How can you consistently perform at your best every day? It all starts in the Preparation.
by Lincoln Hochmuth
Pre-game routines are a very important and often overlooked part of preparing for competition. Giving youth pitchers structure when preparing for a game is something that can pay off for them for the rest of their careers. As arm injuries continue to rise, it is something that needs to be attacked from the ground up. At the youth level, most players don’t feel a need to warm-up. Their bodies are loose and ready for competition without much activity. They may not feel what picking up a baseball and throwing with no warm-up is doing to their bodies, but over time it will more than likely affect them in a major way. There are multiple benefits of having a structured pre-game routine.
This is the obvious one, but pre-game routines physically prepare pitchers for competition. Increasing the player’s heart rate and blood flow gets muscles, ligaments, and joints ready to accept the force that will be put on them in a game. We want to move joints through full ranges of motion so our players can naturally get into the mechanical positions that the game asks them to. Dynamic movements are prefered over static stretches in a pre-game setting. Allotting time for short breaks in between exercises can help to gradually build physical preparedness and avoid fatigue. Overall, the goal is to progress the players from a passive state to an active state.
This is the more underrated benefit of a pre-game routine. When players complete a consistent, structured routine it makes them feel prepared for the game. This allows the players to be more confident and play freely. At any level, players have good and bad days. On the mound, command and the pitcher’s “stuff” can be day to day. Some days they have it, some days they don’t. Having a good pre-game structure can aid in leveling out these ebbs and flows and produce more consistency. Rushing to get the player’s arm loose so he can get to the bullpen in time before the game doesn’t allow him to gradually build focus and competitive energy. It can be hard for baseball players at any level to quickly clear their minds and shift to a competitive state. Having a schedule for the routine allows the player to gradually build focus and release the anxiety that comes with competition. Especially in high pressure situations, routines can remind a player that he’s done this before, and even though the environment may be different, their job is the same.
Having a consistent structure for players to follow will help them to buy in and believe that they are as prepared as possible. Keep in mind, it is a warm-up not a workout. Finding the sweet spot between getting loose and wearing players out is very important. Keep the routine concise, focused, and avoid making it such a process that players dread going through it. Pre-game warm-up routines are something that can truly give your team a head start on the competition.
Dynamic Warm-up: 20 yards per exercise.
- Jog down and back.
- High Knees/Butt Kicks
- Carioca down and back.
- Lunge and Twist/Spidermans
- Knee Hugs/Quad Pulls
- Open the Gate/Close the Gate
- Jog down, build up to a sprint back.
Arm Warm Up: 15 seconds per exercise.
- Alternating Arm Swings
- Reach across, both arms
- Over the top and lean, both sides
- Fingers up forearm stretch
- High Fives
- Low to High Hugs
- Chest Fly
- Reverse Fly
- Mid Row
- High Row
- Internal Rotation at side
- External Rotation at side
- Tricep Extensions
- Throws with the band on throwing arm.
Interested in learning more about proper warm-up routines for your practice or for pitchers? Email Lincoln Hochmuth at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interested in seeing how Starters makes it a priority for all of our athletes and teams to go through important pregame routines and warm-ups? Tryout for our Spring Club Teams!
Playing with Starters in the spring is the perfect way for our youth athletes to get themselves in midseason form before their association season (and tryouts) even start! Additionally, our Spring Club serves as an ideal opportunity for our athletes to learn the right way to prepare for both games and practices in order to ensure that you perform at your best every time you step onto the field or in a cage!
To learn more about Starters Spring Club and the tryouts on February 16th, 2019 please visit our website by clicking here.