Offseason Pitching Drill Ideas

The following appeared in the January/February issue of Junior Baseball:

by: Don Marsh

Wow, it’s time for another season. OK let’s do it! Whether the sun is already heating up in your neighborhood, or you’re still facing some chilly, rainy days as practice kicks off, there’s a whole bunch of things you can do to get yourself ready for baseball. We’ll start by getting your arm in shape.

Muscles that aren’t in use for a long time tend to go to sleep. So before you start throwing the ball again, it’s best to
wake them up with a good 10-minute series of stretches. These should include slow movements that get your arm and shoulder through a full range of motion. And if you live in cold weather, take even more time with your stretching.

After that, start your warm-up tosses slowly and from a very close distance. No more than 30 feet if not shorter. No matter which distance you begin with, take 5-10 throws before increasing the distance. For young arms in particular, it’s important that you measure the number of throws, rather than the minutes spent throwing, in deciding when the time is right to move to a longer distance.

That longer distance should be no more than 10 feet each time. Caution: If you feel pain or discomfort, either back it down to the previous distance or stop altogether. Chances are, it’s just normal stiffness from not throwing for a long time, but let your parents know so you can find out for sure what’s going on.

Once you’ve reached a distance where you feel pretty maxed out, then do the workout in reverse. Go back to each previous distance, until you’re back where you started. This time, take a few throws - no more than five - at each before calling it a day.

One final point: in all your preseason workouts, use a basic 4-seam grip. That’s the one that puts the least amount of stress on your arm. And don’t throw any kind of breaking pitches even if you’re just goofing off. No reason to start off with a sore arm. Not when there’s a whole new season of baseball about to be played.

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