Drill: Plate Discipline - Tee Drill
To help players learn their hitting zones for different counts. This is an introductory drill to learning plate discipline that can be used to get the player thinking about pitch location and get a rough idea of what pitches they like.
For this drill to be useful you'll have had to discuss the concept of plate discipline and adjusting to different counts. If not, do not use this drill. Information on developing plate discipline and a game time approach. If you have not used a tee for instruction, please see our instructional page on using a batting tee to improve hitting.
Bat, Batting helmet, Batting tee, Baseballs, Throw down home plate.
Have a throw down home plate with a batting tee on top of it in an area where you can have a player hit into a fence or other backstop. Have a coach or parent available to help with moving tee and placing balls.
This drill can be used as a batting practice station over a course of any 3 practices or you could have 3 stations set up at a single practice if you have the equipment available. See hitting approach instruction for more information.
Player moves and adjusts the tee to the pitch they like the best and can handle. This is the pitch they would like to hit on a 3-0 count. Have them take a few swings. Now at the same height have them move the tee towards them not going beyond a spot that they still like and is not too far inside the plate. Have them take a few swings and confirm that this is still a pitch they like and can handle. If not move the tee until they have a pitch they like. Then move the tee back to the original spot. Take a couple of swings, now move the tee outside a few inches to find the outside part of the zone for the pitches they really like.
Once you have determined the width, then do the same for the height.
After this station, the player should have a rectangle of a zero strike hitting zone.
Coaching Tip: I find it beneficial to print out a hitting zone chart for each player and have it filled in by a parent or coach at this station. Not only can it be referenced and refined by the player and coach at later times, it can also help a coach determine weaknesses that need to be worked on for that player.
Once the 0 strike hitting zone has been defined, then work on establishing a 1 strike hitting zone, which for most players will be the strike zone. Move the tee location and height to be outside the 0 strike hitting zone, but within the strike zone and have the player take a few cuts at each of these locations.
Now complete this series by having the player work on hitting pitches that they may not be strikes, but are too close to take with 2 strike count. Emphasize taking a short quick swing and putting the bat on the ball.
This drill can also help players evaluate their plate coverage and determine the proper distance from the plate.
Your lessons are great. They help me remember the basics. Sometimes emotion and excitement drive us to think about just hitting the ball as hard as you can, but fundamentals will save you on the long run. I've share your lessons with league friends, hoping they will help them too. Great job!!!
- Alejandro M.