Pre-Season Pitching Workouts And Throwing Programs For Pitchers
If you've ever experienced pitching arm pain in the early part of the baseball season, chances are you didn't prepare properly in the pre-season. In this article, we'll take a closer look at pre-season workouts and throwing programs you can do to prepare and be successful.
Your throwing program should have two 4-to-6-week training phases. The first phase should start approximately six weeks before the start of your team's pre-season workouts. Your goal during this time should be to get ready for pre-season workouts, not opening day. The purpose of the second phase is to condition your arm for the season opener.
Pre-Season Pitching Workouts
In the first phase, slowly get your arms, legs and trunk in shape so that pre-season drills will be easy. Warm-up and stretch before and after each workout to reduce soreness and the risk of injury. Condition your total body, not just your arm. Don't neglect your trunk. When throwing, your body is a 3-link chain: lower body; trunk; and upper body. Forces are initiated in the legs, then transferred to the upper body through the trunk and finally applied to the ball by the hands and fingers. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In the body, the weakest link is often the muscles of the abdomen and trunk. A weak mid-section will not let you transfer 100% of the forces generated by the lower body to the upper body for application to the bat or ball. The end result is a loss of arm speed, bat speed and power. The only way to compensate for this loss of speed and power is to place more stress on the arm and shoulder muscles.
Pre-Season Throwing Programs
Use the following throwing program in phase one to prepare for pre-season workouts. Play catch and do long toss drills for at least 2 weeks before throwing off a mound. Toss for 17 minutes on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and play catch for 10 to 15 minutes on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.
Start long toss at 50 feet. Throw for 1 minute at 50 feet and then move back to 60 feet for a minute. Move to 70 feet for a minute and then throw for 2 minutes at 80 feet. Back-up to 90, 100 and 120 feet for 2 minutes each. After 2 min at 120 feet, move up to 100 feet for a minute and then shorten the distance by 10 feet each minute, ending at 60 feet. Make quality throws at the end -- throw the ball straight without an arc. Make 90 to 100 throws in 17 minutes. Use your total body, especially your hips, legs and trunk to reduce stress on your arm.
When To Start Pitching Off A Mound
After you have played catch and long toss for 2 weeks, it's OK to start throwing off a mound. Throw off a mound 2 to 3 times per week for 5 to 10 minutes per day. Throw only fastballs and change-ups for the first 2 weeks. Play catch and do long toss drills on non-mound days. Substitute the 17-minute long toss workout for mound work, if you don't have access to a mound.
Once pre-season workouts begin, you will systematically increase the frequency and volume of your throwing program to include work on the side, pitching batting practice and intrasquad games. Hopefully, your coach will have a systematic pre-season plan. If not, there are several books -- including The TUFFCUFF Strength & Conditioning Manual for Baseball Pitchers and The Complete Pitcher's Ultimate Guide to Advanced Pitching -- that can provide valuable information.
17-Minute Pitchers' Throwing Program
|50||1||5 – 6|
|60||1||5 – 6|
|70||1||5 – 6|
|80||2||10 – 12|
|90||2||10 – 12|
|100||2||10 – 12|
|120||2||10 – 12|
|100||1||5 – 6|
|90||1||5 – 6|
|80||1||5 – 6|
|70||1||5 – 6|
|60||2||10 – 12|