IMPORTANCE OF A PRE-GAME WARMUP AND RITUAL
Throwing a baseball with maximum intent is the MOST violent motion in ALL of sports. It also requires the nervous system to be firing at all cylinders.
The most important concept to take away from this article is that you should warm up to throw, not use throwing to warm up. There is a big difference. I’m sure you wouldn’t just hop under the bar and try to rep out a heavy set of 3 without preparing your body!
A warmup should consist of attacking your mobility restrictions, activating movement patterns in a better position, and ultimately moving around to elevate heart rate and spike the nervous system.
Here’s an example of a full-body warm up:
- Seated 90-90 hip rockers – 6 each
- Deadbugs – 8
- Lying cross-body stretch – 3x20s
- Side-lying windmills – 8 each
- Book-openers – 10 each
- Lying snow angels – 12
- Quadruped scapular push-ups – 10
- Banded internal/external rotation – 2×10 per side
- Field goals – 10 seconds
- Knee hugs – 10 each
- Walking lunge with overhead reach and rotation – 12
- Linear and Lateral skips – 60 feet
- Shuffle to sprint – 3×60 feet, 90 feet, 90 feet
After your full-body warm up is complete, then begin to lightly toss and loosen up your arm. By now, you should be feeling ready to go to further prepare for your game.
I always liked to get my individual-position work once I was all warmed up, and this is where I would also get mentally ready to play the game. Use this time to make every repetition game-like!
Whether you’re an infielder, outfielder, or pitcher, grab a partner and go through your individual progressions. Here’s an example for an outfielder:
- Field ground balls from one knee, pop up and throw
- Field ground balls with a walk-up; work on getting behind the ball and getting the ball out of your glove as quick as possible
- Fly ball progressions: drop steps to the left and right, and running straight back
- Deep fly ball: work on getting under AND through the ball as quick as possible
Be sure to also get your tee work in before the game as well. The art of a pre-game ritual is that YOU get to ultimately decide on how it’s run. If you need more time to warm up, get your swings in, or get your individual work in, then do so! If you need to change up the order after your warm up, then do so!
Performing the SAME ritual before every game puts the player in the “ideal-performance state”. Simply put, physiologically and psychologically our body is at 100% capacity to perform.
Jarad Vollkommer, CSCS