Aaron Judge Shares His FULL Pregame Hitting Routine


With his humble demeanor, you’d almost never know that Aaron Judge is a 5x All Star, AL homerun record holder, and has signed a 9 year contract worth $360M.

In a gem that didn’t get nearly enough views, Judge shared his FULL pregame hitting routine.  He gave away all the goodies… his thought processes, his favorite drill.  You’ll find all of that, including the original video, below.

Aaron Judge’s Pregame Hitting Routine

Like many other Major League baseball players, Judge’s pregame hitting routine consists of:

  1. Tee work
  2. Side toss
  3. Front toss (Includes the Hang Drill, Details Below)
  4. Batting Practice

Points of Focus

Below are some of his main points of emphasis during each of those stages and throughout his pre-game preparation:

  1. Pre-Game Routine: Judge’s pre-game routine is focused on simplicity. He starts with tee work to feel his body and moves, ensuring that his mechanics are in order.
  2. Tee Work: Judge uses his batting tee work to fine-tune his swing. He adjusts the tee’s position to simulate different pitch locations. He emphasizes keeping a consistent approach, whether trying to hit the second baseman’s head or sending a line drive into the bullpen.
  3. Hand Position – Was a big topic of discussion in this interview.  Aaron Judge discussed the importance of the positioning of his hands and having an open lane for his swing. In the past, his hands used to be positioned further back, which made it challenging to handle inside pitches effectively. To address this, he adjusted his hand positioning and load to create an open lane. This change allowed him to feel comfortable in a stance where he could swing from a position closer to the plate. This adjustment provided him with more control, a quicker reaction time, and an easier path to hit the baseball effectively, particularly on inside pitches.
  4. Maintaining Direction: This is a big one.  Judge stresses that he always aims to keep his first move and direction toward the second baseman, which helps him maintain a clean bat path.
  5. Handling Inside Pitches: This is the desired outcome of combing points 3 and 4 above.  Judge discusses how he adapted his hand positioning and load to better handle inside pitches… but he emphasizes that keeping proper direction toward the 2nd baseman is a big part of being in a position where he can easily go inside out.
  6. Side Toss – 5 or 6 tosses.  Focus is getting barrel in the zone early and keeping good direction.
  7. Front Toss and Variability: When transitioning to front toss, Judge adds variability to his practice, changing pitch location and speeds. He aims to test his balance and readiness for different situations.
  8. Hang Drill: Judge uses a hitting drill during front toss called “the hang drill” to work on his load and feel comfortable being early in his stance. This helps simplify his swing and improve his reaction time during games.

Hang Drill – The final part of Judge’s pregame hitting routine

Overall, Aaron Judge’s routine emphasizes simplicity, adaptability, and maintaining a clean bat path, which are key elements for a successful swing in baseball.

When I see a video like this that SHOULD have 10x the views, I know I need to share it with you… since the odds are you haven’t seen it yet.

In this video, Aaron Judge shares how he gets his $360,000,000 swing dialed in before games.

(That’s not a typo… $360 Million Dollars.  Aaron Judge signed a 9 year / $360,000,000 contract with the New York Yankees, which means an annual average salary of $40M)

In the video, MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds is in the batting cage interviewing Aaron Judge.

This video shows Aaron Judge is a smart hitter, and he keeps a humble attitude that he can continue to learn and get better every day. He also includes some names of other hitters that he watches and learns from.

Transcript of Interview

In the interview transcript below, Harold Reynolds (HR) is in the batting cage interviewing Aaron Judge (Judge).


HR:  “All right, Aaron, thank you, man. Appreciate this. I’ve been wanting to get in the cage with you for a while.”

Judge: “Oh yeah, glad you could make it out, man. We’re gonna have some fun in here.

HR: “So tell me the routine you go through pre-game to get yourself ready for a game.”

pregame hitting routine batting tee

[Judge’s Pre-Game Routine, Part 1 – BATTING TEE]

Judge:“Yeah, my routine is pretty simple, you know. I don’t like to take too many swings before a game, so I kind of get ready for BP. I like to do a little tee work to get things started. For me, that’s the most basic thing. If I’m trying to work on something mechanical with the tee, like the ball’s not moving, so I can really feel my body and feel my moves.

You know, from the tee, I go to a little side toss, make sure my attack angle to the baseball is correct. I like to keep that Oppo approach. Like I’m trying to basically take the hat off the second baseman, or for us at Yankee Stadium, like I want to drill a ball like a line drive into our bullpen. So that kind of keeps my angle right.

And then we go to straight-on flips, and it’s game on.

HR: “All right, you ready? Let’s do it.”

Judge:“Yeah, let’s do it.

HR: “All right, let’s do it.”

