Through a North Kingstown High School teammate, I recently learned of the passing of one of my baseball mentors, John Clark. Coach Clark was the Varsity Head Baseball Coach my freshman and sophomore years at NKHS. And although I did not play Varsity my first two years, I did have an opportunity to work with Coach Clark on a regular basis. He helped redefine my swing that would propel me to play my Junior and Senior years on Varsity, hit .400 my Senior year, play into college, and for years to follow post-college. Two things Coach Clark advised me to do to change my swing – violently throw the bat at the ball and get a batting tee. “You got a dog?” he asked me standing tall over me, never clean shaven but always with a big smile on his face. “Hit a hundred balls off a tee to your dog, then hit another hundred against the backstop, then hit another hundred until you can drive the ball with authority to all fields.” Coach John Clark, one of the most impressive baseball minds I have ever come across, Rest In Peace.
Like Coach Clark, I love talking about hitting and how to use good practices when it comes to developing skills at a young age. The batting tee is just one of many developmental tools a coach and hitter can use to get better at hitting. And with Tee Ball season just a few months away, I wanted to hear from you, the Rhode Island baseball coach, about how to use a batting tee. Feel free to comment on my social media pages or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will put together an article of your answers and publish it here and share it on social media. And feel free to share your contact information so I can give your school, your facility, your organization a plug. Thanks.
Here are a few questions that may inspire you to answer:
- How high should you position the baseball or tennis ball?
- How far away should the hitter stand?
- Where the ball lands… what does that tell you as a coach?
- If a right handed batter swings and the ball lands in right field, what does that mean?
- If a left handed batter swings and the ball lands in right field, what does that mean?
- Should you use a heavier bat (than normal) during your batting tee session?
I look forward to your answers and hope to share them with coaches of all abilities.