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Pre-Practice & Pre-Game Preparation

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by Gerald Warner,  Softball Pitching Instructor
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Warming up properly and completely…in practice or before a game…is essential for good pitching performance.  But it doesn’t simply mean loosening muscles and breaking a sweat…”warming up” means getting all of your pitches working…correctly.  Depending on the pitcher, her age, and the types of pitches she throws, warm-up time varies from as little as 15-minutes to more than 1-hour.   A 10-year old rec league pitcher with a 35mph fastball can be ready to go in a few minutes.  Top travel ball, college, and pro softball pitchers routinely take 30 to 45 minutes…and some even more to prepare and warm-up before throwing their first pitch in a game. 

One axiom is true for everyone:
The better you stretch and warm-up before a game (or practice), the better you will pitch.

A 30-minute plan is recommended for most high school pitchers with a repertoire of 3 or more pitches.  Younger pitchers with few advanced pitches can do a pre-practice preparation in 15 minutes or so.

  • Warm-up with your regular catcher if at all possible.  She needs to see what is working and what is not, and what pitches your are throwing accurately.
  • Practice does not make perfect.  Perfect practice makes perfect.  Take your warm-up seriously.  Don't goof around, and don't get sidetracked in other conversations that will make you loose your concentration.
  • Start your warm-up right as close to practice or game time as possible.  But don't cut things too close.  You don't want to get warmed too soon, then cool down and lose your sharpness before the game.  But you also don't want to start warming-up too late and not have enough time to get everything loose and your pitches working.


Before You Start Throwing:

1.  Jog, then Run - for at least 5 loosen up before stretching

2.  Stretch-out completely (especially arms, shoulders, trunk, and legs) - 5-10 minutes
        * Take plenty of time to stretch right...this can affect your pitching speed & prevent injuries


Begin 30 Minutes of Pitching Warm-Up:

3. Overhand throwing - start easy at short distance, then gradually extend the
       distance and work up to full speed

4.  Underhand throwing - start close and easy, then work to full distance, full speed

5.  Accuracy - get your fast ball hitting the corners

6.  Change-up - get your change to work deceptively and accurately

7.  Spin - close and easy…get your (drop, curve, rise) spin working well at slow speed

8.  Add speed to the spin.  Get the spin working first...then add speed to the pitch

9.  Accuracy - get your breaking pitch(es) (drop, curve, screwball, and rise ball) working
        right and accurately

10. Practice all of your pitches.  Catcher: call them just as you would in a game. 
        If one doesn't work or isn't accurate, throw it again…until you get it right.



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If you have questions or need more information
E-mail us,
  or call Pitching Instructor Gerald Warner in Colorado at (720) 200-4575




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