Say “Baseball Pitching Skills” and everyone immediately thinks above average fastball, excellent change-up, breaking balls which drop off the table, a deceiving pick-off move, and all of these are included, but learning pitching skills goes far beyond the actual physical results of throwing a baseball.
Throughout baseball history, the list of superstar MLB pitchers whose careers were ended by injury, physical and mental, continues to increase. These were athletes, some beginning as early as 3 years old, whose natural abilities were carefully tutored and developed as they were taught how to throw the baseball. They rose to the elite of the elite, only to come crashing down to injury.
Walking Lunges / Baseball Pitching Skills
It’d be quite impractical to try to list even the most common pitching injuries, much alone unusual ones, let’s just say we want to do everything in our power to prevent injuries, Period. Let’s begin by warming up.
Pitching Warm-Ups: There are two trains of thought when it comes to preparing for a game, practice or bull pen work, stretching and/or dynamic warm-ups, and both are technically correct, but in my opinion I always tried to blend the two into one warm-up session.
If you think about it, the term “Warming-Up” pretty well says it all. The intent is to raise the body’s core temperature, which allows soft tissues, such as ligaments and tendons to become more pliable and pliable means less prone to injury. This period of warm up coupled with basic stretching exercises, although not being a 100% guarantee, is the best method known to prevent strain/pull injuries.
Side Lunge / Baseball Pitching Skills
This is a list of a dynamic warm-up routine elements, from which you can incorporate the entire program or pick and choose certain parts. You must remember any and all lists of exercises or stretches, unless otherwise specified, is subject to your personal choices. Lists are great, but if you performed them all more than likely the players would be too tired to practice at a 100% or the practice session would be short on time. Use common sense.
1. Begin by jogging forward a short distance, 5 or 10 yards, then jog backwards returning to the starting position;
2. Skip forward then backwards, be sure to keep your knees soft and head level and still for both of these drills;
3. Shoulder twists, keep your feet together, hands on hips staying still and twist the shoulders left and right;
4. Walking lunges forward and backwards, holding arms up in the air, twist at the hips;
5. Side lunges left and right;
6. Karaoke left and right, arms up and twist at hips;
7. Arm Circles, small circles forward for 2 minutes, backwards for 2 minutes;
Arm Circles / Baseball Pitching Skills
8. Arm Circles, Large circles forward for 2 minutes, backwards for 2 minutes;
9. Body Bridges, hold for 2 - 3 minutes;
10. Reverse Palm Presses, palms together behind the back and press hard;
11. Side Saws/Front saws;
12. Forearm Presses;
13. Fingertip Prayer presses. Move quickly left/right, elbows forward/backwards/ hands rotate up and down;
14. Palm Prayer presses. See above;
Obviously, there are more types of dynamic warm up exercises, but these are extremely successful at attaining the goal of raising the body’s core temperature.
Never Forget to Stretch / Baseball Pitching Skills
7. Be prepared to throw back to back curveballs on 0-2, 1-2 or 2-2 counts;
8. With runners on base utilize your 2 seam fastball, more than a 4 seam, in order to get more movement in order to induce a ground ball;
9. Always Attack aggressively in the 1st inning and when your team scores. Posting a 0 in these situations creates and/or maintains your team’s momentum;
10. Refocus when pitching the second time through the heart of the lineup. Change pitches and locations to hitters who made contact or had good swings, or repeat pitches and locations to hitters who were vulnerable to those pitches. For instance a hitter who obviously had trouble trying to hit a curveball;
11. Always take a deep breath and refocus once you have 2 outs. It’s human nature to sometimes let up because the inning is almost over. Remember what Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Master these physical and mental objectives and you’ll become a fierce competitive unafraid of any hitter.