I’ll toss a couple of things out here as I start this post.
- Baseball is awesome.
- Hitting is hard.
I love baseball. I played it as a kid, was coached by my dad, but after high school I drifted away from the sport for awhile. The love affair resumed when my oldest son James stepped onto the field for the first time six years ago. It was the first sport that he truly “connected with” and is still his favorite sport to play (so long, soccer!).
As a parent, it’s an amazing (almost magical) feeling when your kid really connects with a sport. To see them work hard, make breakthroughs–like catching that first fly ball in the outfield–and make contributions towards their team. You see it build their confidence but you also see them learn to struggle with adversity. That’s where this story, and our story with Magic Tee begins.
Struggling at the Plate
In 2015, despite making progress in other aspects of his game, James was struggling with making contact at the plate. Due largely to poor swing habits and swing training, this lack of making contact was discouraging him and leading to a lack of confidence at the plate, which of course, had a “snowball effect,” putting him on the verge of no longer wanting to play. Knowing how much he loved the game, I knew I needed to find a better training tool to help him with this aspect of his game.
Searching for An Answer
My initial attempts to help him work on hitting were focused on more repetition, so I purchased a hitting stick so that he could get in more reps (without breaking windows in our neighborhood). There were at least three major downsides to this solution:
- It required an adult (me) to be around to hold the stick.
- It really didn’t help him address the mechanical problems with his swing.
- The feedback from the tool was ok, but not great because it’s a ball attached to a stick, it didn’t respond like a real ball.
My next attempt was to simply work on hitting with whiffle balls in the backyard. The goal was to produce solid line drive hits and if he hit the ball solidly, it should easily sail into the neighbor's backyard. Off my pitching, he produced a lot of pop-ups and grounders, but not many line drives. More frustration.
The Right Tool = That Magic Moment
Right about this time, Rob and Ryan shared their tee prototype with me, I knew it was exactly what James needed and I joined the team as a founding partner. I quickly asked Rob if I could start using the tee prototype with James. We set it up in the backyard with the same old whiffle ball we had been using and he ripped the first ball clean over the neighbors fence!
James couldn’t believe it. His swing still had a long way to go, but I could tell his mechanics were substantially better hitting from the Magic Tee. Due to its suspension design, he saw the ball differently and was naturally adjusting his swing to a more proper swing path.
Magic Tee + The Wizard: The Story Continues
In addition to further repetitions on the Magic Tee at home, we’ve been combining the natural training that the tee provides with additional coaching from Ryan, our resident batting wizard. Very quickly Ryan was able to diagnose areas for improvement and within an hour or so, James was reaping the benefit of a better hitting tool and great coaching! Here's a quick video recap of the experience.
James’ story will continue and Spring will be here before we know it. We’re sure there are many more “James-types” out there––people looking to take their hitting game to the next level, no matter the starting point. And they all deserve the best training tool possible.
With Magic Tee, this is the exact kind of hitting magic we want to bring to kids, parents, and coaches everywhere.