The Importance of a Pregame Routine
There is nothing more important than getting yourself ready to pitch and doing so in a meaningful way. Being a former College Pitcher, I had created a routine that had worked for me over the 17 plus years that I had been a baseball player. What I found was most important was repetition and dedication to the exact movements. It is essential to see what is comfortable for your body and repeat that week after week. All pitchers should do a few key things before they ever step foot on that mound in a game.
When I first arrive at the field on the day of a pitching outing, I first needed to get myself into the right frame of mind. I needed to get ready for this long day of competition and start mentally preparing to be in the game and on that field competing for the team. My college coaches would always use the term Check-In and Check-Out. This was meant for the mental aspect of the game. You need to know when to Check-In and when you can Check-Out. Before a game, it is a great idea to use both terms and focus on the goal for the day.
Once the game starts to get closer to begin, it is now essential to Check-In and focuses more on the game itself. I always liked to take this time to roll out and grab a scouting report and read up on the team that I will be facing. It is a great time to start to focus and think more about how you will approach each hitter. I liked to do this in the bullpen, where it was quiet, and I could concentrate on reading the report without having people talking and distracting me.
After I finished rolling out, I would then move to a dynamic warm-up which included stretching. Some prefer to have headphones in, and some don’t. That’s up to each person. Next, I would move through various things such as jogging to get the body going and do some dynamic stretching. This assured that my body would start to get ready to do a physical movement.
I then would shift my focus on doing more baseball/pitching stretches and started to get my body more focused on throwing a baseball and using my whole body to do so and prevent injury. Most people stretch and don’t focus on the muscles they use to throw a baseball—one of the most important being the legs. Most of your pitching power comes from your legs and making sure that you have adequately warmed up your legs is something that all pitchers must do.
I would then start doing my daily pregame activities, which included a good number of bands, wrist weights, and some light plyoball work. After this, I then move into catch to comfort. There is no magic about how far you go out. I prefer keeping it shorter to save my arm, but I know many people who like to long toss as far as possible. That’s not something I could do towards the end of my career with my arm health, but others loved playing long toss before throwing. Once my arm is entirely loose, I then like to start working on getting my pitches down while playing catch. This helps me waste less bullpen pitches which can sometimes be limited.
Following this, I would then get on the mound with my catcher and start my pregame bullpen. This is the most critical time for a pitcher because this is the time they have to get ready and prepare for their outing. I like to start with many fastballs and make sure that I can hit my spots with my fastball. Once I felt good about that pitch and allowed it to get my arm loose entirely, I would then move on to throwing my breaking pitches. I do this until I am comfortable throwing every pitch in-game. If I weren’t able to locate it, I would move on and come back to it. Once I can execute every pitch in both the windup and stretch, I take a seat, get a drink of water and focus on the outing. After catching my breath, I would like to get back up on the mound and run through everything one last time. Once I do this, I am then ready to step foot on the game mound and compete to the highest of my abilities.
- Brady Donohue