Baseball practice is the perfect time to get your pitcher and other players warmed up and ready to condition the arm for more successful pitches and throws.
Today we’ll be dealing with stretches and a mechanical pitching drill to help you throw the baseball consistently for strikes and help you take less wear and tear on your arm, making you a more successful pitcher.
Warming Up the Body During Baseball Practice
Before we even pick up a ball for baseball practice, the first thing we need to make sure we do is properly warm up our bodies. It’s never a good idea for your players to throw in lieu of actually warming up.
Following are some great things you can do to warm up the body and prepare it for baseball practice or a game:
- Run – When you have your players run, have them run with the baseball in their hand. This helps your players to get a feel for the ball and to get more comfortable with holding it.
- Pinch the shoulder stretch – Take the right arm across the chest and grab it, concentrating on stretching the rotator. Another great stretch similar to this one is to take the arm behind the back, pull the elbow down, and try to stretch as far down as you can. Then switch to the left side and do the same thing.
- Forearm stretch – Put out your hand with your fingers facing up and pull the fingers back. Switch and stretch the other forearm.
- Neck stretch – Take your right arm and put it behind your back. Pull your right arm to your left and pull your head to the left to get it stretched. Then switch to the other side.
- Back and torso stretch – Spread your feet a little bit wider than shoulder width. Rotate to the right and take your right elbow and put it outside your left knee. Also be sure to rotate to the left. This helps to stretch not only your back and torso but also your lower hamstring.
- Resistance stretch – This stretch involves two players helping each other out. If you’re helping your fellow player, you’ll pull his arm up and have your fellow player hold his arm in an “L” shape. Ask him to gently pull forward while you apply some resistance. He’ll not only be stretching, but he’ll also be working on strengthening with this stretch.
- Pretzel stretch – Sit down and put your right leg over your left. Now hook your right foot under your left leg and pull your body the opposite way, to the left, while looking behind you. You’ll get a great twist, which will help you to stretch out your back. Be sure to do the pretzel stretch on both sides.
- Groin stretch – Pull your feet up under you, and pull your feet together. Grab your ankles and push down on the inner thigh in order to really stretch out the groin.
Throughout all of these stretches and throughout the entire baseball practice, be sure to concentrate on your breathing.
Mechanical Baseball Wrist Drill
The wrist drill will give your player extra velocity and good movement, giving him a good live pitch.
Have your player take the ball and get his throwing elbow up, at least shoulder-high. Now your player should focus on simply snapping the ball with his wrist. Do this drill fifteen or twenty times, then relax.
And don’t forget to tell your players that the wrist drill is something they can do at home, while sitting around watching television.
Do you spend enough time warming up your players before jumping into baseball practice or a game? Or do you think they could stand a little more stretching and warming up?