[Announcer:  “That ball is gone! Oh, what a shot by Judge against the back of the Yankee bullpen wall!”]

Judge: “For me, drills are all about feel, like what you’re feeling, what do I need to work on today to get me right. And I just kind of start in the middle, I’ll kind of move it away, move it up and in, just kind of simulate different pitches. Maybe I’ll get during the game. You know, this is just an 0-0 fastball that I’m hoping guys throw me.”

[Judge takes a few swings off the batting tee]

HR: “So you just take this ball right back up the middle, huh?”

Judge: “Yeah, just easy. Just something kind of to feel where my body is at for my swings at for the day, and then kind of adjust off of that based on who we’re facing tonight, where my bats, like, last night, what am I feeling right now. So, simple, simple.

HR: “So when you set the tee, you set it clearly out in front. A lot of people set it back too far. Once you get to the point you’re setting it right where it’s at.”

Judge: “You know, I kind of mess around. I kind of like going, like, this little diagonal line. Like, if I’m gonna pitch away, I’m usually maybe going to make contact here, or maybe right out here. So, I just want to have… I’ve done a couple drills with the tee back here. If I’m feeling like I’m getting into the zone too steep, or, you know, I’m not getting in the zone early enough to have plate coverage, then they’ll back some balls up here and just kind of get a good feel for, you know. I see a couple guys, Bo Bichette, I see him in right field. I see him all day, like I feel like he’s catching the ball out of the catcher’s glove, and he’s hitting it over my head.”

[Judge takes more swings off the batting tee]

HR:  “So obviously, you’re not worried about any park being too big for you?”

Judge: [Laughs] “No, not at all.

HR: But I found it interesting, you were talking about you want to take this ball and hit a line drive at the second baseman’s head.”

Judge: “Yeah, basically. If I’m trying to… If you’re playing second base, I’m trying to take your hat off, and I basically want to keep that going into our bullpen at Yankee Stadium right there and running.

So, for me, that keeps me… keeps me down through the baseball.

You know, I watch a lot of Arenado, and, like, it amazes me when he swings, like, the ball’s out this way, but his head and his body are still here at the plate.”

HR:  “I love seeing that.

Judge:  So, for me, my mindset that helps me keep that is like, I’m trying to… It doesn’t matter where the pitch is. If my first move and direction is towards that second baseman, and, like, hitting the line drive through him. I thought it just keeps my bat path clean.”

HR:  “The thing I found is the ball away like that keeps your head there. It’s easier to do that on the ball there, instead of here. We have a tendency to go like this a little bit more.

Judge:  “Exactly. So that’s why for me, the inside pitch, if I’m still keeping that direction in my mindset to the second baseman, and the pitch is in, and I have that mindset, like, I’d rather… I feel like I can get beat, especially playing at home. I can get beat inside or get jammed and still get rewarded with maybe, you know, a home run, a good day, or something over the infield.  But I never want to try to manipulate my swing because sometimes when you manipulate it, that’s when you kind of pull back, you know. You kind of pull off the ball, so just trying to keep it simple and straight through.”

“I noticed last year or two, last couple years, we talked about this, that inside pitch, you started pulling a lot more.”

Judge:  Yeah

HR:  “What did you notice when you started pulling the baseball?”

Judge:  “You know, for me, I more started in my setup, you know. In years past, my hands have kind of been more like they couldn’t see the picture, is what I like to say. I want my hands to see the picture because then I feel like I have an easy lane to go oppo, middle, and inside. So, in years past, my hands would be kind of up back here. You know, then I’d load. Well, dang, how am I going to try to get 97 on the inside corner? Like, I gotta get my hands into a position, then I gotta try to take that swing, and by that time, 97, especially if it’s sinking, moving, riding, it’s by me, you know.

HR:  “So, how did you get to where you were able to move your hands out, you know?”

Judge:  “It’s gotten to a position where I almost, like, in my setup, I want to get in this position to where… If I had to swing from right here, I could. You know, I feel comfortable like, ‘Hey, I could if he quick pitches me or does something.’ I know I can take a swing from this position. So, then now it’s from, ‘Okay, here, I can swing from here.’ So, just lift your leg and…”

HR:  because your load goes right. Now your hands are here. Before, they were back here.

Judge:  “They were back here. So, now I got this open lane to where… Okay, it’s 97 in. Well, just lift your leg and do that again real quick because your load goes right now your hands are here before they were back here they were back here so now I got this open Lane to where okay it’s 97 in well you know my hands are right here I can I can go straight through the baseball and not have to make an extra move or waste any time and you know the game’s speeding up man.”

“Did you find also when you go here you can still be able to go inside out if you need to too, right?”

