Looking for that extra edge this upcoming baseball season? Training aids are a great way to gain a competitive advantage and avoid slumps. To really be effective and improve your performance, a training aid must be able to directly translate to the work you do on the field. (See How to Construct a Baseball Workout.) From heavy bats to hitting tees, a lot of products promise results but end up being cheap plastic. Avoid wasting money with my top five picks in baseball training aids. In my opinion, all competitive baseball players need these in their arsenal to benefit their game.
This is the most basic and essential tool for hitting. Although it comes in different shapes and sizes, a hitting tee is the most effective training aid of them all. Baseball can quickly become a complicated game, so it's refreshing that such a simple training tool can help hitters get their swing on the right path. A tee can be used for countless hitting drills. I recommend using a tee whose height can be adjusted and which can easily be moved to different locations around the plate. Tanner Tees have always proven to be durable options in my opinion. (Struggling at the Plate? Try Easy Hitting Drills and Baseball Hitting Drill For a Balanced Swing.)
Used in a variety of drills, a short bat trainer is great for improving a hitter's bat speed. It works by shortening your swing path, helping you keep your hands inside the ball at contact and reinforcing proper technique. Small bats can also be used with two hands to teach young players proper technique without sacrificing form due to strength and coordination issues.
Flat glove trainers are traditionally used by infielders, but they are valuable for all defensive positions, especially catching and outfield play. They are inexpensive and versatile training tools, suitable not only for high school and college players but also for younger players learning the game. (Read why it's the best tool a baseball athlete can have.)
Although they are a little more expensive, this is a great investment, because it can serve as your own private batting cage. Plus, it's very durable and doesn't require a great deal of space. It's an ideal training tool if you don't have your own stash of baseballs to use. There are a lot of options, but the Solo Hitter doesn't require any additional equipment.
Particularly useful for infielders and catchers, mini baseballs are extremely effective in developing hand speed and quickness. One of my favorite drills with mini balls works with catchers and their receiving skills. The smaller-sized baseballs force the catcher to see the ball in or "stick their nose on it" when receiving a pitch. Ping-Pong balls or whiffle golf balls are inexpensive alternatives.