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Vision Training off the Tee

  • by Coach Ross
  • 2 min read

Anyone who engages in an activity that requires a blunt instrument applying direct mechanical force to an object (cavemen included) suffers from the same temptation - you can't wait to see what you hit. As for those moments when our impulses get the best of us? Well, we've heard it all before. 

“Don’t pull your head. Keep your eye on the ball. What are you looking at ‘Meat’?“

It’s only natural for an athlete to look at the results of their work. The only problem, that instinct is very counterproductive. For best results, an athlete must develop the muscle memory to watch the ball all the way to the point of contact. This is a seemingly juvenile idea to conceptualize, yet athletes of all ages, in multiple sports, struggle with this concept. 

BetterBat Skinny Barell BatOne drill that will help develop this essential good habit, is the vision training off the tee drill. In this particular exercise the pupil will move the tee to the center of the strike zone (right down the pipe) and take half swing, preferably with a BetterBat Skinny Barrel Training Bat. For the purpose of this drill and forever again in any swing, maintain a balanced base and keep your eyes on the ball to contact. Once bat meets ball, the athlete’s focus should maintain on the top of the tee (where the ball was previously located) while they complete the swing with a long and beautiful follow through.  Keep in mind that you are not to exaggerate this concept and bury your head, this will only lead to bad habits, but you are keeping your eyes down through contact. 

This drill is good every single time you ever hit off a tee and is beneficial for athletes of all ages, particularly for a player who is slumping. Sometimes all it takes is getting back to basics and seeing the bat hit the ball, over and over again… and voila - slump busted! Another thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need not take full swings all of the time. In fact, for the purposes of this drill, only take half swings. And if you really want to get weird, feel free to knock the tee down by missing the ball by a foot or more - on purpose! Most hitters will never completely conquer their desire to watch the ball fly off the bat. After all, it's probably one huge reason why we all get into this sport. Hitting is fun! Until it’s not. In order for hitting to remain enjoyable (through success) it is essential that a hitter has this basic fundamental finely tuned.

A hitter can retire this drill from their repertoire when they have fully committed to the concept. In other words, when you no longer watch the flight path of the ball during any of your batting practice or training, then you are ready.  However, until that day, be better than your ancestors (the aforementioned caveman) - be calm, patient and take ownership of your vision. Once the ball has settled in for a base hit, then you can enjoy your work on the base paths, in the dugout and in the box score the next day.