When it comes to honing baseball skills, many former youth players, community leaguers and even major league player started at the same place: Lining up a swing at baseball batting tees. When it comes to teaching the littlest players how to handle a bat, these tools are indispensable. Even seasoned players use them now and again. And while you are busy running drills with your players, it may be worth considering to add in a few tee drills as well to work on batting form and precision.
But how do you know you are getting the right tee for your team or player? Do you really need tees, anyway?
Short answer: yes, you need a good baseball batting tee. Let’s talk about why before we get into our top five picks.
Benefits of a Quality Batting Tee
Baseball batting tees have a laundry list of benefits, but let’s go by age and take a look at how a tee can help every level of player, from beginner to advanced.
These little girls and guys are usually between 4 and 6, and this may be the first time they’ve ever had a bat in their hands. Mom and Dad are watching, they are on a team for the first time. It’s a lot of pressure for a little kid. It probably isn’t the best time to also have a ball flying at them.
A tee gives the youngest players a predictable, stable environment to practice swinging and making contact with the ball. It allows a coach or parent to help the child with the very basics, like holding the bat properly and good swing technique.
For the young players, a tee is an absolute must. Every now and again, a coach will encounter a child at this level who hits with natural skill. The vast majority of young players, however, will require the extra stability a tee provides.
Intermediate players, from about age 7 on up to high school can benefit from baseball batting tees. Using a tee at this level takes the beginner benefits and ramps them up to a higher level.
Using a tee, an intermediate player can work on form, build confidence, and practice independently when mom or dad can’t pitch for hours on end. This has the added benefit of giving kids a tool that helps them take responsibility for their own practice time.
This level is for the college-age and community league players. These people know how to hit a ball, they’ve been playing for years, so why a tee? Honestly, because a tee provides unparalleled control to help tweak and improve a swing on the micro level. The adjustable height and positioning help a player anticipate pitch types and prepare for them.
And, just like for intermediate players, when no one is around to pitch a ball for several hours, a tee offers the ability to practice regardless.
A Few Considerations: What to Look for Before Buying a Batting Tee
All baseball batting tees are not created equal. You need to look at a few things to make sure you are getting the best tee possible.
- Craftsmanship – Ensure that the materials are quality and the workmanship sturdy and well-done.
- Durability – How many bats will hit this tee? How many players will it have to serve? A good tee needs to stand up to the constant abuse of practice and play.
- Travel – Worthiness – Tees aren’t meant to stay stationary. A good one should break down well and go back together easily.
Top 5 Batting Baseball Tees of 2017
So now that you know why you need one, which one do you need? Here are our five top picks.
We’re starting off fancy on our list today, but only because the MetroVac is one of the best tees available. The MetroVac suspends the ball in the air, allowing the stability of a tee without the resistance of actually hitting a stationary object with a bat.
This makes it a perfect tee for very young beginners as they practice aiming and keeping their eye on the ball. Ths tee is at a slightly higher price point that the others on this list, but you definitely get what you pay for with the MetroVac.
2. Tanner Tees
The Tanner tee is one of the more expensive tees on the list, at about $80 US, but it’s also one of those situations where you get what you pay for. It is lightweight for easy travel, but its sturdy construction means it will continue to hold up after thousands of hits. The Tanners also feature a patented tip design, made specifically to ensure that the player feels the ball when they make contact, rather than the tee.
This guy is a well-known staple on the tee-ball field, and for good reason. It’s simple, sturdy design helps it hold up against thousands of hits, and it travels like a dream. Adjustment is a snap with the MacGregor, making it ideal for families or groups with multiple age players. In addition, it’s sturdy construction ensures that it will stand up to the constant beating of baseball bats.
This tee is super flexible, ensuring that the tee stays upright after each hit. It has a great adjustable range of 30 to 34 inches, but may be a bit high for the very beginning players. Like all the tees on our list, the Franklin breaks down easily and travels well. But best of all, the Franklin is part of a larger line that has tees for every group imaginable, at a very reasonable price point.
5. Jugs 5-Point
The only 5-point tee on our list, the Jugs 5-point comes with two separate tubes of different heights. The Jugs is a great option for helping players learn to hit in a variety of positions and for a variety of pitch styles.
The entire unit breaks down easy and travels well. It also stands up well against hit after hit. It also comes with a 20-page drill book to work on fundamentals and swing performance. Make sure you let us know which tee worked best for you and your team!