3 Drills for the Pre-Game Bullpen
Finally, a shorter post than usual from me (lol)! Since the high school baseball regular season is starting up, I am getting super pumped, and even more busy. There is no offseason!
Last year I went to Cressey Sports Performance in Massachusetts in the beginning of March for an In-Season Baseball Training seminar. I was most excited to hear about Christian Wonders talk about how he trains his pitchers and what he looks for, and how he individualizes throwing programs.
This post is based on what I learned from Christian. Hope you enjoy! Here are 3 pre-game bullpen drills!
1. Front Facing – Partner Catch
I think this is a good drill to start off with because it requires the least amount of movement. A hard thrower knows how to rotate well, and time this rotation at the correct sequence.
Not only does the pitcher have to rotate well, he also has to resist rotation well. Early rotation of the trunk will create early arm action, which will result in your fastball being flat and put over the center field wall.
I remember Christian saying he doesn’t want his pitcher advancing to the next drill until he can give 5 perfect throws in a row through the chest. I can’t agree with him more!
Front facing catch
2. Open/Close Hip to Trunk Separation Throws
This specific drill requires a little more movement and is more complex. It mimics where the body should be at front foot contact.
I think this drill can be a deal breaker for the pitcher to see what kind of command he’s going to have for the day. If he is having trouble getting the fastball in the lower part of the strike zone, that most likely means that he’s not getting his trunk to flex at ball release.
If this is the case, that’s what we should be focusing on in the bullpen until he feels comfortable. If he does not feel comfortable, let’s just stay in this second drill and not even advance to the next drill.
3. Step-Behind Throws
If your pitcher does feel comfortable and advances to the final drill, we start to put all of the pieces together. We create even more movement, more momentum, and more tension throughout the body so it can release through the ball.
This is a good drill to end with because it forces the pitcher to create good movement and tension in the back hip. These throws MUST be perfected and thrown with effortless velocity.