Baseball Pitchers Warmups

By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro

Purpose of warm-up routine for starting pitchers:

  1. Get the arm and body lose
  2. Be able to execute game pitches
  3. Make 40- to 50-pitches warm-up pitches to save arm for game

 

Our warm-up routine has the pitcher making 40- to 50-pitches so he is good and loose, but not unnecessarily wasting his “stuff” before the game begins.

Long-toss first
Before the catcher goes down into the squat position, the pitcher and catcher will go to the outfield to long-toss.

Full-wind-up
All fastballs:
Short pitch - Once the pitcher has warmed-up the arm adequately in the outfield by long-tossing, he is ready to get his catcher into the squatting position. Bring the catcher up in front of home plate 45 feet away and throw five fastballs.
Long pitch - After five fastballs at 45 feet, move the catcher back behind home plate 70 feet away and throw five more fastballs through the catcher’s glove. This forces the pitcher to get full extension and makes him get way out over his front foot. A pitcher should always throw through the glove, not just to the glove at 60 feet, six inches.
60-feet-six - Now 10 warm-up pitches into things, the pitcher is ready to bring his catcher up from 70 feet to 60 feet, six inches. The pitcher then begins to make game pitches with his fastball. Right-handers should always throw their initial fastballs to the left side of the plate, followed by fastballs to the inside or right side of the plate. Starting with fastballs to the throwing hand’s opposite side of the plate forces the pitcher to bend over the lead leg because the distance the baseball has to travel to the catcher’s mitt is slightly longer. This stretches out the back and arm.
All curveballs:
Short pitch - Bring the catcher up in front of home plate again at 45 feet. The pitcher will then spin five curveballs working on burying the pitch in the strike zone. The emphasis here is on the spin of the pitch.
60-feet-six - After the five short-distance curveballs, the pitcher moves his catcher back to 60 feet, six inches and proceeds to throw five more curveballs making sure the pitch is down in the zone and the arm-action is the exact same as the fastball.
All change-ups:
60-feet-six - After the five curveballs from full distance, the pitcher proceeds directly into five change-ups at 60-feet-six.
           
Stretch
Alternating pitches:
 Now that the pitcher has thrown all of his pitches from the full wind-up, he proceeds to the stretch where he will alternate fastballs and change-ups three-times. He will then alternate fastballs and curveballs three times.
           
Full-wind-up
Alternating pitches:
One batter to finish - The pitcher then goes back to the full wind-up and faces an imaginary batter throwing all of his pitches. Remember, the pitcher still has eight

pitches on the mound before the game starts. He’s now ready for the game!

The Complete Pitcher’s Warm-up for Starting Pitchers

Full wind-up
Fastball 5 (45 feet)
Fastball 5(70 feet)
Fastball 5 (60.5 feet)
Curveball 5 (45 feet)
Curveball 5 (60.5 feet)
Change-up 5 (60.5 feet)

Stretch
Fastball 1 (60.5 feet)
Change-up 1(60.5 feet)
Fastball 1 (60.5 feet)
Change-up 1 (60.5 feet)
Fastball 1 (60.5 feet)
Change-up 1 (60.5 feet)
Fastball 1 (60.5 feet)
Curveball 1(60.5 feet)
Fastball 1 (60.5 feet)
Curveball 1 (60.5 feet)
Fastball 1 (60.5 feet)
Curveball 1 (60.5 feet)

Full wind-up
FB, CH, CB one batter (60.5 feet)

Total pitches: 42 + one batter

Remember, a pitcher still has eight warm-up pitches on the game-mound.


 

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