You may spend all day knocking balls off a batting tee, but if you are not swinging properly, it's a waste of time. Unless, of course, you are practicing with Instructo-Swing. This device, which is manufactured by Did You Sports and uses patented "good habit bars," is part batting tee, part hitting coach. Made of steel tubing, with a weighted base for stability, it looks a bit like a section of a jungle gym. The batter takes a stance and swings at a ball that rests on a batting tee, which is positioned at the open end of a U-shaped arm designed to restrict a batter's swing. By not allowing clean contact with the ball unless the bat moves along the proper swing plane, Instructo-Swing singles out a variety of sins. For instance, your bat will clank into one of the bars if you drop your hands and swing in an uppercut or if you don't properly rotate your hips. But Instructo-Swing does not tell you what mistakes you are making. You have to figure that out yourself. Repetition allows you to groove your swing.
Instructo-Swing can be used by righties and lefties, Little Leaguers and grown-ups (the height is adjustable), baseball players and softball players. Ken Griffey Jr. and Dot Richardson both use it. Instructo-Swing may become popular with high school and college programs, but it's light (30 pounds) and affordable enough ($199) to appeal to individuals. Batter up!