Judge: 💥👉 Oh 100%, because my mindset is still to that second baseman. I never lost that, you know, so I still am in a good position. I’m still in a loaded position, so I can if I need to fire and go that way I’m I got that all day.”
“Let’s do one more here, and then go to some side toss.”
Side toss - pregame hitting routine

[Judge’s Pre-Game Routine, Part 2 – SIDE TOSS]

HR:  “all right now with the side toss where do you like the ball flip to on side toss?

Judge:  “If you’re just kind of angling towards like kind of my back hip… [Don’t worry] I won’t hit you.  Anywhere any more middle that’s fine.”

HR:  If this is it for me I’m just letting you know it’s been fun.”

It’s the lean back when did you start that you’re throwing at my ankles hell yeah you got to get it up a little bit come on

HR:  “now I’m trying now I’m trying not to get killed.”

Judge:  “that better that’s better tell me where you want it tell me just show me what the video is right right there all right see I’m giving you some rhythms that’s perfect see that’s perfect I wish it was that easy in the game I could just tell the picture like hey like throw it right here my goodness but for this for this drill like having the angle come in here I feel like I gotta it just keeps my direction going towards you yeah like everything is this way like my Barrel is getting in the zone through here it’s just an easy like I do five or six here and then kind of go to my front side I gotta admit I’m kind of scared what you’re doing that because usually if I’m doing I’m throwing that junk if you’re pulling it you’re hitting me let’s do one more one more let me see what you got.”

HR:  “that’s the one right yeah yeah.”

Pregame hitting routine #3 - Front toss

⚠️ Front Toss – Don’t forget your protective screen!  Click here for portable travel i and L screens that you can use anywhere.

[Judge’s Pre-Game Routine, Part 3 – FRONT TOSS]

HR:  all right so now front toss what what do you try to do here?

Judge: Front toss, now I’m adding the variability of where the ball is going to be you know it’s not it’s not sitting on tee for me, it’s not easy side toss is coming into my bat path…  so now just you tossing it wherever I like to go in and out I like to change speeds here

HR:  I can test you now

Judge: yeah let’s see if the T work and the side toss is working

HR:  let’s see what you got.”

HR:  “you can count on me standing behind this screen.”  (⚠️ Front Toss – Don’t forget your protective screen!  Click here for portable travel i and L screens that you can use anywhere.)

HR:  “oh that’s nice right there I’m looking at your hands what you’re talking about

Judge: Yeah just staying in a good spot here to where like I can fire whenever I want.  Like I feel like at times in my career before I was so focused on like my load and like my hands moving and like getting a good stretch that I’d lose that feeling of like being able to swing because there’d be so many times a pitcher come in and be like how do I take that it’s right down the middle but my body knew it wasn’t in a good position to swing from so now no matter what before you even throw it I can swing from here so 97 you know 30 miles an hour on a flip we’re ready to go with the front toss

[Judge’s Pre-Game Routine, Part 4 – Hang Drill]

Judge: To kind of help with my load and feeling comfortable being early I like to do a couple… kind of a hang drill.

Like I basically get in my position where I’m hanging.. I’m on this back side and I kind of go off of you.  Now when you go to toss, that’s when I get into that position and hanging, [waiting, holding that position] — kind of like coaches talk about like that slow and early — like this I’m slow and I’m early in this position. So now if I fast forward to the game like my normal stride, I feel like I have all the time in the world.  I’m like dang!  I was starting right here and really having to hold it and use my you know my back muscles my glutes but now like it just simplifies everything for me.

I’m doing the extreme to bring it down to normal

HR:  And that’s the purpose of a drill right?  Yep, love it all right.”

HR:  “you know the interesting thing about this too is everybody talks about get your foot down right well you’re gonna get it down

Judge: it’s gonna go down I’m not gonna swing like this ain’t gonna swing like that it’s gonna it’s gonna go down eventually that was nice right there yeah one more all right.”

HR:  “Ah that’s the one I wanted I want to see

HR:  you know they hit that one nice, you know you hit that one nice. All right that’s awesome. So that’s the whole routine.”

Judge: yeah that’s it that’s it

HR:  I appreciate your message always thank you always great it’s at work can’t beat it that’s perfect.”

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Avatar für Doug Bernier

Doug Bernier, founder of Pro Baseball Insider.com, debuted in the Major Leagues in 2008 with the Colorado Rockies, and has played professional baseball for 5 organizations (CO Rockies, NY Yankees, PIT Pirates, MN Twins, & TX Rangers) over the past 16 years. He has Major League time at every infield position, and has played every position on the field professionally except for catcher. (You should click to watch this great defensive play by Bernier) Where is he now? After 16 years of playing professionally, Doug retired and took a position as a Major League scout with the Colorado Rockies for 2 years. Currently Doug is the Data and Game Planning Coordinator with the Colorado Rockies


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