“My father taught me that the only way you can make good at anything is to practice, and then practice some more.” — Pete Rose, former Cinncinati Reds player
Students must do their homework in order to improve. Homework assignments will typically require access to certain types of training equipment. Below is a list of equipment students will need to perform the assigned drills.
- Batting tee (required) – A batting tee is essential for all the hitting drills. The tee should have a flexible rubber top to hold the ball. The flexible top will allow the bat to hit the ball without interference. I absolutely do not recommend the traditional black rubber tees with the hard inflexible tops. The tee can be an inexpensive portable or more expensive professional. A portable travel tee ($30) will work just fine (although they may not be real durable). Professional tees ($79-$129) like Tanner, Jugs, and Eli’s Swingback are also popular.
- Ball (required) – A ball or round object is needed to swing at. A plastic ball (like a Wiffle ball) is highly recommended because it will not deflect the bat path on contact (particularly for younger batters). This allows the player to feel the power V and follow through positions. A plastic ball is also less likely than a hardball to break anything. The plastic ball or round object can be baseball or golf ball size. Lightweight balls like the Total Control YH74 are also recommended. You can even use a sock rolled into a ball if you want to swing inside the house.
- Practice net (recommended) – A 7’x7′ practice net ($79-$149) helps contain the batted balls.
- SwingAway (nice luxury) – The SwingAway ($199) is like a batting tee, but the ball is attached to bungee cables. The SwingAway automatically resets the ball for the player to hit after every swing.
All drills will require a batting tee. A batting tee station can be set up anywhere you can swing a bat safely. If you use a baseball, then a practice net will be required. With a plastic ball, it is much easier to set up a hitting tee station in a garage, basement, or even large room. Hitting the plastic ball into a practice net or cloth sheet will keep it from bouncing around. A rolled up sock is also a good idea if you do not have net or sheet to contain a ball. If you have room for a SwingAway and want to make that investment, then it solves the problem of containing the ball.
- TAP Baseball Training Sock (required) – The Training Sock ($29.95) allows players to practice pitching and throwing anywhere there is room to complete the full motion. The sock keeps the ball contained after the release. Moreover, it helps the arm follow through properly.
- TAP Connection Ball (one or two may be required) – Connection Balls ($8.95) are used to correct inefficiencies and disconnections in the throwing motion of the arm.
I typically keep some Training Socks and Connection Balls on hand and will sell them for cost. You can also click on the Oates Specialties banner below to buy these and other TAP products.