The key to quality swing mechanics is quality work on the tee. A player should groove his swing with hundred of quality reps on the tee before he ever steps foot outside and hits live pitching. A Tee Station can easily be constructed in the garage or basement by attaching a tarp to the ceiling. Attach a pole to the bottom and it can be rolled up to the ceiling and secured with a chain when not in use.
The hitter should take his stance with his belt buckle in the center of the plate. The tee should be moved around to three different contact points. Contact point one is placed on the inside 1/3 of the plate, about 2 feet in front of the plate. This pitch should be pulled. Contact point two is placed down the middle and about one foot in front of the plate and hit up the middle. Contact point three is placed on the outside corner, back into the plate and driven to the opposite field.
One-third of the swings should be lead-hand cuts, a third should be follow-hand cuts and the final third should be two-hand cuts. When swinging with the lead or follow hand, the hitter should choke up for bat control and place the bat flat at the tip of his shoulder. Lead-hands cuts will emphasize that the swing is powered by the rotation of the hips and body not by the arms and shoulders. I place a lot of emphasis on lead-hand cuts at contact point three because this emphasizes letting the ball get deep, staying closed and driving the ball the other way. It is easy to learn to pull the ball but hard to learn to stay back, let the ball get deep, and drive it the other way.
Tee work is very boring for most younger players. I told my players to envision a Major League pitcher in the tarp and pretend to be their favorite hitter. I also advise them to announce the game in order to "bring it to life." This really puts the fun in tee work and increases your child's chance of success.
(Jon Doyle is a former NCAA All-American baseball player who now works as strength and conditioning specialist. For more tips check out www.baseballtrainingsecrets.com)
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