Pre-Game Pitcher’s Routine

Designing and Implementing an Effective Pre-game Routine

Have you ever struggled preparing for a game? Have you experienced solid mid-week bullpen sessions followed by disappointing game performances? Often your level of focus isn’t where it should be. More often than not this is simply a result of a poor pre-game routine.

Elements of an Effective Pre-Game Routine
  • Adaptable –  Can you make adjustments for home games, away games, early games, and late games?
  • Unique –  Every player is different, so understand what makes you tick.
  • Consistency – Game to game, practice to game, home game, away game, early, and late.
Downtime Before First Pitch
  • Treat your warmup like practice with the same level of focus and discipline.
  • If you have any pre-game rituals, make sure these rituals can work for home, away, early, and late games.
On the Clock: Counting the Minutes to the First Pitch
  • 50 min: Begin your warmup
  • 25 min: Begin your flat ground throwing routine
  • 13 min: Head down to the bullpen
  • 12 min: Start your bullpen sequence (for home games)
  • 8 min: Start your bullpen sequence (for road games)


  • Set your watch or your stop clock to the game clock
  • Use your assistant coach or give your pitcher a stop watch
  • Never allow yourself to feel rushed. Remember, that game can’t start without the pitcher!
Dynamic Warm-Up
  • Gets the muscles firing without stressing the joints
  • Allows the body to warm up multiple muscle groups at the same time
  • Does not take away from explosiveness
  • Perform for approximately 12 minutes
Integrate Ladder in to Warm-Up
  • Do it every day as part of your warm-up
  • Gets the feet moving in ways that are baseball specific
  • Promotes balance
  • Players refer it to mundane jogging
Integrate Tubing in to Warm-Up
  • Part of your everyday routine
  • Great warmup for the arm
  • Great balance ‘back versus front’
  • Creates shoulder stability
  • Flat Ground Work
Toeing the Rubber
  • Drills in the pen are individuals preference
  • 6 fastballs down the middle building to 100% effort

A. Stretch Sequence

  1. 2 fastballs inside, 2 breaking, 2 fastballs outside, 2 change-ups, 2 fastballs up, 2 optional extras (12 total)
  2. Pitchout / intentional walk (optional)

B. Windup Sequence

  1. 2 fastballs inside, 2 breaking, 2 fastballs outside, 2 change-ups, 2 fastballs up, 2 optional extras (12 total)
  2. Simulate a hitter at the plate with a runner on first, then a runner on second


  • Why do we throw a sequence of 2 pitches? Every pitch has 1 pitch to be able to make necessary adjustments to his delivery and his release point. So only practice throwing 1 additional pitch per sequence.
  • When a pitcher steps out on to the mound they should be feeling fresh and second inning ready.

Where Do Guys Go Wrong?

  • You are inconsistent with their routine
  • You wait too long to start their countdown
  • You are not aggressive enough with flat ground throwing
  • You start their pre-game bullpen too late and do not throw enough pitches
  • Your pre-game bullpen lacks focus and execution

One Comment on “Pre-Game Pitcher’s Routine

  1. Thanks for the tips. Although my son is a young ball player we are always talking about productive practice and setting up routines to be repeated on game day. He’s beginning to understand just how important this is which has been great to see.

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