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Before The Game Pitching Routine - Pre Game
Before The Game Pitching Routine - Pre Game
Getting ready to pitch in a game means not only getting ready physically but getting ready mentally as well. It is good to have a routine if you are the starting pitcher or even if you are a reliever. Having a routine and being consistent gives you the best chances of feeling good.
Once you find a routine that works, you should stick with it. Of course you can have a good game and feel good if you just went out there with no preparation, but it is unlikely that you can always perform well with little to no preparation. Therefore, it may be a good idea to have a routine that allows you to be the best you can be. This means preparing as much as you can physically as well as mentally.
Here are some ideas you can use to develope your own routine before a game. I'm not recommending that you do all of these things, I'm just giving you ideas that you can pick and choose from to create your own routine.
Listen to Music - Listening to the music you like can calm your nerves before the game and pump you up just before you go out. Most of the time as a starting pitcher everyone will leave you alone until right before game time. This means you can keep your head phones on until it is time to go out and warm up. Sorry relievers you do not have the luxury of listening to music before you warm up. My only suggestion is to have some good intro music.
Visualize - Visualizing is a good way to create positive energy. If you can visualize yourself getting batters out and having a good game the chances are you will do just that. Positive thinking creates positive action. If anyone has seen "The Secret" you know about the Law of Attraction and positive thinking. Even if you don't believe in that, visualizing can at least give you the confidence to get hitters out because you have already done it in your head. I recommend you study the ideas behind "The Secret" and positive thinking not only because it will benefit you as a pitcher, but also because these ideas are being implemented into baseball more and more today. You will have to keep up with your opponents.
Go Over Hitting Charts - By going over the hitting charts you can prepare a game plan to attack each hitter. Some things you should look for are if the hitter is a first pitch swinger, if and what they strike out on, and do they take a lot of pitches/walk a lot. Other things you will be able to notice in the game like if they have slow or fast hands or if they stand in the front or back of the box. Let's save that for game time though. For preparing before the game, going over the hitting charts gives you the advantage before the game even starts. That's all we want to do as pitchers, keep the advantage!
Heat and Stretch - Most training rooms have heat pads that you can put on your elbow or shoulder. This is a good way to get your blood flowing before you even stretch. You should leave these heat pads on for about 15 - 20 minutes. Also, if you choose to use the heat pads, it is recommended you do this first as it will warm your muscle up for all the stretching and throwing you will soon be doing. Most training rooms also have trainers. If your school or program has a trainer, don't be scared to utilize their services. After you heat they will be able to help you get a good, deep stretch. This is a different stretch then you can do by yourself because the trainer can help you reach further and hold your stretches deeper.
Ultrasound and Soft Tissue Massage - A lot of the times a training room will be equipt with a combo ultrasound/stim machine. A good way to get the deep, small muscles warm before throwing is getting some ultrasound. Ultrasound can warm up the little muscles like the deltoid and rotator cuff that the heat pad may not get to. Another method for getting all your muscles ready to go is soft tissue massage. This will allow the trainer to focus on areas where you feel most tight. He can massage the muscles that feel knotted up. Deep tissue or pressure releasing massage is usually saved for the days after throwing.
Dynamic Stretching and Throwing - As you go down to the field you may feel good and loose, but you still need to do a little more warming up. Dynamic stretches like high knees, but kicks, and carioca will help loosen up the rest of your joints, ligaments, and tendons. You should also go through some upper body dynamic stretches before you start throwing. You should throw some flat ground before you get on the mound to warm up. Start off close (around 45 feet) and gradually move back. You aren't looking for quantity here, you are looking for quality throws until you feel good enough to get on the mound. It shouldn't be much more than 20 throws.
No matter what you do before a game it is a good idea to make it a routine and habit so that you know what to expect from your body by game time. Being consistent with your routine will leave you the littlest chance to experience the unexpected.