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#AnythingButSoft: Tips for Teeing Off

If you're looking to teach the fundamentals of hitting in softball, look no further than the use of a tee. A tee can simulate pitch location, height, and how to read spin of the ball off the bat, according to Glenbrook South (Ill.) High School coach Kay Sopocy.

Sopocy uses a tee every day when her team practices inside, though she noted that a tee can be used to help correct form for everyone from beginning players to seasoned varsity players.

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Here are two tips for training with a tee:

Inside-Outside Pitch

Hitting off a tee doesn’t have to be rocket science. Simply setting the tee on the outside or inside of the plate can help hitters work on hitting those types pitches.

“You want your hands to be on the inside,” Sopocy said. “If a kid has trouble with inside pitches, you set up your tee on the inside and your body.” 

This drill emphasizes consistently hitting the ball and swinging with a repeated motion. “Hitting is muscle memory, like a lot of other things,” Sopocy said. “You are getting a lot of reps at the same place. You are taking some movement out of it. It’s a stable object, so you can focus on the fundamentals and getting that done.”


Sopocy prefers to focus on one aspect of hitting during each swing before eventually putting everything together.

“I tend to look at one thing at time, break down all the aspects,” Sopocy said. “From the initial load and movement in the hands, I look a lot at the legs to make sure the power is legs up. Off of a tee, I look at one thing a few times to see if it is a constant error that needs to be fixed.”

Sopocy identified a common mistake not only with using a tee but when making contact in a game. “Getting a good load, keeping their hips still and seeing the ball,” Sopocy said. “A lot of kids pull their heads up when they swing. Also, keeping their hands on the inside. There is a big difference where the ball is hit between inside, outside, deeper, or earlier in the zone.”

Two Tees Power Hitting

Power hitting can be vastly improved by placing one tee in front of another. “You’re working on extension with two tees,” Sopocy said. “You are swinging through both of the balls. Many batters will swing in a more circular motion around their body, instead of at contact extending their arms through and driving the ball deep.”

Sopocy stressed the urgency of finishing each swing.

“I think that for really getting a solid, strong hit is through extension,” Sopocy said. “We work a lot on extension. When you are taking your hands through and making sure you hit the top of the ball, and are continuing through both of them.” 

From GameChanger and Greg Hunter Tickel. 

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