Dialing in Your Tee Work
How intentional practice with a tee can help perfect your swing to become a better hitter
What does ‘me time’ look like for one of the biggest hitters in professional softball?
Massage? Sauna? Netflix? A nice meal? Something that doesn’t involve softball?
Well, for Amanda Lorenz—4-time NFCA All-American, Team USA member, and number two overall draft pick in the 2019 National Pro Fastpitch Draft—tee time, is me time!
Lorenz credits mastering hitting off the tee as a key factor in her success and a key component in her becoming one of the best hitters in college and professional softball.
Regardless of whether it’s baseball or softball, learning to hit off the tee is one of the most easily accessible and effective ways to improve a swing - despite what some may argue.
Hitting off the tee requires minimal equipment, no training partner, and when done right, it can yield big results.
If you’re interested in becoming a better hitter, you’re going to want to check out our exclusive training videos on hitting off the tee with Amanda Lorenz and MLB superstar Albert Pujols.
The approach and advice from each athlete are different enough that you will learn something unique from each video. However, the central theme revolves around the multiple benefits of intentional practice with a tee.
Making the Tee Work for You
In this article, we’re going to run through the main guidelines Amanda Lorenz covers in her training video for hitting off the tee.
We’ll translate as much as we can into a written format, but there really is no substitute for watching a hitter like Lorenz perform live.
If you’re interested in this topic, make sure to head over to the Versus website or download the app to sign up.
The training experience available through Versus really is the closest thing to in-person instruction from elite athletes and high-level coaches—without the barriers usually involved in working with them 1:1.
Now, back to Lorenz and hitting off the tee.
If there’s one overall point Amanda makes in the video, it’s that the secret to hitting off the tee—is taking the time to make the tee work for you.
Intentionality is at the core of everything Lorenz does with the tee—from the contact point with the ball, extension, ball flight, body positioning, movement, and the way she attacks the ball—everything has a purpose.
To use her words, Lorenz states, “If I focus on myself. What I’m feeling. How my body position is. How I want to attack the ball. If I’m super intentional about my tee work—I can get a lot of quality work in”.
Let’s jump in, starting with finding your contact point.
Find Your Ideal Contact Point
Lorenz starts on this topic by stating,
“Everybody has a specific spot that they should be making contact with the ball.
Whether that's an outside pitch, middle, or an inside pitch—depending on you, your swing, how tall you are, what kind of bat you use, where you like to stand in the box—this is all going to affect how and where you set up the tee.
"Finding the right contact point specifically for me, is how I get the most out of my swing”.
There’s no magic formula for finding your contact point. It can only be found by putting in the reps with the tee—paying careful attention to every aspect of your setup, swing, and how you impact the ball.
As a guide, before actually hitting—players should set up the tee, load, unload—but stop right at the contact point between bat and ball, to evaluate the contact point.
These three points will help you decide what to do from there:
- If you know where your ideal contact point is and that’s where your bat is landing—go ahead and start hitting.
- If you’re not making contact at your ideal point—adjust, re-set, and try again.
- If you don’t know where your ideal contact point is—it's time to find out. Take a few hits, making sure to evaluate your contact point each time, paying attention to how it impacts the ball.
The main purpose of hitting off the tee is to find your ideal contact point: everything comes back to this. Once you’ve found your ideal contact point, the goal is to put in enough high-quality reps to set your swing right there.
In reality, this is an ongoing process.
No one finds their ideal contact point and lives happily ever after.
Athletes will need to continually put in work with the tee to find, maintain, and reinforce their ideal contact point.
Practice from Every Angle
The beauty of the tee is in how it can be used to practice hitting from all angles.
Lorenz uses the tee a lot to practice hitting right down the middle—but she’ll also set it up for riseball, dropball, outside, and inside.
She states, “Sometimes, I even mess with my body position to prove to myself when I’m in bad spots, I can still impact the ball the way I want to”.
The point of hitting off the tee from all angles comes back to contact point.
And your ideal contact point will depend on the pitch.
Lorenz’s ideal contact point is similar for a middle and outside pitch—but because she likes to hit the inside pitch out front—her contact point (and set up of the tee) changes when she’s working inside.
It’s up to you to experiment when hitting off the tee. Lorenz recommends starting and finishing with your strength, but make sure to work on your weaknesses in between.
Put the Tee in the Right Spot For You
There is no universal ‘right’ spot to set up the tee.
The right spot will depend on your specific factors, like:
- Your swing
- How tall you are
- What kind of bat you’re using
- Where you like to stand in the box
- The type of pitch you’re working on hitting
Don’t be afraid to experiment with putting the tee in different spots to find what works best for you.
Remember, the point of hitting off the tee is to find your ideal contact point in all situations.
You can only do that if you put the tee in the right spot—for you.
When to Incorporate Tee Work
Lorenz also speaks about hitting off the tee in another video with Versus—Finding Your Routines.
For Lorenz, hitting off the tee is the first thing she does for practice—every day.
“Before I hit front toss, before I hit off of the machine, I’ll take around 50 - 100 swings off the tee. I really like to take my time—that’s why I get to practice a little earlier—so I can have my own time with the tee. I can worry about my body position, how my body feels that day. I want to set up my swing”.
We mentioned at the beginning of this article that Lorenz calls tee time, “me time”. And hearing her talk about it, we understand why.
Lorenz uses hitting off the tee as a solitary exercise, to set herself up for a good practice, or a good game.
It’s how she checks in with her body, how she’s moving, how she’s feeling, and how she gets herself centered and ready to perform.
She makes the point that once you understand the basics of hitting off the tee, it’s something that can be utilized by both beginners and elite players to improve.
Being Intentional Is Key
Like most areas of training—your level of intentionality plays a large role in what you get out of hitting off the tee.
If you go in with a plan and clear guidelines around how you’re going to use the tee to get better—it can be a valuable tool that any athlete can add to their practice plan.
Just as intentionally hitting off the tee can set and build on a good swing for the day—hitting off the tee with a sloppy set-up and no clear objective—can ingrain and reinforce bad habits and poor hitting mechanics.
Fortunately, Versus has you covered with everything you need to know about working with the tee.
In addition to Amanda Lorenz’s exclusive training video—with a subscription to Versus—you’ll also get access to a lesson from MLB star hitter Albert Pujols on tee work, plus two masterclasses on hitting from veteran softball head coach Tim Walton.
If you’re serious about becoming a better hitter, Versus is the closest thing available to 1:1 input from the best athletes and coaches in the world—at a fraction of the cost.
Head over to the website or download the app to check out the options for a subscription.
- The Power of Routines
- Building Your Swing Off the Tee
- Why Focusing on Process Over Outcome Matters
- Powerful Ways to Master Failure as an Athlete
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