Baseball Pitcher Warm-Up and Stretching
by Mike Schim
Pitching a baseball game begins long before you even step onto
the pitching mound. It is important to prepare both physically
and mentally for pitching in a game. Below are some mental and
physical steps you can do to prepare for pitching on the day
of the big baseball game.
When you wake up in the morning, begin mentally visualizing
your pitching experience. Start imagining how your pitching
will be that day. While taking your morning shower, think about
how you want your pitching strategy to be. Do you want to throw
many fastballs? Do you want to vary your pitching a lot in the
game? Do you want to try and strike every batter out? Or would
you want to pitch each batter in such a way as to try to get
them to ground out to the infielders on the first pitch? All
of this mental preparation can help visualize how you want to
During the day, conserve your energy and keep thinking about
how you are going to pitch the best game ever. Your positive
attitude will help you win. All of the positive thoughts will
get you very excited about pitching in the game.
When you are getting dressed for the game, keep a clear head
and positive attitude. If you pitching coach gave you advice
on pitching strategy, repeat key concepts in your head. Consider
the strategies for each batter. If you did research on the other
team's players, remind yourself of which batters to pitch fastballs
to, and which batters to throw curveballs to. You don't need
to quiz yourself, but simply review the concepts in your head.
Before going into the pitching bullpen, gently jog around the
field. Get the blood flowing. Gently stretch, and then jog a
little more. It's important to loosen up your arms and your
legs. Your entire body is needed for baseball pitching, so be
sure to warm-up your entire body.
Once you've returned to the bullpen, go to a grassy spot away
from other players and gently stretch your arms and arm joints.
Focus on your shoulders, forearms, wrists, and elbow.
After stretching for about 5 or 10 minutes, find a teammate
to have a simple catch with. Stand about 20 feet apart and simply
throw the ball to each other. There's no need to throw any pitches
at this point. Just throw the ball. Catching and throwing the
ball will actually help you stretch some more before you even
throw a single pitch. After a minute or two, extend the distance
to about 50 feet apart. After a few more minutes of having a
casual game of catch with your teammate, you should start casually
going through the pitching motion. Use your legs in throwing
the ball. Do a casual wind-up and lift your leg a little bit
in the pitch.
Now that you've warmed up, you can start your pitching activities.
Have a teammate, preferably a catcher; assume the catching position
while you throw some practice pitches. Start with a very slow
pitch and practice the pitching motions. Don't worry about speed.
Pay attention to your pitching mechanics.
Once you've thrown about 15 simple pitches while focusing on
the delivery, start to warm-up your pitching aim. Focus on inside
and outside pitching corners. Practice your aim with each of
your pitches. Throw a fastball, curve, change-up, slider, and
Ask your warm-up catcher and another teammate to go to home
plate and practice with you while you stand on the pitcher's
mound. Your practice catcher should assume the catching position,
and your other teammate should stand in the batters box with
a baseball bat in hand. The practice batter should not hit your
practice pitches, but simply stand in the hitting stance and
occasionally swing very lightly at the pitches. All of this
will help you visually prepare for real game pitching.
If you have not already done so, go see your pitching coach
and say hello. Ask any questions that you may have. If you don't
have any questions, review with your pitching coach any pitching
strategies for the game.
Before you enter the game, be sure to go to the bullpen and
throw some more warm-up pitches. Also, throw just a few pitches
at full speed. Don't throw too many, but throw maybe 3 or 4
full speed pitches. If you are not the starting pitcher, be
sure to keep your body warm and loose. And remember to keep
warm and loose in-between innings even when you are the active
And of course, enjoy your pitching experience! After all, that's
why you play baseball...to have fun!