I have used this idea and these hitting drills many times with young hitters with good results. It often helps them to make sense of hitting and for the adjustment from tee ball to pitched balls.
Many beginning baseball players have difficulty watching the pitched ball, timing the ball, and making contact. Of course, it is not just young hitters, who pull their head, lose timing, pull off the ball, miss the ball, and make contact in the wrong place, so these drills can help all hitters. One of my favorite sayings is, “Hitting is T-ball with timing; ultimately it all happens as if the ball were sitting on a tee,” and these hitting drills demonstrate that; a good fundamental swing is still necessary to hit line drives on the batting tee, of course.
For these drills, coaches throw balls above the ball on the batting tee, as the object of the drills is not to hit the pitched balls, but to watch the moving ball and hit the stationary one on the tee.
Hitting Drills – Seeing the Ball
This first drill has players watch the ball until it passes over the tee, when they swing at the ball on the batting tee, with a line drive the desired result. There is no great rush to swing on this drill, as the main goal is to have players watch balls all the way into the hitting zone. This is a good way to help players keep their front shoulder on the ball and understand where contact occurs, as well as watching the ball all the way in.
Timing Hitting Drills
These hitting drills for beginners are very important for developing timing for youth players.
The second drill begins the timing process as hitters watch the ball to the first ball and begin their swing as it passes to the second ball before hitting the final ball on the tee. This idea helps hitters understand that they must prepare and begin their swing as the ball gets to the contact area, all the while watching the ball and timing it those last few feet to contact. For hitters who seem to take their eye off the ball, I have them say now when the ball passes over the first ball, before swinging.
Contact Points Hitting Drills for Beginners
The final drill has a ball set on an inside and outside tee with the hitter hitting the ball that the pitched ball passes over, either the inside or outside one. This drill helps kids watch the ball, recognize pitch locations and where to make contact on different pitch locations.
After players begin to get the feel for watching the ball in and making good contact with the ball on the tee, I remove the batting tee and have players take regular batting practice, when players hit the thrown ball.
As mentioned, I often see a much greater sense of hitting after these three hitting drills for beginners.