Baseball Magazine

Pitchers: Pre-game Routine (Part 1)

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Pitchers: Pre-game routine (Part 1)

Two MLB starters.  Both have a personalized
routine that gets them fully prepared to be
100% at the first pitch of the game.
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Going into his fifth start of this 2011 season, Cincinnatti Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez had a 1st inning ERA of 29.25.  Prior to his latest start, the announcers talked quite a bit about what causes pitchers to have so much difficulty in the first inning.  They also mentioned that the pitching coach had been working with him on some adjustments to his pre-game routine both physically and mentally.   This problem with Volquez is actually more common among starting pitchers than a lot of fans realize.  This phenomena is especially true at the high school level mainly because many pitchers do not warm up properly.   There are a couple times during the course of a game when pitchers are at their most vulnerable.  The first inning is usually at the top of that list.  However, with a few adjustments and a little more focus during their pre-game routines, many pitchers can eliminate or at least minimize the vulnerability that comes with not being fully prepared to pitch.  Unfortunately, many losses occur because of what happens in the first couple innings of games.
Below is a pre-game schedule for a starting pitcher in a game that starts at 3:45pm (our start times).  A pitcher certainly can adjust the times to fit any game time if needed.  Below the schedule are some additional thoughts on the process.
3:05 - 3:15            
  • Jog to centerfield and back
  • Sprints – start with some short sprints (90 ft) and finish with a couple long ones (150’)
  • Dynamic stretching of the arm and legs

3:15 – 3:25     
  • Short toss – play catch to loosen the arm 
  • Long toss – Gradually move back to about 90-100 feet (all line-drive throws, no big arcs)

3:25 – 3:40           
  • 45’ toss – catcher down.  Working on location using full mechanics
  • 75’ toss – gradually work back to 75’ toss, still with catcher down, working on location, full mechanics
  • On mound –  throwing routine (this will be tomorrow's post!)

3:40 - 3:45            
  • Go to the bench, drink some water, put a jacket on, rest, and focus

Pre-Game Routine Notes:

  • The days of grabbing a ball and a catcher and throwing for 5 minutes before game time ended in Little League.  The 40 minute routine above allows a pitcher to get fully prepared both physically and mentally before starting the game.
  • Whether a pitcher is throwing short toss, long toss, or on the mound, he is always focusing on his command and throwing to a location.
  • Whenever a pitcher is using his full set of mechanics he should be throwing to a catcher who is squatting down.  Play catch (without full mechanics) with the catcher standing but when you are pitching (using mechanics) he gets down.  This gets the body used to throwing downhill in the lower part of the strike zone.  Pitching to a standing catcher promotes a pitch that is chest high which is a BALL in every high school league on Earth.
  • The routine above allows pitchers to work on multiple things at the same time which saves pitches and energy.  He is never just throwing.  When he throws he is loosening his arm, focussing on location and command, reminding his body of the proper mechanics and release point, and he is throwing downhill.  Only focusing on one of those things at a time considerably lengthens the warm-up process.
  • Finally, he wraps up his routine with NO MORE THAN 5 -10 minutes before game time.  Anything more and the pitcher's arm and body starts to cool down too much.  This is especially true if he is on the away team that bats first.  Proper timing is a must.
  • Every pitcher is different so the routine and timing above can be tweaked to fit the needs of each unique pitcher.  The key point is to develop some kind of a routine that allows you to be prepared and be at your best from the first pitch of the game.

Tomorrow:  Part 2 - Pre-game pitching routine - pitch by pitch!

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Thomas Land | Drayton Manor Park

    Thomas Land Drayton Manor Park

    If living near a theme park was in your criteria for buying a house, then our new house would certainly meet that need. Living about a 3 minute drive from... Read more

    The 25 September 2018 by   Thefoodiecoupleblog
  • Your Eye Drops Can Kill You

    Your Drops Kill

    Anything can be a poison, it all depends on the dose. This includes the drops you use to clear your eyes. The active, and dangerous, ingredient in many of... Read more

    The 25 September 2018 by   Dplylemd
  • The Wood Brothers: "River Takes the Town" & "Happiness Jones" Dutch TV Live...

    Wood Brothers: "River Takes Town" "Happiness Jones" Dutch Live Videos

    Watch roots trio The Wood Brothers perform River Takes the Town and Happiness Jones two tracks from their latest album One Drop Of Truth for Dutch music show... Read more

    The 25 September 2018 by   Hctf
  • Opera Review: Falling Down

    Opera Review: Falling Down

    The Met opens with a disastrous Samson et Dalila. by Paul J. Pelkonen A world of toil: Robert Alagna does hard time in Samson et Dalila. Photo by Ken Howard ©... Read more

    The 25 September 2018 by   Superconductor
  • Could Neanderthals Speak? Implications of FOXP2

    FOXP2 is one of the most famous genes out there; notable for containing two mutations linked to language in humans. These mutations are also in Neanderthals,... Read more

    The 25 September 2018 by   Reprieve
  • Diet Doctor Podcast #3 – Dr. Jeffry Gerber and Ivor Cummins

    Ivor Cummins: Great to be here, Bret. Dr. Jeffry Gerber: Thanks, Bret. Bret: The first thing I want to talk to you about is I learned from you guys you have t... Read more

    The 25 September 2018 by   Dietdoctor
  • North American B-25J Mitchell

    North American B-25J Mitchell

    @ Lancaster, CA March 2018 A B-25 makes a photo pass/bomb run during the the LA County Airshow.  This Mitchell, “Photo Fanny”, is part of the Planes of Fame... Read more

    The 25 September 2018 by   Htam