As coaches, we need to continue to foster ownership and accountability in our players and let them aid in the development progress. After all, it is their career… not ours.

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

10 tee drills for power

Tee Drill Progression: How to Use a Launch Angle Tee

Frequently, Baseball Rebellion is emailed with questions about the Launch Angle Tee, one of our products.  Many times, these emails have questions about the tee or adapter top itself.  However,…

To access this post, you must purchase Rebel’s Rack Movement Progression Certification Course.

Check out how the Baseball Rebellion Rebel's Rack progression system helped this hitter increase his exit velocity by 10 mph in two years!

You've Reached a BR Premium Article

BR Premium gives you access to premium online content that will make YOU a better coach, instructor, or player!  Being a BR Premium member gives you access a new and consistently updated library of high-quality research articles, videos, drills, vlogs, and practice plans!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR BR PREMIUM!

LOG IN HERE TO ACCESS BR PREMIUM!

Summer Development: Getting the Most Out of Your Money The summer season is arguably the most important season in amateur baseball. Players are out of school, travel ball is in......

You've Reached a BR Premium Article

BR Premium gives you access to premium online content that will make YOU a better coach, instructor, or player!  Being a BR Premium member gives you access a new and consistently updated library of high-quality research articles, videos, drills, vlogs, and practice plans!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR BR PREMIUM!

LOG IN HERE TO ACCESS BR PREMIUM!

How the Rebel's Rack Can Help Transform Your Training

I recently purchased four Rebel’s Racks to include in my programming after watching the success of countless Baseball Rebellion Hitters over the years. I have been very outspoken in my time as a hitting instructor against gadgets and gimmicks. To be quite honest, I initially thought the Rebel’s Rack was just another one of those.

I have done different movement prep work using PVC, medicine balls, etc., but had been holding off on bringing in anything that was anymore obscure into my program.  Below, I will discuss the ways that I have introduced the Rebel’s Rack turn progressions to my hitters, and some of the results we have seen over the first few weeks of minimal use.

Understanding the Drills and the Goal

It is important to understand the why behind introducing a new drill progression to your hitters and being able to articulate that ‘why’ to your hitters to create buy-in. When we watch big league hitters, we see many of the same characteristics in some of the best in the world when it comes to how their body moves in space.

The goal with the Rebel’s Rack is to help our hitters learn to move better and ultimately, barrel more baseballs. Learning the drill progressions and teaching them back in a manner that is controlled, precise, and efficient is key to the understanding that the player will be able to achieve.

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

The old saying goes, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”  In my case, I was feeling this way with regards to some of my more tenured clients.  For reference, most of my client base has been with me for more than three months, with some of them having been in the program for several years. I was nervous as to how I was going to come out of left field and basically tell my hitters we were not going to hit until they had a basic understanding of this brand-new drill set. The answer: jump in with both feet!

I went through basic hesitation turn and full turn movements with them all on day one and have now added that to the beginning of every session. I feel like we are not reaching our full potential with our turns yet, but baby steps are key, especially when dealing with young hitters. It's important for us as coaches to believe in the trust our hitters have developed in us. If we can show them why the drill will help them, the buy-in will be there.

Tracking Results

With all of the opportunities that are out there for data tracking, it is imperative that we track everything we do in the cage, particularly when we add new drill progressions, such as the ones we use with the Rebel’s Rack. In our cage, we track every swing with a Rapsodo hitting unit, and will also be trying to add Blast Motion back into the equation this Summer.

My Favorite Rack Drill- Rebel's Rack Timing Turns off the Machine

In the month or so since I have added the Rebel’s Rack to my session regimen, I have figured out my favorite use for the Rack.  I recently incorporated a Spinball Machine into our training, and many of the players have had issues finding timing. We have started to use the rack with the machine to time the turn itself instead of trying to time the swing. This has created immediate timing adjustments and more consistent contact against higher velocities. In the video below, we clearly have work to do with regards to the Rack turn and the swing itself, but incorporating the turn in between swing sets allows the hitter to find better timing on the second set of swings.

Result's Matter

I encourage anyone who has not yet tried the Rebel’s Rack to get one and try it out. In just a few weeks of training, we have seen as much as 5 mph in average Exit Velocity increases, and the hitter pictured below saw a 14% increase in Hard-Hit Percentage from limited Rack work.

Batted Ball Data Before Rebel's Rack Movement Progression
Batted Ball Data Before Rebel's Rack Movement Progression
Batted Ball Data AFTER Rebel's Rack Movement Progression
Batted Ball Data AFTER Rebel's Rack Movement Progression

The introduction of the Rebel’s Rack to my programming was not such that I had to completely change everything I do. It is simply another tool in the toolbox to help hitters understand how to use their bodies to hit baseballs harder and farther! I’m excited to see the continued progress as we roll into the summer.

John Lampros Two Five Baseball

BR Premium Writer- John Lampros

John Lampros is a private hitting instructor in the Fresno, California area. He currently works with players at all levels of amateur baseball. As a player, John finished his collegiate career with a .130 batting average at then NAIA Fresno Pacific University. As a coach, John has dedicated himself to understanding why his college career did not go as planned and helping players consistently perform at whatever level they are at.

In 2015 John started Two-Five Baseball, a program dedicated to advanced hitting instruction and college development. In 2016 he was the hitting coach at Clovis North High School and helped lead the Broncos to a section runner-up finish.

John lives and teaches by the motto “Fail Better”. Baseball and life are games of failure and learning, and John believes that in teaching his players how to overcome and learn from the failures they experience in baseball, they will be better equipped to tackle life as adults.

John currently resides in Fresno, California with his wife, Heidi, and Siberian Husky, Kunu.

Twitter: @TwoFiveBaseball
Instagram: @Twofivebaseball
Facebook: Facebook.com/johnlamprosbaseball

Did you like this content? Check out some of our Products or Other Articles!

If you are struggling to hit in games but crushing it in the cage or batting practice, learn how a few mental adjustments can turn your season around. What Is......

You've Reached a BR Premium Article

BR Premium gives you access to premium online content that will make YOU a better coach, instructor, or player!  Being a BR Premium member gives you access a new and consistently updated library of high-quality research articles, videos, drills, vlogs, and practice plans!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR BR PREMIUM!

LOG IN HERE TO ACCESS BR PREMIUM