What is Tee Ball?
Tee ball is a simplified version of baseball designed for kids and beginners. In tee ball the ultimate goal is to score more runs than the other team. However, rather than focus on competition, the focus should be on giving young players a fun and memorable experience.
Jerry Sacharski was one of the leaders in developing and popularizing tee ball. He believed that by removing pitching and hitting the live ball, kids would be more inclined to continue playing. Many kids had been frustrated with hitting the live ball and quit after a short time. Sacharski initially called tee ball "pee-wee baseball" and debuted it in 1956.
Tee ball is played on a grass field with a dirt infield, a small scale version of a baseball field. This type of field will have an infield and outfield that are easy to tell apart. Fields like this may be difficult to find, so tee ball may be played anywhere that has space for 4 bases and all participants.
Tee Ball Equipment
Tee ball requires all of the same equipment as baseball. Players need gloves, bats, uniforms, and cleats. A key piece of equipment that is unique to tee ball is the tee itself. Other shared equipment required to play would include bases and a field.
Here is the essential tee ball equipment you should have:
The overall goal of tee ball is to learn about the game of baseball, improve skills as a player, and win games. As a team, the goal is to win each game. The team with the most runs at the end of the game wins. Runs are scored when a player touches all four bases (1st Base, 2nd Base, 3rd Base, and Home Plate) in order. First the player must get to first base by getting a hit. As an individual player, objectives include catching fly balls, fielding ground balls, making accurate throws, and making solid contact while hitting.
Rules and Regulations
Tee ball is played between two teams of equal size. Often tee ball games have 5 to 7 players on the field at a time. Although tee ball follows the style of baseball, many tee ball rules are different. While hitting, players are required to hit off of a tee, have unlimited swing attempts, and get an opportunity to bat each inning. In the field, player's positions are not as specific as in advanced baseball. When running the bases, runners are slightly more limited.
Here are the most important tee ball rules you should know:
- Batters hit off of a stationary tee.
- A player is considered out in a number of scenarios:
- The runner is tagged by a player carrying a live baseball.
- A player with the ball stands on the base before the runner is able to reach it.
- The ball hit off the tee is caught before ever hitting the ground.
- The pitcher does not actually pitch, but instead fields the area where the pitcher would be positioned.
- The catcher does not play the catcher position as it is played in advanced baseball. The catcher is just there to field balls hit short and to defend home plate.
- Runners are required to only advance one base once the ball is in the air. For example, if a runner is running to third while the outfielder throws the ball in, the runner must stop at third.
Tee ball is all about having fun and learning the basics of baseball. As a result, there is not too much strategy at play. Coaches should focus on getting all of the players equal playing time and making sure everyone is enjoying the game.
Here is the common lingo and slang in tee ball:
- Base: With 4 on the field, baserunners are required to touch all 4 in order to score.
- Baserunner: A player who is running from base to base.
- Blue: The umpire
- Fair Ball: A ball that is hit into fair territory by the batter.
- Foul Ball: A ball hit out of fair territory, outside of the white lines down the sides of the field.
- Fielder: A player that is on the defensive side of the ball.
- Fly Ball: A ball hit into the air, typically to the outfield.
- Ground Ball: A ball hit that quickly makes contact with the ground and stays close to the ground as it moves.
- Out: A player is tagged, forced, or their fly ball is caught.
There is no professional tee ball league, but the sport is a starting point for many baseball players. It is likely that many MLB or other professional players started out playing tee ball themselves. Tee ball is typically played by children between the ages of 4 and 7. Tee ball is used as a tool to introduce kids to baseball in a way that is very safe. Players may also be adults either looking to practice baseball or simply have a low stress game with their friends.
As described earlier, tee ball is a simplified version of baseball that is played by children or beginner players. As a result, the gameplay is less smooth and more about making sure the players are having a good time.
Each inning every player gets a chance to hit. Typically the number of players on each team defines how many innings will be played, giving each player a chance to lead off for their team.
There are usually between 5 to 7 players on each team. As long as the teams stay even, more players can be added.
What is the biggest difference between tee ball and baseball?
In tee ball players hit off of a stationary tee. In baseball, the opposing team has a pitcher throwing to the batter. There are many other differences, but this is the most distinct.
What do catchers and pitchers do in tee ball?
Although these positions maintain their names, these players have the same role as every other player on the field. Catchers stand a safe distance away from the batter and then field the area near home plate. They also catch balls thrown in that direction. Pitchers field the area that a pitcher typically would.