A Guide to Tee Work
Incorporate this simple, yet effective, tee work routine from Albert “The Machine” Pujols into your practice routine.
We’ve spoken to two of the biggest hitters from baseball and softball recently: Albert “The Machine” Pujols (baseball) and Amanda Lorenz (softball).
Want to know what both of them recommended?
Tee work—and lots of it!
Anyone wanting to improve their hitting should check out both videos. Whether you play baseball or softball, you’re bound to learn something of value from each.
Like many others regarding tee work Pujols and Lorenz also have a slightly different view and approach to hitting off the tee. However, they both agree that when done with a well thought out, intentional plan, this form of batting training is a valuable addition for players of any level.
Read about Lorenz’s lesson on hitting from the tee here. We’ll examine what Pujols has to say on the subject in a moment.
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But now, let’s get back to Pujols and his tee work routine.
A Winning Routine
When a hitter like Albert Pujols offers to share part of his training routine, you should take note.
With over 20 years in the Major League (and still counting) and a staggering list of awards and records, Pujols certainly has wisdom to impart.
He shares everything about his tee work routine in the video, detailing the entire regime, plus giving overall pointers along the way.
We’ll start with an outline of Pujols’ routine, before looking at some of his key overall takeaways for tee work.
Work Your Swing from All Parts of the Plate
The structure of Pujols’ tee work routine is quite simple. It involves taking a set amount of swings with the tee in several different positions.
Starting with the tee in the outside corner of the plate, Pujols starts working on 10 - 15 swings from the outside.
With each swing, he’s taking a good, strong position, and then aiming for a solid line drive to right field.
He advises to “really stay inside the ball” and try to avoid high flyballs—for Pujols, a flyball means you’re out. He likes to do tee work in the cage, as he knows that if the ball hits the top of the net it’s too high.
Next, move the tee to the middle of the plate—then take 10 - 15 more swings.
Just like the outside drills, stay inside the ball and aim for solid line drives.
With the tee inside of the plate, Pujols recommends cutting back to 5 - 6 swings.
Pujols maintains his same position in the box for these inside swings, meaning his body is now very close to the ball. This, combined with the fact that he's focusing even more on staying inside the ball, means swinging from here can put a lot of stress on the lower back—that’s the reason for the reduced number of swings from the inside.
In hitting the inside pitch, Pujols explains how sometimes in a game, the batter will pull a shot down to left field from this position. The challenge here, he states, is “being able to hit the ball fair”. According to Pujols, the only way to do this is by “staying inside the baseball and really releasing after you make contact.”
Pujols finishes this set by returning to the outside for 10 - 15 more swings.
This pattern of finishing on a strength is used by Amanda Lorenz as well. Since both athletes use tee work to set their swing for the day, it makes sense to finish in a good rhythm on their strength—then carry this through to the rest of practice or the game.
There is one more drill Pujols adds to his routine—hitting off a lower tee.
In Pujols’ words, “I like to bring the tee real low. If I’m facing a guy that throws a good sinker, practicing this position is the only way I’m going to be able to hit that low pitch—and elevate it.”
Pujols stresses the need to elevate the ball from this position, stating “I can hit a low groundball all day. But I want to be able to elevate that ball.”
How does he do that?
In the video, Pujols demonstrates that by getting his back knee down and finishing his swing off strong, he manages to elevate the ball from the lower tee position.
Focus on Making Every Swing Great
So far, Pujols has made his tee work routine sound like a dream.
Set your tee up, get 10 or so good hits in from each position, and then your swing’s set for the day. Now just go on and kill it at practice or the game, right?
Well, if your tee work doesn’t always run that smoothly, you’re not alone.
Everybody takes a bad swing sometimes—even Pujols. And he addresses what to do when (not if) this happens in the video.
Pujols states, “When I take a couple of bad swings—I just back out—and really think about what I’m working on, and get back into that routine.”
He cautions against approaching tee work as a numbers game, hacking away at the ball until you get a couple of good hits in. Pujols reminds us to slow down and focus on making every swing great.
Even after he gets a couple of good swings in a row, Pujols repeats this routine of stepping away from the plate for a few moments. He states to himself, “Repeat that swing, repeat that swing”—then steps back up to the plate and tries to do just that.
This level of intentionality in practice is also recommended by Amanda Lorenz in her video—Hitting Off The Tee.
Both Pujols and Lorenz use tee work as a way to refine and ingrain good hitting mechanics—to carry these through the rest of the day, whether that includes practice or a game.
Pujols uses an interesting approach to making tee work more engaging, which is similar to a strategy we’ve heard Jennie Finch talk about before.
Finch calls it “creating a game within the game”. Whereas Pujols describes it as, “A little game I play in the back of my mind.”
In both cases, the athletes are making up an additional “mini-game” that they incorporate into practice to improve motivation and focus.
To really narrow in on his goal of getting inside the ball to hit nice line drives from every angle, Pujols uses mental imagery to imagine that every time his hit is high—for him, that's a flyball and he’s caught out.
These kinds of mental games are a great strategy you can use to enhance any part of your practice.
If you’ve enjoyed this article, make sure to hear over to the Versus website or download the app and sign up. You’ll get full access to all of Albert Pujols’ exclusive skills and mindset training videos, plus loads more from other elite athletes and expert coaches.
To finish off, here’s a quick overview of Pujols’ tee work routine, plus the three main takeaways from his video.
Albert Pujols’ Tee Work Routine
Recommended number of swings with tee at each position on the plate.
- Outside | 10 - 15 swings
- Middle | 10 - 15 swings
- Inside | 5 - 6 swings
- Outside | 10 - 15 swings
- Low Tee | Athlete’s discretion
- Stay inside the ball
- Work your swing from all parts of the plate
- Focus on making every swing great
- Improving your Swing through Soft/Front Toss
- Dialing in your Tee Work like a Pro
- The Power of Routines
- How to Battle Fear and Anxiety
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